Re: Gamification in KM - real experiences #gamification

Stephen Bounds

Yep, agree with everything you wrote. We have pretty much the same viewpoint I think, but are coming at it from different angles.

(Well, except I do think we're using 'intrinsic' and 'extrinsic' slightly differently -- but not enough to matter.)

Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
M: 0401 829 096

On 10/05/2013 10:02 PM, Matt Moore wrote:

"What I meant was that there may not be "work-related value" to
the people directly involved in the gamification. For example, let's say we
gamify the capture of profile information of age, gender and ethnicity.
There's no noticeable "work-related value" to the participating users,
but it serves a purpose for HR, who need it for their organisation
profile reports."

That's OK, we're talking about different things. Altho I would note that
mostly HR asks for gender & age at point of recruitment and may be
legally prevented from discussing ethnicity. It's more common to ask (&
fail to get) information around skills and experience. The issue is that
I as a profile owner don't necessarily benefit in the short term from
expanding my profile. One possible solution is that to search the
profiles of others, I need to have completed my own (altho that's
obviously not without its flaws).

"I wasn't trying to be that black and white about good vs bad. My point
was that an extrinsic motivation will not inspire extraordinary effort
in the longer term. It's like the "employee of the month" prize. The
first time, it's a nice nod of acknowledgement. By the time everyone
except the inanimate carbon rod has got one, there would be very few
people still striving to be the one recognised."

Yes. But. Sometimes you don't always need extraordinary effort in the
long term. You sometimes need ordinary effort in the short term. Going
to your profile example above, you may not need people to make an
extraordinary effort around this. You need a significant number of
people doing just enough. If you look at examples such as von Ahn's ESP
game, it doesn't rely on people being extraordinary,it relies on a lot
of people being mediocre - just engaged enough. Something like the Good
Judgment Project is different again in that it is, in part, a tournament
trying to find people who are extraordinary at something.

"Yes, but the idea is to *make* the behaviours rewarding by adding
an intrinsic reward, ie fun."

1. Why is fun always intrinsic? Fun is personal but that's not the same
as intrinsic. Fun as solving a puzzle for my own satisfaction is
intrinsic. Fun as hearing a friend laugh at my joke isn't.

"If the game activity is not fun in and of itself, you're just replacing
one kind of extrinsic reward with another."

And that's not necessarily a bad thing from an organisation's
perspective if you're replacing an expensive extrinsic reward with a
cheap one. Inputting data is not fun in and of itself, that's why you
need something around it to bring the jollies. Or else you have to pay
someone to interview all the staff and update the profiles - which is

Now going back to your profile example, if you're saying that just
putting a gamification/pointsification layer with extrinsic motivation
isn't sustainable over the long term then I'd probably agree. Which is
why the system has to deliver work-related value to the participants. Or
move towards automation of the boring stuff. You may be lucky enough to
get some people internalising a love for the task you've presented them
but don't count on it. In real life, people play games until they get
bored of them. Then they stop. IMHO you have to prepare for this. The
day may come when people stop caring about your points.

N.B. In general, intrinsic motivation gets me into work. But not every
morning. Frankly, some days, if I wasn't getting paid, I'd go home. That
may make me a terrible human being and I may be alone in that sentiment
but it's true. I need a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to get
me through the week.

BTW One thing that I was keen on in previous roles was not awarding
superior KM engagement with money but with something knowledge-y (a
course, a chance to work on an innovative project, etc). It somehow
seemed more appropriate.

"(PS People aren't the same. Some find achieving on a
leaderboard intrinsically rewarding. Many don't. Just one more
difficulty of this
kind of approach!)"

Another comment I'd probably agree with! And to be fair, also raised by
APQC in their overview.



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