As Prof. Jesse Schell said, many studies have shown that “if you bribe someone to do something, they always come to hate that thing.” So the use of external incentives (e.g. points, badges, perks, money, etc.) will decrease a person’s intrinsic motivation and ultimately lead to the resentment of the gamified behavior (i.e. gamification backlash).
So gamification can’t possibly work over the long term. However, it doesn’t need to work long term to bring sustainable value.
So this brings up an interesting question. What happens when you gamify everything in life? Will people really do everything we want them to do? This just sounds a little too good to be true! Intuitively, it seems likely that at some point, consumers must get tired of gamification. They will probably get into a state of point/badge fatigue and start to resent any type of gamified activity. This is known as the gamification backlash.
It turns out that we don’t have to build a bullet proof gamification system. We just have to make it hard enough to game, so the cheaters don’t feel the reward is worth the effort they spent to “game the system.” I talked about two levers that you can pull to play this psychological game:
Decreasing the perceived value of the reward
And/or increasing the effort required to game the system
Today, I’d like to continue this discussion and show you practical ways to affect these two levers.
The recent business success of social games has put the spotlight firmly on this subject. The hype often blinds people from the fact that gamification is in reality very hard to get right. Behind every successful gamification effort, there are probably hundreds that fail. In fact, if we view our lives in the context of a big game, then school and work are great examples of failed gamification that produced many bored students and dispassionate employees. Today, I’d like to talk about an unintended side effect of gamification that could undermine its success.
Q5: How is gamification being applied beyond the business world to address societal and public policy challenges?
Q6: What is one thing we should be asking here about gamification? What do we already know, and how could we get better answers? What we need to know: open research questions, and challenges going forward.
In my previous gamification post, I showed you one way in which you can gamify enterprise software to drive adoption. However, gamification can be applied to many aspects of our lives: health/fitness, good will/volunteerism, education, work, and solving some of the most challenging problem facing our society today. So, I’d like to apply the framework we’ve learned to analyze three gamification strategies that have been implemented in different areas of our lives. Some of these are successful, yet some are doom to fail, and I’ll attempt to explain why.
While I am still quite new to the CRM and social CRM space, I have learned, through interactions with my CRM friends, that one of the many challenges facing Social CRM will be adoption. In fact, traditional enterprise software (e.g. sales force automation) often experiences a very steep learning curve and is not well adopted within the enterprise. Even if it is adopted, people often hate to use it. Employees only use it because their job requires it. On the contrary, people love to play video games. They would even pay money to play. Yet, a video game is just another piece of software.
What is it about video games that make them so desirable and addictive? I covered the answers to this question in the early articles of this mini-series.