Friday, July 11, 2014

Gamification, the New Buzzword

What gets measured gets improved.

We all know that. We also know that if you tell me how I'm measured, I'll tell you what actions I'll take.

A new popular book is reminding us that gamifying a process or business system can help create some improvements. The author describes how it contributes to the three areas of motivation described by Daniel Pink in Drive: autonomy, mastery and purpose. However, you don't want to turn just anything into a game, just to make it fun. The concept works with employees and customers.

I know I've been intrigued by the recognition I get from different fitness apps. Does the recognition motivate me? No. I have other reasons, but they're a nice touch. So don't just gamify something by creating rewards. Alfred Kohn has already told us how incentives backfire. Gamification occurs when we have choices and the ability to modify the content of our work and collaborate with others. (Even fitness experts know that exercise and healthy eating is more successful when people do it with others.)

The Great Game of Business, the educational and consulting arm of Springfield Remanufacturing, has been doing this for decades: making business improvement like a game. However, they will tell you that first people need to understand the rules of business (the game) and learn how to keep score (finances) and then master the methods to win the game. It doesn't cheapen the effort if you're maintain a respect for the consequences of people's actions and decisions. There can be some 'game' aspects to GGOB's methodology but that's not the focus. A mini-game only gets people enthused to practice their new knowledge and create new habits of operating. We all need to get out of a rut if we want different results. Something like GGOB's mini-game can help.

Beware: there's another mean to game the system. You know about this too. It's related to the first dictum mentioned above. Tell me how I'm measured and I'll tell you how I'll behave...sometimes for my own interest and I'll figure out how to game the system. For example, we had a company that wanted to reduce rework in their manufacturing operations. The measurement was the time spent fixing and repairing assemblies. People still did the same work, but they reported it differently. Rework went down, and so did efficiency as the rework effort was recorded as first time assembly work which reduced efficiency.

Gamify your business, sure, but don't get gamed in the process.

No comments:

Post a Comment