Gamification does not equal competition
A common misconception is that gamification is all about competition. It's all about leaderboards, trophies and first places.
Competitive style gamification is common, because it is much easier to use quantitative mechanics like points and leaderboards than more social mechanics. It's also easier to measure, especially when you combine it with other quantitative measures like KPIs. Softer behaviours like teamwork, innovation, and building knowledge are fuzzier and harder to measure. But they are critical to today's businesses and teams.
Competition is not a bad thing, many of us are motivated by beating others and seeing our name at the top of that leaderboard. There's no doubt about it - many people enjoy some competition. But to think that competition is the only thing that motivates people and that gamification is just about slapping on some points and leaderboards - is simply not true.
While some people enjoy competition, many hate it. Especially in the business world, we find that a lot of organisations are trying to build a positive culture, one that promotes collaboration and good team dynamics. A competition-only gamification experience here would be detrimental to the culture and not achieve the business objectives.
Many of our clients are seeking to use gamification to encourage and reward team and social behaviours. With these types of outcomes, the mechanics used have a careful balance of mechanics and dynamics that balance competition with collaboration. And sometimes the gamification experiences we design have no element of competition at all. Here the focus is on collaboration and team-level achievements.
Relying only on competition is an easy way to do gamification, with simple mechanics like points, badges, and leaderboards. You can see it everywhere. And while competition will work for some teams, many teams are seeking a different way to use gamification. Gamification can come in many shapes and sizes, and the experience can be powerful to promote working together and celebrating team and business achievements.
And that's where we come in.