Gamification is all hype.

That is the conclusion of a Gartner report that predicts 80% of current gamified applications will fail by 2014 because companies have not invested in skilled game designers. In other words, the games being used to motivate people suck, and it is causing those efforts to fail.

Who Doesn't Like Games?

Seriously, who doesn't like games? A better question would be, 'why are companies toying with people to change desired behaviors.' Companies should focus on game mechanics like balancing competition and collaboration, or defining a meaningful game economy, Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner said in a statement. Instead, the focus is often on leader boards, points and badges, and they often are simply not engaging.

Focusing too much on just slapping meaningless rewards on activities fails to get customers, employees or the public (who ever the target is) to change behaviors or learn new skills. The goal should be to create player centric games that focus on motivation, and companies are simply not up to the task most of the time. 

As gamification matures, companies have an opportunity to apply gamification to areas like customer engagement, employee performance and training and education, among others. However, it seems to be easier to simply install some of the hallmark badges and leader boards, and hope people respond to those tactics.

Learning Opportunities

Architecting Behaviors

Over the last two years, the integration of social, mobile and ubiquitous access have been the biggest change in gamified applications. This has helped push gamification beyond just customer loyalty and marketing. Although gamification is still maturing, some of the most advanced applications have been in education and innovation management, Burke said.

The trend is still new internally in IT departments, but enterprises are using it mostly in project management and knowledge management to complete tasks and contribute to knowledge management databases. Additionally, IT training applications are seeing some gamification integration as well as some software development.

Two main reasons IT should be using gamification, Burke said, is to improve performance of staff, but also to demonstrate thought leadership more broadly within the organization or even externally to customers and the public.