Over the last 3 weeks I’ve had 2 trips to San Francisco, one for Cloudforce and the other for Sales 2.0. At both of these events I heard the hype surrounding Gamification – adding game play elements to your business process. At Cloudforce Mark Benioff was talking about their acquisition of Rypple. In addition to whatever employee review/feedback system you have you give employees the ability to award badges to each other that show up in the user’s profile (in this case in Salesforce.com).
The central idea to gamification is that people will spend hours on end chasing digital trinkets, and this seems obvious based on the success of things like Farmville, Foursquare, or sticker chasing on Get Glue. While researching yesterday I came across a great post (worth the read) claiming that gamification is BS, and while the argument has merit, that doesn’t mean it won’t work. As a friend of mine experienced in motivating sales people has said regarding their competitive nature: “I’ve seen them get in a fist fight over a bag of M&M’s”
After hearing about Rypple I came across a wide assortment of companies providing game functionality to the sales cycle such as ePrize, Bunchball, Badgeville and Hoopla (I have to admit, their ESPN style leaderboard eye candy is very cool). It will be interesting to see how many of these companies show up at Dreamforce this year. I’d go on about how well these tools can shape behavior, but the fact that I spend time checking in to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries so that I can continue to be the Foursquare Mayor is proof enough.