The MIT/Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB) assembled a diverse panel to discuss Gamification at their latest event. Margaret Wallace, Co-Founder and CEO of Playmatics, Courtney Guertin, Co-Founder and CTO of Kiip, Inc., Rajat Paharia, Founder and Chief Product Officer of Bunchball, Amy Jo Kim, Founder and CEO of ShuffleBrain, Joshua Williams, Senior Software Design Engineer from Microsoft Corporation, and Andrew Trader, Venture Partner at Maveron talked about how the evolution of gamification and how to add game-like components to existing products, consumer spaces, and corporate structures to make those interactions more engaging.
Courtney discussed the efficacy of gamification in the health and fitness arena. She explained that initial fitness tracking gamification strategies didn't work because users would be rewarded with coupons for fast-food after running 10 miles. Now the fitness model has turned to a more individualized approach, where feedback is based on the user's goals and incorporates user's identity.
The goals and motivations of the individual user are important when adding gamification to a product. Andrew pointed out something which companies often miss about gamification, “The service [or product] has to be inherently valuable.” Gamification will not fix a product that isn't already interesting. Gym members stop going because they do not receive immediate feedback, and they become bored.
When Andrew was at Zynga, they came to the same conclusion, and so focused on the 3 R's of gamification: Reach, Revenue, and Retention. He highlighted the fact that United Airlines used gamification for years before the term existed in their frequent flier miles club. Club members rarely logged in to take advantage of the mileage they had accrued despite the fact that remained loyal to the airline. This stands in contrast to sites like Groupon and Living Social, which use gamification every day to sell deals to customers and their friends. The reward structure works similarly to the United Airlines program, where customers are rewarded with deals similar to ones that they've purchased in the past, but instead of customers sticking with only one site they continually shop between daily deal sites.
Despite the game-like components, Amy Jo made it clear that gamification need not necessarily be fun. Joshua further stressed that your ultimate goal is to get the user to continue to interact with the product even after they have grown bored of it. That strategy works for both consumer based products, such as Farmville, and in the workplace, to finish tedious projects. The form of encouragement can also vary, either through encouragement and collaboration, or through competitiveness.
For more news on the exciting and developing field of Gamification, be sure to check back with the Dish Daily for more updates.