Change a behaviour using Gamification

Since completing my 10 week Gamification course at the end of 2012, I have been tuning into ways we can start to shape the behaviours of the community for the better.

Gamification is not a concept I can explain in just a few sentences so I wanted to take the time in this blog post to outline some of the thinking that makes it up.

Firstly: What exactly is Gamification?

The simple answer is it is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non game contexts e.g. behaviour change or engagement campaigns.

Some of the elements we can use in the solution come straight from traditional games such as: Points, Resource collection, Quests, Avatars, Social Graph, Progression and Levels (leaderboards).

A good example of Gamification so you can get your head around it, is Zombies Run. This is an iPhone app that I have downloaded on my phone in an attempt to motivate me to exercise regularly… and you know what, it has worked! (as when it comes to regular exercise I am not easily motivated). Here is how it works. After downloading the app and getting ready for a run, I enter a few details like the time I want to run for, connect up my motivating music from iTunes and then the story begins. I am immediately taken on a journey interlinked with my favourite tunes. I have a new name -Runner 5 and a purpose. No longer are my runs just me listing to my music, mind dumbingly hitting the pavement. I now have missions to complete where I have to out run zombie mobs (forced cardio as I really don’t want to get caught!), pickup virtual supplies for the base on which I now live. I earn points and these help unlock new missions. I am addicted.

Where can I use Gamification in a marketing context?

– Externally with customer engagement. Marketing and sales.
– Internally for HR, to enhance productivity even crowd sourcing.
– To change a behaviour. Gamification allows us to think about things from a new perspective to impact people in the areas of health and wellness, sustainability and even personal finance! Check out a few examples here. including the Speed Camera Lottery which used ideas from games to reward people for not speeding.

What types of things are fun?

If you think about the traditional games that you play there are one or two of these points below that will be enjoyable for you.
Winning, Problem Solving, Exploring, Chilling, Teamwork, Recognition, Triumphing, Collecting, Surprise, Imagination, Sharing, Role Playing, Customisation or even Goofing Off.

Sometimes fun can be easy, sometimes it is hard. There is fun with people and there is also serious fun.

With all fun there has to be some motivation and the motivation spectrum below really highlights where a behaviour campaign needs to sit to enact any real change.

The Motivational Spectrum

It is important at this point to understand there are two key reasons that people are motivated. The first is Extrinsically. They do something because you have told them to. There are actually four leves of extrinsic motivation:
1. External – regulation, where someone tells you to do it.
2. Introjection – you may not want to do it, but it says something about you and importantly it makes you look good.
3. Identification – this is where you know the benefits of doing the task, you can identify with why it is important.
4. Integration – you want to do it, yet you don’t want to do it. Exercise is the perfect example for this one.

Then on the other end of the spectrum you have people who are motivated Intrinsically. This means they understand that what they are doing is worthwhile and find it motivating to do it over and over. This is where we want to aim with a behaviour change  campaign, people want to save water, save their money or recycle because they are motivated to intrinsically.

There is a really simple diagram that shows the flow of motivation.

Virtual Economies can help with motivation as they give rewards to people who regularly engage with your brand.  These can be:

VIRTUAL GOODS – Which are virtual items that have value or uniqueness within a game environment. Players may be able to purchase virtual goods with virtual currency, real money, or through achievements within the game. eg Farmville – virtual rewards in exchange for real money.

VIRTUAL CURRENCY – A medium of exchange in a game, allowing players to purchase virtual goods or other benefits. Points in exchange for other things people value. eg. Nescafe Cup of Rewards. Governments can offer reductions in rates or service fees as a reward for the actions of families or individuals eg. water usage. ( See my blog story and in particular the video at the bottom for more ideas from Jesse Schell).

VIRTUAL ECONOMIES – A functional market system in a game, typically including virtual currency and virtual goods that are subject at least in part to economic forces.

Now if you want to be a little overwhelmed at where all the changing technology and gamification could be taking us, check out the video on this blog post I did. It is a real insight!

I believe, fun is the easiest way to change a behaviour.

Yours in gamification.