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You’ve been Ousted…Why Gamification Is So Motivation 2.0!

by Elise Olding  |  April 5, 2011  |  1 Comment

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.

For some additional information and alternative opinions, check out Brian Burke’s blog, Mike Rolling’s blog and a Gartner research note by Brian Blau (for Gartner clients).

What are your thoughts?

Lula and Sailor Anxiously Awaiting the Arrival of New Cat Toys

Category: bpm-strategic-planning  gartner  organizational-change  

Tags: behavior-change  bpm  gamification  motivation  process-design  

Elise Olding
Research Director
7 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

Elise Olding is a Research Director covering the complex challenges of organizational change and business transformation from a people perspective. Her areas of focus include organizational change, communications strategies and emerging trends in employee engagement from a hands-on practitioner view. Ms. Olding provides research on a worldwide basis, advising clients on best practices to achieve sustainable change and business transformation. She is a member of Gartner's Business Process and Transformation team. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on You’ve been Ousted…Why Gamification Is So Motivation 2.0!

  1. […] feedback while providing a viable marketing platform for communicating multi-faceted messages. Industry analysts also agree that gamification can achieve higher levels of brand engagement and foster […]

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