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« How to Help People Adapt in a World of Change | Main | The Importance of Getting to No »

May 28, 2013


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Tracy Maurer

Rachel, I hope this is a concern of anyone who is looking to gamify internal corporate systems. In fact, it was a big part of the discussion at GSummit this year. If done right, gamification is much more about helping employees see/find the fun in their jobs, or taking something that is perhaps not so fun but necessary and adding some fun to it. So of like adding a spoonful of sugar to the medicine. From our early attempts, I can already see this working for some people. We've always struggled with getting the word out about a software upgrade, and getting anyone to read documentation. But we have generated a lot of buzz for our next upgrade, and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. One person even commented that now that he is using the site more often, he is getting more value leading to even more usage. Often that is what it is all about - leading people to test the water before committing to drink it. And I hope we can continue in that good vein. :)


Hi Tracy -
Thank you for sharing your success with gamification tools. I wonder if there are not two different levels of conversation here: the gamification of current processes to improve their success (regardless of how they help/hinder overall motivation) and the gamification of work at a grander scale, which is where my concern lies mostly, but also a much more fundamental change to the employee/employer contract. That conversation might be irrelevant because most organizations or employees are not ready to change at that level. Not sure.

On a practical level I have seen communities with hundreds of badges that users can earn and it makes me wonder what's too much - what's the tipping point where they are not meaningful. I don't know and have not seen data on that yet but it also seems like a risk.


The more you dive into that subject, the more you start to realize that the difference between intrinsic and external motivators is hard to make.
This is also being played out in the gamification arena, where we are witnessing the polarisation into two worldviews:
- Reality is broken - McGonigal
- Improve marketing - Zicherman
I am personally more in favor of the first, but the fact remains that both icons / guru's are holding the space for a whole new world of insights on the nature and anatomy of what we label as 'motivation'. In this cross-over mutiple-discipline we can make connections to community development, capacity building, transactional analysis and positive psychology.

Stephen Shannon

Rachel, First. We don't hear from you often enough or our "receiving" system is fractured, sadly.
Finally, I am more often (at least in our 'hood') stunned by the precociousness and lack of obnoxiousness displayed daily by 2, 3 & 4 year old males and females (no different) who have spur of the moment command of the language and thinking clarity. e.g. "Grandma if you continue to pick up trash you will be trash". This said to grandma who daily walks behind two moms pushing strollers, while she retrieves items strewn about by the unthinking in and around our neighborhood.


It is interesting, categorizing and figuring out motivators - there are so many moving parts and such diversity of pressures exerted on us - I think it may be a large part of what is driving interest in meditation, yoga, retreats and the like - a chance to get away from as many external pressures as possible so we can actually listen to what is intrinsic to us. It's not easy and you may be right - it may ultimately mean you are right, that there is not an easy distinction. Maybe those then are not the right categories - not sure but it is worth a lot more collective exploration.

Thank you Stephan - I've been relatively quiet here on my personal blog of late. Running The Community Roundtable and writing there ( is absorbing most of my time these days. Children are indeed fascinating creatures to observe.

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