Gamification Basics

June was full of fascinating articles about gamification from all over the internet. From transport systems to cybersecurity to learning, gamification is really playing a significant role across industries.

Using gamification to improve transportation systems

One of the major challenges that almost every big metropolis in the world is dealing with is the issue of congestion during peak hours. Most municipalities deal with this by investing in improved infrastructure, but this demands significant resources in both time and money. In the meantime, citizens are left frustrated with the existing transportation solutions.

This article, from citymetric.com, explains how different cities around the world are using gamification to incentivize the public to alter their travel preferences in such a way that would alleviate congestion. Apparently, it’s working. Data from different cities from around the world is showing to varying degrees that gamification solutions are succeeding in getting people to switch from travelling at peak hours, to off-peak hours. This really is a fascinating read and another example of how gamification is finding different usage cases in varied fields.

Gamified cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a huge problem. Estimations vary as to the real economic cost of these crimes, ranging from $375 Billion to $1 Trillion annually. Organizations and companies are at their wits end, trying to understand how they can mitigate the risks that cybersecurity presents.

This thenextweb.com article surveys how gamification is becoming part of the solution in the cybersecurity industry. One example is an anecdote from PwC, a global consulting firm, who write that they believe gaming can have an important role in fixing this cybersecurity crisis. Since much of the cyber-attacks are possible due to human errors, lapses in concentration or plain lack of knowledge, gamification can play an important role in educating businesses on correct practices and important principles to observe. This can come in to play in games that simulate cyber-attacks to see how users will react, or in narratives where users get to attack each other, raising awareness to ways in which they are leaving themselves and the organization vulnerable.

The article goes on to mention other ways in which gamification is being implemented in to the world of cybersecurity. Among the mechanics mentioned are a system that makes engaging in cyber security measures a rewarding experience, a gamification platform focusing on recruiting cyber security IT talent, and gamification elements that encourage ethical hackers to discover security vulnerabilities before non-ethical hackers do and report them to the relevant organization.

The article is one of the most up to date and thorough reviews of gamification and its relation to cyber security that I’ve seen. It’s a wonderful read in and of itself, but it’s also especially interesting to anyone who is interested in their privacy and online security (which really, should all of us).

McGame?

McDonald’s probably isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think about gamification, right? If you follow this blog, you know that I’m usually writing about companies from the digital space. Well, apparently, there’s enough gamification to go around. This article from diginomica explains how McDonald’s are making use of gamification to succeed in tackling the huge customer service challenge they are presented with, with their enormous business spanning languages, countries and continents.

This is especially interesting because McDonalds are using a mix of cutting edge technology (like virtual reality) and very simple technology (board games, for example) as part of their gamification efforts. What I liked about this article was that it reiterated a fundamental concept that we at GamEffective have learnt time and time again – games must be both enjoyable and challenging for them to work. Thinking about gamification as just a way to entertain your employees and throw in a bit of fun to an otherwise dull day, is a recipe for failure. Employees are looking to feel that they are leaning something new, improving a skill set, or being challenged to leave their comfort zone. This is what makes gamification work.

Gamification to save on electricity bills

This article is exactly what we love to see. Taking the concepts of gamification and using them to really make a positive change in the lives of those who need it. This month, the results of an experiment incorporating gamification, which was conducted by the Brisbane municipality, were published. The goal of the experimental program was to reduce electricity bill costs for young low-income renters.

The municipality commissioned the development of several games, with an “addictive” element to them, that were designed to “give a real sense of satisfaction when power saving goals were achieved”. The experiment was a huge success, with some participants saving up to $2,000. For those interested in seeing how gamification is used outside of the world of work and productivity, this is a fascinating read.

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