Gamifying innovation: all can play, all can win

Photo: Abigail Keenan@Unsplash

One of the recurring preconceptions to overcome in any innovation management effort is that only experts are able to innovate. In a sense, it’s someone else’s job, not mine. This makes it difficult to bring people into the process and keep them motivated throughout the journey.

Typical innovation processes also too often fail in their communication strategy, and this can compromise: the process; the confidence treat between organisers and participants (and the possibilities to efficiently use a bidirectional mechanism to reinforce alignment between both parts); as well as the value of the incentives provided.

Knowingly, a weak communication plan or the misalignment with participants’ desires tend to make incentives less efficient – more than any tighter budget ever could. Processes that aren’t inclusive (only the creative ones are able to participate) and weak recognition and rewarding systems (only best X ideas get a prize) are likewise frequent culprits of failure.

How can we, then, gamify the innovation process to make it more inclusive, attractive, enjoyable, efficient, transparent and sustainable? That’s exactly what we’ve done.

Making it work
Exago’s innovation management software and services use collective intelligence to solve key business challenges. Our model uses gamification mechanisms to sustainably engage participants, harnessing their knowledge. From cost reduction or customer engagement to behavioral change, we help companies unleash their people’s hidden potential to achieve real results.

Step by step, we prepare the organisation for the process, by defining a governance model, a communication plan, an incentives plan, and by assuring the alignment and commitment of the leadership with the process. And we make sure this preparation has consequences on the mid-long-run.

The best governance model or a great communication plan attract people to participate, a vast portfolio of incentives is a strong driver for engaging people, but if the process doesn´t meet expectations and desires, they’ll soon quit. The dynamics fades away.

Our solutions, therefore, are thought to:

  • Fulfil people’s desires;
  • Be inclusive, motivating different players’ profiles (remember Bartle Test framework?);
  • Be transparent, so that participants realise its rules and constraints;
  • Provide (immediate) feedback for people to remain engaged and understand how they can improve their participation;
  • Provide social interaction, since competition, sharing and collaboration are decisive stimuli for people to contribute;
  • Have clear incentives and recognition mechanisms;
  • And finally, to be entertaining.

Our solutions also welcome all kinds of people. The most typical behaviours remind us of the four gamer profiles:

  • The achievers are the ones who participate the most with ideas and comments to gather as many points as possible. They become huge contributors.
  • The explorers, who love to look around, are great at helping the community discover other potential contributions. They submit insights and diversify overall participation by doing everything.
  • The socialisers stimulate others to enhance their contributions. They submit many suggestions for improvement and love to check out what is going on, as well as watch the leaderboards.
  • Last, the killers love to compete for the sake of competition and are very active in the selection and evaluation process of ideas. They are great at differentiating what is good from what is less good, and even greater at clarifying those ideas that are no good at all.

How exactly do we gamify innovation?

Gamifying innovation: How to engage your people in key business challenges

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder/
Francisco Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound Strategy and Sales – Latin America /

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