Businesses can benefit by using “gamification” techniques: study

Jul 21, 2015

gamificationNew research from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business reveals that businesses could benefit from unprecedented levels of consumer and employee engagement by turning traditional processes into game-like experiences.

The research examines the phenomenon of “gamification”, or applying game design principles in non-gaming contexts.

It breaks down the principles of gaming to see how they might be applied to other aspects of life, whether in business, academia, or even civic responsibility.

The paper, “Is it all a game? Understanding the principles of gamification,” was co-authored by Beedie researchers Ian McCarthy, Jan H. Kietzmann, Leyland Pitt, and Karen Robson, as well as former Beedie PhD Kirk Plangger, now of King’s College, London. It was published in July by Business Horizons.

The study describes the constituent parts of gamification – what the researchers call the mechanics, dynamics, and emotions, or MDE – using examples such as poker, Call of Duty, and American Idol.

It defines mechanics as “the goals, the rules, the setting, the context, the types of interactions and the boundaries… of the situation to be gamified.”

The dynamics of the game relate to whether players need to cooperate, bluff, or compete one-on-one.

Emotions, meanwhile, are the states and reactions felt among players during the gamified experience.

McCarthy states that once understood and applied, gamification principles and strategies can be used to engage people outside of the game sphere, whether as consumers, students, or employees.

This is especially true given that digital technologies and social media have advanced the process of engagement and communication.

Through these platforms businesses and institutions are now able to turn traditional processes into deeper, more engaging game-like experiences for their customers and employees.

The next step in McCarthy’s research is to establish a working model of a combination of MDE that will result in desired outcomes, depending on the goal.

“We should be able to describe successes and failures so we can say, ‘They had the wrong blend there, they had the right blend here,’” says McCarthy.

“Ultimately, the goal is having a framework to think about design and predict performance outcomes and business success.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,