The Gamification Revolution: How Leaders Leverage Game Mechanics to Crush the Competition by Gabe Zichermann (Mar 26 2013) Hardcover – 1703
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From that point he makes perhaps too big a jump to observe that Millennials are like that because they've grown up playing video and other kinds of games, and--because of that--there's no other way they can really be engaged. And because they are the focal point and rising leaders in our organizations, the rest of us will be forced to get interested in gaming as well. This is an interesting way to think about how ways of working, being entertained, getting involved and getting promoted transition between generations, and the authors make a great case for it.
I decided to read this book because I'm very focused on engaging employees in my organization by whatever means possible. We have a cross-section of employees from young to old, and we just recently brought them together into 5-person teams to talk about the way they think about engaging their customers to buy our products and services. It was an eye-opening experience to see how people like to engage each other and to share their expertise. Back on their jobs these same employees are basically isolated in our stores, so we are looking for ways to continue the in-person sharing of ideas we just observed close-up with a social media design for getting them to post original ideas and videos and to review and discuss each other's ideas. My model for wanting to do this has been this Amazon platform we're all using to post reviews, which uses points, leaderboards, the ability to judge helpfulness and comment. Surprisingly, Zicherman doesn't mention Amazon as one of his examples--probably because there are better game-like examples. But this approach seems like the one to take after he explains how players are motivated by game mechanics.
I really liked the way he described how game mechanics made companies like eBay, Nike and Instagram successful, and how websites like Wikipedia had better start engaging contributors in more dynamic ways if they are to stay interested.
I think there's more to it than just games that explains how our generations differ, but still, he's right that something has to make our brands and our employee and customer engagement strategies stand out from the "desperate" attempts companies are making to draw attention to themselves. While Zicherman may overdo it with the number of cases he uses through the book, he explains from many different angles why games are a serious way to get attention. For me, this book will provide more than just the general idea that games could engage our employees and customers ... it will help to construct the system that should make it really work. At least until the inevitable time when people get bored and we realize something more is needed to make it fun.