What’s the name of the game?
Gamification, it’s a word that seems to be gaining more and more traction in business, especially when it comes to skills, training and engaging with staff. On first impressions it comes across like a load of old business speak, jargon which sounds impressive but empty of meaning. So it would be good to start by defining exactly what it is I mean when I use this term.
In a nutshell, gamification is where you apply game playing and the thought processes associated with it such as point scoring, competition and tactical thinking, to other activities, in this case improving business practices or creating an understanding of a new product or service and how best to present it to the market.
Whether it be an interactive race, driven by an e-polling system at a conference, or a more intimate session where small groups are incentivised to compete against each other, there is no doubt that this platform is growing as an educational tool in UK business. An article published on digital and technology news site, Mashable, a few years ago hints towards how gamification as a learning tool will continue to grow in importance as the expectations of both management and staff evolve.
Theory is one thing, putting it into practice is another. I run internal coaching sessions with my sales and marketing team, and on one occasion asked a colleague to organise the next session and focus on gamification. Involving others was essential to ensure the session was a good fit for the team personality and level. Then an understanding of what the outcome needed to be and how that fitted with the individuals and businesses goals was key.
In the session we took a simple concept and built on it, looking at how team individuals would normally present results internally, a crucial skill for anyone in sales and marketing. Firstly we needed to isolate the norm, how did the team normally present? In some instances PowerPoint and lots of figures was the answer - which is how many companies traditionally present. My question was, is this engaging and interesting, if the team switch off after the tenth slide, what’s the point? After a brainstorm session, we came up with a new concept of turning the figures into a team game whereby the data was placed against a grid (think financial bingo!) to match up goals and actuals.
It proved a much more dynamic way to educate and share information and results, the team really got into it, helping to draw out their competitive streak (essential in sales) and understand better the targets that they needed to achieve and the best ways of attaining them.
There you have it. In my opinion, gamification is definitely the way to go, providing a far more effective, interactive platform for communicating ideas but also educating staff in a fun, informal way whilst ensuring value for the business.
About the author
Fay Sharpe is the Managing Director at Zibrant