Playing to Inspire, Engage and Create Change: Eco-Gamification

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By 2015, more than 50 per cent of organisations that manage social innovation processes will gamify those processes, says Gartner, Inc, a leading information technology research and advisory company. Gamification is the concept of taking the ideas behind good games design and its mechanics, and applying them to non-gaming environments. It uses the principles that make both traditional games and online social media games appealing and compelling, which is creating fun, competition, achievement, gratification, improvement and rewards.By 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon. Businesses are now beginning to sit up and take notice of the potential of gaming, which is set to become a key trend, impacting many areas of business and society. Now, the sustainability sector too is recognising that games are incredibly powerful tools to educate and engage the wider world in the issues that are pivotal to it.There are already some strong examples where ‘eco-gamification’ has worked to engage staff and citizens in pro-environment habit shifting and behaviour change. In congested Bangalore, India, Infosys Technologies used gamification techniques to change the commuting behaviours of its workers, reducing the average daily commuting time of its staff by nearly 20 minutes. This saved 2,600 person hours per day at their main factory site. In America a start up software business has been working with utility companies to persuade households to actively lower their utility bills by pitching them in direct competition with their neighbours. On average, they shaved 2% off of every participating household’s energy bills. The World Bank has sponsored Evoke, a game which crowd-sources ideas from players globally to solve social challenges.In the U.K. the government’s Department for Work and Pensions created an innovation game called Idea Street to devolve innovation and generate ideas from the 120,000 people across the organisation. Idea Street is a social innovation collaboration platform with the addition of game mechanics, including points, leader boards and a ‘buzz index.’ Amazingly, within the first 18 months, Idea Street had approximately 4,500 users and had generated 1,400 ideas, 63 of which had been implemented. Back across the pond, the U.S. military created America’s Army, a video game recruiting tool.Gartner suggests that gaming with purpose increases user interaction, helps with behavioural change, stimulates innovative thinking and the generation of new ideas. It is a new, clean approach with big opportunities for all types of organisations to be able to engage a bigger audience, crowd-source innovation, improve an environment and inspire people to do better things. It also provides an important way to reach out to a younger generation of consumers, clients and potential employees: basically, those born around and after 1990 who have been brought up in this new digital age, known as “Gen Y.” They need something more interactive and challenging to engage their attention in any meaningful and long-lasting way. Gamification is proving to be it.Photo Credit: World Bank Blog Page About Evoke

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