At the moment, I am developping a little prototype for my gamma-study. The idea is implementing a “clean of the dishwasher“-game which provides three simple use cases to motivate me and my working mates to clean of the dishwasher:
- “I (x) cleaned of the dishwasher and were seen by mate y“.
- “I were in the kitchen and saw x cleaning of the dishwasher”.
- “I need to know my working mates to tell who were in the kitchen. Show me five images and let me guess who it is”.
Quite simple, but with the third use case I provide some intrinsic motivation (well at least I suppose you’d like to know names and faces you are working with) besides the motivation of getting points for guessing names and matches of first and second use case.
But when I told my boss what I wanted to do, he already interrupted at the mention of gamification. In his opinion, gamification is not compatible with our company’s philosophy because gamification “targets the manipulation of the behaviour of people” and our philosophy is very based on individual freedom and self-responsability.
This led me to tell you about…
The two sides of gamification
I think of gamification as the jedi do of the force:
There is a light side and a dark side.
Let’s start with the temptations of the dark side:
- You would never do a task like this if you were not paid for.
- Let the players feel a pressure to play or get them addicted of the game.
- The problem you try to solve by using gamification is only a symptom of an organisational or social disease that you will never heal.
- You just add points and badges and that’s the magic that makes everybody happy (ever heard of the Cargo Cult?)
- Manipulation of the ethical conscience of the players.
- Gamification for gamification and as a religion to make everyone believe in your strategy.
- If you can think of more darkness, share your ideas by commenting here please. Thx!
Now the light side:
- You can support the players by immediate feedback about their recent work instead of demotivating them with a “What the hell did you do?!” after two weeks of hard work.
- You can support the players by creating a transparent skill board so that they can see, where their strengths and weaknesses are.
- You can support the players building a team and creating a good team atmosphere by creating a transparent team-wide progress board to show them what they achieve together.
- You can let your players elect a “senat of players” by which they can decide about changes made to the rules and game design.
- There are transparent and precise rules and a code of conduct for both players and quest/game-designer so that you work together more transparent and objective.
- Your players will always know what they already achieved and will be more self-confident.
- Players can motivate themselves and support themselves reaching their aims.
Conclusion and perspective
In my opinion, the dark side is tempting because it is easier to implement and you don’t need to worry about the players, you can simply see them as a black box giving you money or work time.
But as always easy and fast success, especially if it is reached by manipulation, is not the long-term winner. So if you are really serious about gamification, please think about what players get back for investing their time in using your gamified application and stay on the light side. Never said it were easy, but your players will feel at ease and there will be a healthy, continuous progess and growth.
With gamma, I will try to implement the light side for employees, so that your boss can design a quest and by reaching a certain level, you can design quests for your colleagues. You will get skill points and experience points depending on the quests you completed and can apply for quests.
Comments and questions are appreciated very much!
Hope I can open my boss’ eyes for the light side…
And never forget: May the force be with you!