The message read “You’ve Been Ousted as mayor of XXXPetStore.” My reaction? Big deal! I had no desire to race to the store to recapture my status or find numerous excuses to purchase toys for my two adorable tonkinese cats.
Gamification is an engagement technique that borrows video game mechanics (game features such as points, leaderboards, challenges, etc), and uses them to change behaviors in non-entertainment activities. For the most part gamification relies on these external motivators, and it really could have limitations on its ultimate effectiveness, as described in Motivation 2.0.
Why? Because it seems many gamification techniques are Motivation 2.0 – or at least being applied in that way. According to Daniel Pink the author of “Drive” there are two kinds of motivators – extrinsic and intrinsic. Pink’s main point tears down the notion that you are likely to behave a certain way because you are motivated by an external goal or reward. These sort of motivators are only as good as the next “if -then” rewards. So “if” I went to buy some cat toys and I checked in, I could “then” become mayor, which did little to get me to stop what I was doing, head to the store and purchase yet more toys for my adoring felines. At least for me, Motivation 2.0 does not create sustainable behavior change, even though it seemed fun in the beginning. Once the mayor novelty wore off so did the desire to pull out my smart phone and check in every time I visited the location.
Contrast that with Motivation 3.0 which Pink defines as finding joy and motivation in simply “doing the activity.” That’s intrinsic motivation. Not to say that all gamification is meowing up the Motivation 2.0 tree as some game dynamics, such as altruism or self-expression, really are driven from within – but it should be thought through about what behavior changes are desired and how best to engage someone on the more intrinsic level. Product planning and business process design or BPM, both excellent candidates for using gamification, can only benefit if their intrinsic and extrinsic motivators are carefully designed, implemented …. and modified all the way so they will continue to deliver value (and fun) to their users.
What are your thoughts?
Lula and Sailor Anxiously Awaiting the Arrival of New Cat Toys