What Games Do You Play?

About a year ago, I began my journey as an exchange student at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany. The opportunity to choose from a wide variety of courses, some being unprecedented in India, was exciting. One such course was ‘Enterprise Gamification’, and the description read ‘Application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts’. That was all I needed to know before selecting this course.

I was going to get credits for playing games right?

I was wrong! Gamification is not a game - it is serious business!

Gartner research projected that by 2014, more than 70% of Forbes Global 2000 organizations will have at least one game-based application, and that by 2015, half of all companies that manage innovation processes will have gamified them. The market for Gamification is estimated at 5.5 billion in 2018. So what exactly is this new buzzword all about?

You know that hit of dopamine that makes you feel good when you beat a certain high score? Gamification works on stimulating this ‘feel good’ hormone to motivate employees and attract consumers. It is the use of game mechanics to encourage certain behaviors.

Gamification taps into peoples natural desires for competition, achievement, gratification, social value, fun, and external gains. It not only improves engagement and adoption, but also productivity, retention, satisfaction and motivation.

According to a research by Mr. Gabe Zichermann, employers who implement gamification techniques internally can increase productivity of their employees by 40%. Note that the point of adopting these game mechanics isn't having fun - or growing performance or learning. It is about encouraging behaviors that will lead to better performance or learning. The gaming principles of rewards, competition, challenges, gateways, levels, and personalization can be used to get learners interested and keep them coming back for more.

The Western countries are way ahead of us in applying these techniques. It is time we catch up too.

My next article will explain the scope of Gamification in the Indian context.

#gamification #society #simran

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