Back when it first hit the scene, many successful entrepreneurs derided the concept of gamification for entrepreneurs. “A trend that wouldn’t last,” was the prevailing theory among critics.
Now, years later, it’s still going strong, and popping up in fields ranging from children’s education to office productivity. What has gamification been able to accomplish? Here’s an overview of some recent developments and possible applications for successful entrepreneurs to keep an eye on.
Reinventing How We Teach and Learn
Somewhere along the line, teaching and learning stopped being fun. Lessons became more about rote memorization, and (some) educators put more focus on making the process a chore rather than an enriching experience. Gamification has come to the rescue, reversing the trend by creating exciting training programs and introducing sophisticated systems of incentives and rewards.
Consider, for example, teaching children how to read. App developers have capitalized on the fact that children today are largely familiar with utilizing smart devices to access online activities and games. By crafting digital media that mimic popular gaming titles, but replacing the content with tools devised to bolster reading skills, they’ve made the process enjoyable and educational at the same time.
They’ve applied the same concept to learning foreign languages. Do a quick search in your smartphone’s app store, and you’ll likely find several options, all of which implement a game-like structure to motivate users to continue “ranking up” and improving their language skills.
Even subject matter that would bore most adults, like cybersecurity protocols, have had a gamification makeover. Instead of beating employees on the head with dry theory, gamification implements mechanics that allow them to turn theory into practice. For instance, entrepreneurial businesses are running fake phishing attacks, then grading responses and rewarding employees who apply their training appropriately, helps reinforce the lessons they have learned.
Altering the Recruitment Process
Can you imagine a world in which you could use game-based tests to assess the attributes of potential employees for a position? That world is already here, as many organizations are using the principles of gamification to screen applicants and find the best fit for their team. Instead of merely assessing a candidate’s technical competencies, organizations are able to assess cognitive traits and emotional characteristics that reveal how a new hire will mesh with the company culture.
This process plays the dual role of gauging a potential employee’s basic digital knowledge as well. If they are able to navigate the gamification interface with ease and take full advantage of the systems implemented in the screening process, it is more likely that they are technologically fluent, and will be able to apply these skills when they join an organization.
Hacking Employee Productivity
Uber caught some flak when the New York Times revealed that it was using behavioral manipulation–in the form of gamification–to motivate their drivers to perform better. Taking a close look at the “tricks” they were using, however, you’ll see that these techniques are similar to what other ride-sharing companies use, and are applicable to any company that wants to use gamification to get more from their employees.
Setting “earnings goals,” providing subtle motivation when employees are close to their goals, then rewarding them with perks once they exceed their goals, are techniques that utilize human behavior and psychology to enhance productivity. All of these are skillfully implemented through gamification, and, adapted to a general workplace setting, can have significant benefits for employers and employees alike.
Far from being the dead trend that detractors forecasted, gamification is heating up more than ever. This list was just a snapshot of the ways in which gamification can enhance an entrepreneurial businesses, so be sure to continue reading about some of the future trends that may be on the horizon. You can apply these to further your agenda in a way that increases not only your bottom line, but the level of engagement and motivation from your team members as well.
Gamification for entrepreneurs seems set to stay the course.