Ready to play the innovation game?

Photo: by Pawel Kadysz in

More than ever, companies need to engage their employees to assure long-term viability. Yet, overwhelmed with information, people’s attention spans have become shorter and shorter. Their willingness to contribute to lateral activities has shrunk, particularly if these are boring or create anxiety. And innovation is often no fun…or can it be?

There’s nothing wrong with fun. Since the dawn of civilisation, generations have learned through games. From learning basic numbers and letters to eating and caring for others, games help transform boring activities.

In fact, you may not even notice it, but gamification is already altering daily routines. Think of how fitness and health apps, cooking apps, baby apps, music apps, have changed your life. How they tap into your motivation. They’re productivity tools, using game elements and techniques to make those activities more appealing and keep you going back.

Don’t just roll the dice
In the corporate realm, this is no time to leave it all to luck. Worldwide, businesses and organisations realise they may be doomed to compete in a ‘red ocean’ where prices and margins sink downward. To prevent this downward spiral, new ideas and outside the box thinking are essential – to create differentiated business models, products and services, as well as competitive cost structures.

You need to gather your people’s collective intelligence to find new answers. And gamification has proved to engage employees’ and stakeholders’ attention around your key business challenges.

Gartner has, in fact, predicted that by next year 40% of Global 1000 organizations will be using gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. To be ahead of the game, you have to be ready to play the game.

Understand the rules
In our paper, “Gamifying Innovation: How to engage your people in key business challenges”, we start by taking you through gamification’s definition and its main elements:

  • Points
  • Quests
  • Avatars
  • Social graphs (interaction)
  • Levels
  • Progression
  • Badges

We next share a handful of gamification characteristics that make the process fun and attractive. They are thought out to involve as many players as possible.

If World of Warcraft players have a common interest – enjoying the game –, the same does not always happen for employees of Company X. Therefore, game designers must first ascertain player’s different profile to effectively reach target participants. According to the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, you can have:

  • Achievers
  • Explorers
  • Socialisers
  • Killers

We help you understand how this framework works and to identify the engines that will guide players. These mechanics relate to the desire for status, achievement and competition. All are essential to reinforcing the engagement potential of gamified processes, so that people feel fulfilled by their activities.

Boosting your innovation initiatives
The benefits collected from appropriately outlining gamified processes are varied and very significant: Gamification develops more loyalty in participants (whether they are customers, employees or others) and more use. It can make a process go viral, radically increasing the number of participants, and it creates a sense of identification with the brand, activity, product or other elements of the process.

These benefits are of extreme value within innovation initiatives, as any innovation manager well knows. In other words, gamification can play a leading role in motivating people and compelling them to participate and bring value to these initiatives – as leaders in innovation and management, such as Stefan Lindegaard, Paul Sloane, Matthew May and Michael Allen, have consistently pointed out.

But how can you exactly gamify the innovation process to make it more inclusive, attractive, efficient, transparent and sustainable, delivering real results? If you´re interested in learning more, just request our paper or feel free to contact us.

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder

Francisco Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound and Sales Latin America

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