Don't Call it Gamification: Enterprise Engagement by Any Means NecessaryWhether or not you think gamification is the next big thing, the ideas and principles behind what drives motivation are the keys to unlocking the promise of a gamified world.

At day two of the Gamification Summit, many of the speakers have been giving real life lessons learned from trying to implement different gaming mechanics into their business. JP Rangaswami, chief scientist at Salesforce gave his keynote address on how to engage employees and drive innovation. It doesn't matter what you call it, Rangaswami said, because even if people cringe at the word gamification, they said the same thing about wikis and Google when they first came out.

"How could you use a company called Google?" Rangaswami said mockingly.

The Importance of Understanding the Game

The game of business. The game of engagement. The game of hip hop? Rapper Chamillionaire also gave a rousing presentation at the conference, and while he relies on his popular music to build up a loyal following, he also has taken to social media to engage his fans. He has a leaderboard for ranking his fan base, and he uses the added layer of engagement to drive fan loyalty, and obviously, have fun. 

Engagement is indeed the name of the game, Rangaswami said. In business, it's about creating customers and solving problems, he said. But without clear ideas about what problems need solving, and without proper feedback about strategies and tactics, workers are less engaged. If companies address these issues, it can help workers get in a productive work flow, and that leads to real engagement where work feels less like work.

It doesn't matter if you call it, gamification has been happening for a long time, JP Rangaswami said at the Gamification Summit.

Take Advantage of Data

Salesforce has plenty of access to customer data, so maybe that's why Rangaswami is so adamant about using the expansive power of analytics to help make the best business decisions. Use those metrics to help solve new problems or at least make mistakes in new ways, Rangaswami said. When people are in an engaging environment, whether at work or on the Web, they feel more free to take chances, and yes, learn from their mistakes.

The intrinsic feedback loop therein can be its own reward, he said, because learning a new tool or completing a needed task leads to mastery. This important part of human learning is easy to overlook in today's uber fast, hyper complex world, Rangaswami said. 

Increasing engagement is the goal regardless if you are using gamification tools and techniques."

Tell us in the comments if you cringe at the word gamification or if you think the label doesn't matter as much as the message.