Ready Player One! This book, now a movie, has taken over the zeitgeist of popular culture in the world of gamification. The movie focuses on a dystopian future where the majority of people are living out their lives in hopes that it will unlock the keys of this virtual reality that is called the "Oasis." The only the incentive and hope these people have is unlocking the game that will give them ownership of the Oasis and become rich beyond their wildest dreams. The idea of this advanced gaming technology and the prospect of riches is quite appealing to the current millennial generation. There are now gaming leagues where people are paid to play video games competitively. I grew up during the gaming evolution starting with an Atari system then upgrading to a Nintendo then to a Super Nintendo and it goes on and on.
Gaming is a part of our everyday lives whether we know it or not. With my apple watch I have daily health goals that help me reach three goals represented by rings. Movement, exercise, and standing. When I reach those goals the rings spark and complete the circle on my watch. Then if I complete my daily goals along with weekly and monthly goals I get virtual medals. Yes as silly as it sounds I want those virtual medals because I am gamer. This has gamified my daily exercise routine to inspire and incentivize me to accomplish my health goals. Even when answering my emails and yelp inquiries is a game for me. If I can get my email inbox to zero is an accomplishment. On yelp when I receive sales lead there are statistics that show me how fast I respond and the percentage of people I respond to. I am proud to say I have an average response rate of 40 minutes at 100 percentage inquiries responded to. It’s silly but this statistic has challenged me to improve. There are even apps that gamify your daily tasks along with saving money. Habitica takes simple tasks like brushing your teeth and rewards you for recording your progress. Qaptial will have you save money and put money towards rewarding vacations or that bike you’ve wanted to get.
"The idea of this advanced gaming technology and the prospect of riches is quite appealing to the current millennial generation"
There is gamification everywhere in the business world and we just don’t recognize it. Athletes are the ultimate competitors and they are constantly looking at their statistics as bar they want to raise. For example in baseball, pitchers want to lower their ERA (earned run average) and hitters want to raise their batting average. They are constantly working at their position to become the best. Linkedin ranks the power of your profile with a ranking. I’ve worked on getting my profile to “all star” level but that’s not enough. Linkedin even gives you analytics for the posts you share. Sure this gives you insight that are you reaching and how effective your posts are. But this is a form of gamification which I call “Leveling Up”. With any type of video game you can gain experience points which helps your character get closer to mastery level. Linkedin is doing the same thing. It is incentivizing you to engage with potential contacts and buyers. It challenges you to get more connect with more contacts and increase your influence with your posts. Once you have reached mastery you now have to level up by paying for premium features that will give you access to more features, more connections, and more sales. They tell you that you can “unlock the power of Linkedin” with four different levels of paid upgrades which gives you more access. Hmm, this sounds like a challenge and a game that I must win!
Competition brings out the gamer in all of us. By creating healthy and fun competition in the workplace can drive results. Not everyone competes in the same way. Some like the idea of competing again each other and some rather compete with themselves. Introducing gamification into your workplace can be a fun idea and can improve production and event morale with your company culture. But the key is letting your people participate organically and autonomously. In my market there are organizations that have corporate games that let companies compete against each other in sports related environments. But remember like in high school not everybody was an athlete but we had “mathletes” who competed in different forum. I competed in debate which was competitive speaking. The idea that I could win a debate competition was compelling and exciting. If you decide to introduce competition and gamification into your workplace understand everyone competes in different ways.
Gamification is trending everywhere in pop culture. Prime time and day time game shows are more popular than ever. Gaming is now on all our smart phones. I remember the days with my old flip phone staying up late playing “snake” of all games. Now there are games of every type on our phones. My favorite is “HQ” which is a live game show hosted by comedian Scott Rogowsky. This game is played twice daily live in the afternoon and the evening. The winning pot of money is shared with the users who answer all 12 or 15 questions correctly. You only have 10 seconds to answer the multiple choice questions and if you make it all the way to the end you could share $2000 or $25,000. I have never made it to the end but I have friends who have shared in the winnings and he took home .85 cents. But what is great about this game people are playing this in boardroom. They gather together and crowd source the answers or split up their guesses if they don’t know the correct answer. Then if one person wins it all they split the pot.
Gamification is all around us and we don’t even realize it. Every day you may have the opportunity to compete and be rewarded for your efforts. You can implement ideas like this in your personal life or with your team to drive productivity, sales and employee engagement. I challenge you today to take gamification to the next level with your business so you can be a workplace all stars!