If you follow my blog, have worked with me over the past few years or been on a recent training course I have run you will have some awareness serious games, in the form of Innovation Games® and Gamestorming, and how these can really help you be successful with SharePoint.
This presentation from an SUGUK event in November 2011 gives some background to the value of Innovation Games. The key message is that Innovation Games (or more widely called Serious Games) are to help you
- Do work
- for customer insight
- provide actionable insights and results
Gamification is about using techniques from Games (video games, board games, mind games etc) to encourage a particular behaviour or outcome in non-game contexts.
Gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.
Typically gamification applies to non-game applications and processes, in order to encourage people to adopt them, or to influence how they are used. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, by encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors, by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, by helping to solve problems and not being a distraction, and by taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, filling out tax forms, or reading web sites.
Why is gamification important to SharePoint
One of the most challenging aspects of any SharePoint (it’s not just SharePoint) deployment is the change people have to make. Gamification isn’t the only game in town (pardon the pune) but it is a very valid technique for helping user adoption.
Foursquare is example where badges are used to reward particular behaviour. Although I have to confess to being a regular user of Foursquare I think they have failed in regards to the game aspect – at least for me.
- I don’t look at the badges and try to do certain things to get a new badge
- I am mayor of places but have never benefitted from this (some places give free beer I heard, but where!)
- I don’t look at the leader board and try to climb it
So it doesn’t really change my behaviour that much.
There are a number of companies in the SharePoint space that have started to look at game techniques, Microsoft included, with SharePoint 2013.
Liam Cleary posted an article on the Community Site template in SharePoint 2013 detailing where Microsoft have added Badges to reflect the contribution of community members through badges.
Social Squared, by my friends at Lightening tools, adds some of the capabilities we now see in SharePoint 2013 community site to the SharePoint 2007 and 2010 platforms. They have include reputation scores to reward active community members along with a host of other improvements to the out of the box discussion forums.
Attini Badges goes a lot further than Social Squared or Microsoft in SharePoint 2013 in the Gamification space by providing badges based on users activities across SharePoint. I love the way they have leveraged the Activity Feeds to analyse what users have been doing and to update the user Profile in their My Site with details of their achievements. Attini Badges offer a very affordable way to introduce gamification to your SharePoint environment.
Badgeville are the most mature (in terms of experience in the Gamification space and platform) and have released a solution for SharePoint that leverages their behaviour platform and engine to provide some very advanced capabilities. The ability to also join up a users SharePoint reputation with different platforms including the recently acquired Yammer makes this a very compelling option for companies looking to explore Gamification as a way to drive adoption and user behaviour.
Scott Scnaars, General Manager for EMEA at Badgeville, provided me with a great insight into how they are not just a product company but really help your organisation build a successful long term strategy.
A question Scott asked me, I had told him I was in the Scouts – do you remember all the badges you got?
Answer: errr, No
But I bet you remember what level you got to, which I did – I was a 6’er in Cub Scouts.
The basis being that the actual badges, although interesting and an initial draw, are not the most important aspect – especially when looking at cultural change in organisations.
I also like this post in response to some kick back on what Gamification is, and why it is(n’t) bull*hit.
In an attempt to broaden my experience of gamification add additional tools to my ‘Doing SharePoint well’ toolkit I have signed up to a course from the University of Pennsylvania with Kevin Werbach. I intend to blog the things I feel relate well to the challenges of SharePoint so you could follow these posts or, if you more up for it why not sign up to the course – it’s free.
I’m also using this experience to see how the massive online teaching approach works, I believe over 65,000 people have signed up to this course. Imagine the change we could make to SharePoint adoption if we did something similar!