Welcome back, Gamers and Players. This post will be a little longer and more detailed than usual. It involves a theme I studied and graduated about, so I can be more specific and precise, while telling you what you should or shouldn’t do.
Anyway, it is a complete and tested procedure to create framework for the governance of gamification solutions, starting from your usual business governance: I think it worth a peek.
Within discussion about gamification governance, we have to face the problem related to how business structures affect our games, and vice-versa.
A smart governance of both game and business will try to drive, by game, player’s behaviour useful to business, and meanwhile to create a set of game rules that help business governance.
This general statement can be applied to any kind of gamification solutions: collecting data, marketing and brand enforcement, outsourcing of process. A good analysis of your solution is the primary step for a good governance.
Also, the most important step to transform game into business is the focus. According to Gartner many gamification project will fail in the next years (Gartner that says it), due to poor design. I write few consideration about it here.
Focusing is also important because you cannot transform all your business process in a game: these two worlds follow different laws, and have different objectives.
Focusing on a slice of business small enough will make easier to find out similarity and common process that will show you how to create a good gamification solution.
Another important thought you should have before starting to gamify is about the differences between short games (easy to play and easy to annoy) and complex-lasting games (harder to learn but long-lasting). This is usually called learning curve. Basically, any gamification solution you’ll find right now is of the first kind: easy to learn, easy to become boring.
How To – Structural Analysis for Gamification
So, you have to transform a game into a business activities. You have to structure the governance from game to business, with higher requirements. How can you do that?
First of all, be acquainted with gamification thematics. A useful and flexible approach is also Game on Demand, you can find related posts here.
The procedure to get a business, convert it into game, and obtaining business result, is based upon structural analogy, and described here below. You probably have to fill some blanks to tailor it to your project.
The following process assumes that you have got your basic idea. Take a surf within “Hot Topic” section, monitor your competitor solutions, brain-storm with colleagues… do anything you want, until it’s useful for getting the core it’s good (this hardly can be translated in a process).
After you’ve got the core idea, follow this simple procedure: split the activities the player will perform in-game to actions simplest as possible, and then translated them in business-actions (or objectives, or Kpi).
Create a framework on both your sheet (Game and Business), every one with their own relationships between actions. Then compare the sheets. Do they fit perfectly?
If yes: greetings! You only have to carry on the business governance into the game: translation will be easy and immediate.
If not, any of the discrepancy is a weak point to governance. It can be any of the following situation (here I only refer to how process are in Games, taking the business process as “given” – in other terms, here below I suggest how to change game to fit into business… but as you know, sometimes it is better to use gamification also to improve your business process: choosing is up to you):
- A missing process – some process may be erased for many reason: it doesn’t make sense in-game, it’s too heavy and ruins fun of the game, or it simply cannot be applied.
- An extra process – usually this is not a problem. Game often need different process than business. Be careful that those process doesn’t make the game too complex (in fact you don’t need them, except for running the game: if you can delete or simplify it, it’s better) or makes analytics more difficult .
An interesting approach, however, it to use this extra-process as ideas for rebuilding or reset some part of your business process: maybe the process inspired by game have a better and more efficent structure.
- A redundant process -something that you need once, for some reason is doubled in-game. This usually isn’t a problem, unless it causes a governance fatigue or makes game lesser fun.
- A process with no opportunity to be translated in business -this can be really problematic: something in your game is not structured to be useful for business. While technical problems usually can be solved (i.e: your gaming platform doesn’t support the analytics you need), most of the times here crashed the most interesting gamification projects.
- A process with more joint than needed – another situation is about a process, simple in business, with clear relationship with a Kpi, analytics, input and output; and its equivalent within the game that have broader influence in game output, user behaviour and/or many other aspect. There is not a single solution to this issue, but all the chances you get to solve this problem are within “focusing” field. Do not be afraid to cut off part of your game, if you can solve situation and focus the game more.
- A process with less joint than needed – similar to situation above, is easier to solve: structure extra connections within game to make them equivalent to those in business.
Remember also that focus often is achieved with simplicity, but sometimes also a little bit of extra implementation may help to obtain the best result.
When issues above is solved, you can simply translate your usual business governance within game (do not forget to set up also a good player governance!).
Conclusion – ask for more!
Here you have found hints on how to approach those problems from a game design perspective. But you can use gamification also to analyze your business process, and as a driver to improve and simplify them.
For this second kind of activities, anyway, I’ll suggest you to talk with your business consultant to help you improve your business process.
All the suggestion here obviously need to be refined to suit at the best on your project.
I’m actually preparing a flow-chart to help my customer identify and correctly follow this methodology: I don’t actually decide if I will publish that here for free… but if you’re interested you can e-mail me or leave a comment below asking for it: I’m always in look for good suggestions and critiques, so it’s very probably I’ll send it for a detailed feedback.
That’s all for today… but stay tuned: in the next week I’ll release a complete game, easy to play, to show how you can face, with gamification, also the most complex situation.