Gamification At Work: New Book Provides Rich Examples for Enterprise Apps

I did not jump on the gamification bandwagon early. I’ve attended a lot of webcasts and conference presentations on the topic, and I kept hearing the same unconvincing stories over and over, with no great examples of how this applies to the world of enterprise applications. Too many vendors have added a “Like” button somewhere in an application and call it gamification. I’ve seen people talk about revolutionary gamification strategies to drive worker productivity, but it was the same old incentives for extra effort we’ve used for decades. I had started to think that gamification was like the infamous emperor–maybe not completely naked, but at the least scantily clad.

I’m happy to say there is a new book about to be published that finally convinced me the gamification movement is real, it is revolutionary, and it definitely has a place in enterprise software and service operations. The book,”Gamification At Work,” was co-authored by two prominent design professionals, Janaki Kumar, Head of Strategic Design Services at SAP and Mario Herger, a Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California. With a real background in enterprise software, Janaki and Mario provide a deep dive into gamification examples for software, productivity and even support communities (using actual examples from the SAP customer community). “Gamification At Work” will be published later this month, but the publishers have provided a link to access an online version of the book, just for “Ragsdale’s Eye On Service” readers, so please click through and check it out: http://www.interaction-design.org/books/gamification_at_work.html?p=c782

I knew I was onto something when on the very first page, I found this: “[The authors] caution against taking a ‘chocolate covered broccoli’ approach of simply adding points and badges to business applications and calling them gamified.” This has been my exact complaint, so I knew these guys had figured it out.

The previous presentations I’ve seen on gamification give gaming examples and say, “Think how we could use that in corporate America!!!” But they don’t give examples. This book gives examples. Not only does it provide a look at the psychology of gaming, and walks you through the typical push backs on the topic and why they aren’t valid (things like it only works for kids, or women won’t use it), but it also details gamification elements, gives the root of the idea from the gaming world, then shows how it can be leveraged in enterprise apps or corporate processes. My favorite part of the book is Chapter 6, describing various gamification elements, and not just points and badges, but interesting concepts like Scaffolding, Narrative and Emotion.

This book is must read for enterprise application designers, and the examples about online communities and worker productivity make interesting reading for service management as well. Please take advantage of the free online version while available, or order now from Amazon!

Thanks to Janaki Kumar and Mario Herger for sending me an advance copy, and to Lee Traupel of the Interaction Design Foundation for extending the free online version to my blog readers. And as always, thank you for reading!

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