Game On: The Gamification of the workplace

Gary Meyers, President

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Time Magazine has called them lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow. But also earnest, optimistic and pragmatic idealists. They’re the Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, numbering 80 million strong, the biggest age grouping in American history. And the first generation to grow up on video games.

For employers and marketers both, this is not a fact to ignore. Far from being a time suck, game playing has helped nurture the millennial mind, helping to develop the same skill sets found in organizations. Gamers are adept at organizing teams and overseeing resources. They embrace challenge and strive to master new skills.

Which leads us to the concept of reaching Millennials through gamification: the act of turning something—from a product message to a sales drive—into a game. Adweek noted that Gartner has forecast that 70% of blue-chip companies will have at least one “gamified” application by 2014.

Magnum Ice Cream orchestrated a Pleasure Hunt that took players across different Internet sites in pursuit of chocolates. Coke Zero ran a contest where viewers competed to see who could create the top holiday sweater. Hiscox Insurance produced a customized adventure using a player’s personal information gleaned from LinkedIn.

INNOV8, IBM’s business process management simulation game (BPM), gives IT and business players a better understanding of how BPM impacts an entire business ecosystem. Michele Grieshaber, VP-Demand Programs at IBM, spoke of the game at BtoB Magazine’s Digital Edge Live event. Players made various decisions about customer service problems and how to solve them. In its first year, the game netted the company $13 million in additional revenues.

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