Eight gamification projects out of ten are destined to fail. Behind the buzzword hides a genuine field of behavioural motivation which is about much more than just awarding badges.

Gamification: helping players achieve their own goals is a must

By 2015, 40% of all Global 1000 organisations will be using gamification as the primary mechanism to increase customer engagement, improve employee performance and manage innovation projects better. However, 80% of current gamified applications will fail to meet their business objectives. These are among the key findings of a study by IT research and advisory specialist Gartner which underlines that the success of this kind of initiative depends on a company realising that it cannot just limit itself to awarding badges or offering rewards, but it must think of its target audience in terms of real players in a game.

Stumbling blocks for gamification projects

Brian Burke, a research analyst at Gartner who authored the study, advises companies, among other things, to offer substantial rewards. He takes the Google News Badges initiative in 2011 as an example. The search engine specialist felt it could get its readers engaged just by simply awarding badges, but the project proved a total fiasco. The analyst points out that the designs of successful gamification projects -such as Nike+ and Khan Academy- all have one thing in common: they have clearly identified the objectives of the players. “Many companies running such projects make the mistake of wanting to motivate their customers to achieve the company’s objectives,” he explains, adding: “The challenge is to find the point of convergence where the objectives of the players meet those of the firm.”

Behaviour Lab to focus on behaviour management

Well aware of the challenges raised by this issue, Badgeville, the world’s leading gamification platform, has recently launched what it calls a Behaviour Lab, the first of its kind. Badgeville says that one of the Lab’s tasks is to discern and analyse behaviour patterns, and try to identify “repeatable design templates” suited for dozens of popular business use cases, ranging from community engagement to employee productivity and educational training programmes. Using this data, Badgeville will also support companies in the design and implementation of their gamification projects.

By Ruolin Yang