According to Artafact’s Linda Stegeman, the last ten years were about harnessing the power or the web to build networks and community.
“The next ten years,” she said, “will be all about how to engage communities and networks with gamification.”
Linda and HP’s Director of Customer Advocacy, Sumi Shohara, described exactly how that might play out in their recent webcast, “Serious Games for Designing Strategy, Products and Messaging,” which was produced by the AMA and sponsored by Aquent.
The Art of Gamification
Although “gamification” may be a term of recent coinage, companies have used games (McDonald’s Monopoly, anyone?) and game elements such as rewards and badges to drive loyalty and customer engagement for decades.
What we are seeing today, however, is the application of game dynamics to an amazing array of situations and marketing activities as well as the proliferation of tools (SCVGR, Badgeville, and Bunchball, to name a few) that bring gamification to the enterprise.
After explaining the fundamental dynamics of game design, as laid out by Seth Priebatsch in a popular TED Talk, Linda and Sumi described three different scenarios in which HP used games to achieve specific business goals, including: the prioritization of R&D for a new product; the identification of new use cases for an existing product; and the selection of corporate attributes to be emphasized in marketing messages.
“Buy a Feature”
In order to figure out which features to focus on when developing an analytics product, HP turned to their Customer Advisory Board and asked fifteen customers to play a game.
The game was called “Buy a Feature.” All participants were given a list of possible features and each feature was assigned a price reflecting the associated development cost. Each participant was then given $100 in “funny money” that they could “spend” on various features.
Some features were so “cheap” that one participant could buy several, others so expensive that they would have to pool resources. In the end, by forcing participants to weigh the value of the feature against their limited resources, HP was able to identify those features (e.g., an expanded KPI library and additional personas) that matter most to their target customers.
“How, Now, Wow!”
HP used a game involving a How-Now-Wow Matrix to identify new use cases and gauge customer adoption readiness. In this game, participants had to situate different parts of the use case within a matrix having, on one axis, the difficulty of implementation, and on the other axis the originality of the ideas.
Using this schema, participants could rank elements from “normal” ideas that would be easy to implement (Now) all the way up to original ideas that would be impossible to implement (How?). Wow ideas were those that were both original and easy to implement.
Using this method, HP was able to get their customer advisors to uncover a use case that fell into the Wow category because it was original and powerful, desired by a number of participants, and a good use of HP resources.
“Iceberg of Issues”
Finally, on the messaging front, Sumi described HPs efforts to enlist the help of customers first in terms of selecting those aspects of HPs message that most resonated with them and second with regard to the creation of customer stories supporting the message.
The method used for the first part was called “Iceberg of Issues,” in which participants used a picture of an iceberg to sort elements of HPs message. The elements that mattered most to them were placed on the part of the iceberg visible above water, the rest were placed below the waterline, indicating that, while they were part of HPs overall message, they were not as meaningful.
To find compelling customer stories, HP then asked participants to play a “sentence completion game” where they had to fill in the blanks to describe “the most amazing thing you’ve done with HP software.” The (incomplete) story looked like this:
In order to _______________ (problem you solved) we created _______________ (technology solution) which delivered the following benefits to our company ______, __________, ___________ .
The insights gathered from both these games helped HP create more targeted messaging and provided their sales force with a plethora of valuable customer use case stories.
Gamification Is Here to Stay
As the above examples show, games can be used to solve some very real and very pressing business problems. If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to listen to the webcast recording and download the slides.
If you don’t think your company is ready for gamification, consider this: According to Gartner, over 70% of Global 2000 organizations will be gamified by 2014.
Will your organization be one of them?