The Gamification Revolution Goes Global

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The Gamification Revolution Goes Global

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 2:30pm


By Alicia Ness

Last month GSummit stopped in Washington, DC for GSummitX, a Meetup event designed to educate the masses about the benefits of gamification.

“Gamification?” You say. “I think I’ve heard of it but…” Blank stare.

It’s this response that leads Gabe Zichermann, the author of The Gamification Revolution and two other books, to lead workshops on the topic.

Psychological understanding of gaming is changing the way organizations and even governments motivate positive behavior change and compliance. To illustrate the point to his audience, Gabe called out the efforts of the Swedish government to lower driving speeds with Speed Camera Lottery, Domino Pizza’s attempt to grow its market share with Pizza Hero, and Nike’s business model transformation that was powered by the introduction of Nike+.

Gaming behavior follows a simple cycle, driven by dopamine production. When we take on a challenge, and achieve a goal, we experience dopamine release, or pleasure, which further motivates us to continue to the next challenge. When individuals compete, the incentives that most successfully reward behavior can be surprising. In descending order, effective rewards are Status (hello, leader board!), Access, (hello, Mr. President), Power, (go fetch, Mr. President), and Stuff ($$$). Gabe argues that the efficacy of these rewards is linked to human habituation. This cycle can reinforce any behavior cycle, but when harnessed for good, it can propel greater compliance and achievement.

To illustrate the point, GSummitX lead the audience through an interactive “Gamestorming” activity, Play for a Cause, engaging participants in a game that solves a social good problem—CDC Development Solutions was fortunate enough to be the beneficiary.

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Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Alicia Bonner Ness | Angel Cabrera | Business & Trade | CDC Development Solutions | CDS | Case Foundation | GSummit | GSummitX | Gamification | Gamification Revolution