Gamification. Stop thinking twelve year olds with an Xbox and start thinking about how you can incorporate leaderboards and reward systems into your business strategies.
According to the annual Tech Trends report from Deloitte, gamification is one of the key disruptors that will have a major effect on companies in the not-so-distant future. Along with social media, enterprise mobility, user empowerment and cloud technology, it is one of the five main forces changing the way people do business.
The increasing popularity of gamification (i.e. taking the essence of games and applying them to real-world situations) isn’t surprising — why wouldn’t you take advantage of aspects of the industry that makes billions every year? It makes sense, especially when the statistics show that gaming is definitely not just for the kids — the average gamer is 37 years old and the industry isn’t completely male-dominated: 42% of gamers are women.
“There is a growing base of workers and customers raised under the influence of video games and consumer technology,” explains Kamal Ramsingh, Technology Director at Deloitte South Africa. “All that gamification looks to do is to embed game attributes in day-to-day business activities. This interacts with the next generation in their native language and taps into many in the older generation that also embrace the ideas around gaming,” said Ramsingh.
Gamification is currently being used in everything from wellness programmes to motivating employees in service-driven businesses and incentivising the learning of new systems. Some companies are using aspects of games — like leaderboards and virtual credits — to motivate their employees to achieve their goals. But its not perfect — employees can cheat and game the system if its not monitored carefully.
The Tech Trends 2012 report also highlights how people are changing their priorities in the age of networked mobile communication. One in three employees under the age of 30 think that social media freedom and work mobility are more important than a high salary. Gauging sentiment on social media is becoming increasingly important in an age where a brand’s reputation can be ruined in a span of a few tweets. In response to this, new tools are becoming part of everyday business — it is estimated that 82% of retailers will have social media monitoring tools in place by the end of 2012.
The post-digital world
According to Ramsingh, the trends are all pointing towards an increasingly post-digital world. Just as the industrial revolution rocked established industries before new business practices became mainstream, we are transitioning into an era where what is considered to be disruptive today will be the norm tomorrow. Social media, cloud technology, gamification, increasingly mobile employees and an empowered user base will be just another feature of the post-digital world.
“We can now envisage a time when the technologies paraded under each of these banners are mature, fully implemented and integrated,” said Ramsingh. “At that point, all the innovations we previously bolted on will have become ‘baked in’, just part of the way things are.”