It was a hot summer day and our teenagers and their friends were playing in our pool. As I observed them, I grasped how video games have affected how they speak and play. I heard Ben tell someone that they had ‘lost a life’. Kaden issued a challenge and the task was called a ‘mission’ and lack of success was a ‘fail’. An effective flip was referred to as ‘a sick combo’ and earned someone a ‘level-up’.
As a trendwatcher, I like to keep the pulse on trends which are going to change the way we live. Gamification is one of these trends. The communication in our swimming pool, a domain I once believed to be a video-game free zone, demonstrates how video gaming has also crept into our mainstream lives.
Gamification is “…the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”. Practically, we are seeing this concept creep into things such as exercise (review a recent Apple fitness ad), learning (engage in brain games at lumosity.com) or staff training (see how Deloitte Consulting is using it to teach). Those of us who are Starbucks reward card holders see elements of gamification in the way they award badges or accomplishments after the completion of certain tasks (first on-line purchase, gold star status, or sending an e-gift).
As I monitor trends, I set signposts as a means to monitor how a trend is progressing. Like roadside mileage markers, the more frequently you see these signposts, the faster the trend is developing (or diminishing). Here are a few signposts to monitor as you observe the trend of gamification.
New trends are always accompanied by both advantages and disadvantages. Strategic organizations learn to leverage the advantages. Gamification will provide many opportunities which will help organizations to achieve their mission in fresh ways.
© Dilbet - http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2013-05-19/
 Gamification. Wikipedia.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification