When I hear the same thing from two professionals in very different lines of business, I tend to take notice.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing about gamification in work (not marketing) settings.  First, I had the pleasure to see Lauren Carlson’s great post Game On! Can Playing Games Drive Adoption of Sales Force Automation? Second, JP Miller of Louis Allen Worldwide raised some excellent points around using gamification to support the use of  electronic meeting software and good meeting practice.

I see at two clear topics to follow: The application of game mechanics to work -- Lawyers and salespeople already have this.  How many hours do you have?  Did you make your quota this quarter? Many jobs have their own badges of success for outward performance.  We can also easily apply game mechanics to work process, though  @alexis8nicolas commented on a prior post that it “seems like we should be able to do better than the Inbox Zero game.”

Lauren’s post (and great illustrations, including the one above) was focused on the adoption of salesforce automation software and raised issues of training badges, data quality, and outbound calling intensity. I also saw the badges and notifications as background for more general knowledge management.  Managers and co-workers will have a better idea of who knows what, who needs what information, and should see better performance if this background information is used to improve how work gets done. Making work more like a game -- gameful.  

Think challenges and epic quests.  Again, lawyers and salespeople are already there, but it’s not much of a translation to see challenges and quests in many different kinds of jobs.  It’s not hard to imagine research, fire fighting/policing, change management, new product design, software coding....  What if we translated strategic planning into quest language? Lauren’s original post didn’t speak to challenges and quests, so I asked her what she thought.  Her reply:

I really like the idea of translating work projects into quest language. The user would enter a project or quest, along with the steps needed to complete it. Every time a step is complete, the user would receive recognition for completion of that step (I’m thinking something similar to Mario completing a level on his way to rescue Princess Peach). Not only does this help break “quests” down into manageable steps, but it also appeals to the user’s need for recognition and accomplishment. Also, doesn’t a quest sound much more fun than a project? I have seen several products that have gamified project management, but have yet to see something like this. However, with the increased level of interest in gamifying the enterprise, I don’t think it will be long before project managers begin rescuing the proverbial Peach.

I also had the chance to check back in with JP: "Gamification technology linked to the training and use of “appified” work tools, such as group problem solving techniques, is a gateway to a completely new way of thinking about how to equip employees and managers with capabilities that old approaches to training and development could never even imagine.” The gauntlet is down. What are the best ways to start off on our quest of the gamification of work?