I'm just back from an amazing day talking with colleagues who teach and study social media. This was the third annual Boston College Social Media Workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Boston College's Carroll School of Management. We heard ten talks as varied as the impact of Facebook's privacy changes on the efficacy of personalized marketing (strong positive effect) and the role of social media networking in new hire retention (again, strong positive effect). Big take away from the day: We're just getting started on understanding the effects of even relatively well known social media tools like social bookmarking, let alone company-internal communities and governance, and gamification.
Gamification was one of the topics mentioned in our closing "what's next" session, meaning that no one had findings to present yet, but that the topic is worthy of research. On the flight to the conference I had read Vincent Beerman's Sales Force Gamification = (Automation + Motivation + Socialization)^2. This thoughtful post was the perfect background for talking about how we can go beyond badges and leader boards to work that has flow -- Csikszentmihalyi's idea that the best work gets done when you're engaged, feel fully involved with a task that is hard, but not too hard -- the same feelings you find in a great game (prior gamfication and gameful work posts).
Beerman talks about a progression from sales force automation to sales force motivation, and sales force gamification: "weaving game dynamics and social interactions directly into the process flow." He also describes how socialization (e.g., new hire training and mentoring) can be improved by gamification.
Given Prof. Dorothy Leidner's results regarding how even basic new hire social networking can improve perceptions of the work setting, I'm ready to play. Besides thinking about gamification in socialization and on-boarding, we also need to think about gamification in even earlier training and education systems - in school.
During the break I had the pleasure of hearing how Prof. Steven Johnson teaches about and uses gamification (TheSocial Media Innovation Quest), in his undergraduate information systems classes. Please see this earlier post on applications of gamification to learning, health, marketing, etc..