Using Gamification to Solve Problems Within Communities

Gamification is the application of game mechanics and game thinking to drive engagement and solve problems.  Earlier this year Gartner, Inc. stated that by 2015 more than 50% of organisations that manage innovation processes will use gamification and that more than 70% of Global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application.

The aim of gamification is to create higher levels of engagement, change behaviours and stimulate innovation.

Gartner identified four principal means of driving engagement using gamification:

1. Accelerated feedback cycles. In the real world, feedback loops are slow (e.g., annual performance appraisals) with long periods between milestones. Gamification increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement.

2. Clear goals and rules of play. In the real world, where goals are fuzzy and rules selectively applied, gamification provides clear goals and well-defined rules of play to ensure players feel empowered to achieve goals.

3. A compelling narrative. While real-world activities are rarely compelling, gamification builds a narrative that engages players to participate and achieve the goals of the activity.

4. Tasks that are challenging but achievable. While there is no shortage of challenges in the real world, they tend to be large and long-term. Gamification provides many short-term, achievable goals to maintain engagement.

By age 21 the average person has spent approximately 10,800 hours in education and 10,000 hours playing computer games. This is a significant number as there is now abundant evidence across a range of abilities that roughly 10,000 hours practice is needed to achieve international levels of performance. One can therefore conclude that the average 21 year old has become a virtuoso gamer.

The systems organisations traditionally employ whether for communication or administration have little or no relevance to the emerging consumer.

Behavioral Economists believe that a range of cognitive biases heavily influence our decisions. These biases include effects such as loss aversion, hyperbolic discounting and the bandwagon effect. At Gametuned we believe that the level of gaming the average young adult has been exposed to has influenced their cognitive biases. People increasingly expect instant feedback, instant gratification, achievable tasks and a “greater purpose” none of which are typically experienced when tackling “real world” problems.

Through the careful application of the same mechanics and dynamics game designers use to make their products engaging gamification helps companies engage with their employees, their customers and the ecosystems around their products and services.

As well as the current generation of gamers (and those to come) it is worth noting that the Entertainment Software Association’s 2011 sales, demographic and usage data for computer games found the average gamer to be 37 years old. 53% of all gamers are aged between 18 and 49 and 42% of gamers are female so the use of gamification has relevance across a large portion of the population.

Emerging Market

The gamification market is in a period of rapid growth with a number of platforms emerging which aim to simplify and automate implementation of a gamification layer to websites and systems.

These platforms enable the design of gamified systems aligned to the capabilities of available platforms effectively minimising the risk of lengthy and expensive project development.

The gamification market will continue to expand rapidly for the next 4-5 years, it is likely to be a somewhat fluid landscape with the larger, well-funded companies seeking to acquire and integrate their smaller competitors. In fact recently the first activity indicating market consolidation was announced with BigDoor Media’s proposed acquisition of OneTrueFan.


Gamification drives engagement through the application of game mechanics such as



Appointment Dynamics

Community Collaboration



Reward schedules

Through the application of these mechanics customers have seen remarkable results. BigDoor Media in a recent announcement stated users of websites utilising the BigDoor Engagement Economy System are

7x more likely to register

3x more likely to return

30% more engaged

Sharing 200% more

Whilst Bunchball (a competing platform) state

Customers using Bunchball’s Nitro solution have seen page views double, pages per visit increase 60%, unique visitors increase 30%, time on site increase 100% and a doubling in repeat monthly visits, leading to an ROI of 400% — with a payback time of as little as 3 months.

Social Gaming For Good

Gaming for Good was an initiative run in April this year by Recyclebank, a company that rewards consumers with coupons and discounts for taking small, everyday green actions in association with Google and ROI Research Inc.

The initiative took the form of an online gamified website called the Green Your Home Challenge where participants visited the site throughout the month to learn how to be more environmentally conscious and to take simple green actions throughout their own homes. Engagement through the month was driven by the sequential opening of rooms in a virtual home on the website.

The project had three main goals

Encourage participants to do their part through small green actions

Increase levels of engagement

Drive new member acquisition

The outcome was extremely positive

Fifty- eight percent of participants surveyed said they are very/extremely likely to take additional green actions in the future as a result of participating in the challenge.

Participants who visit the website at least once a week went from 23.7% to 45.4% (91.6% increase).

71% increase in unique visitors and 42% increase in new members

Even in this highly limited implementation Recyclebank’s Green Your Home Challenge was successful in employing Gamification techniques online to have an impact on offline behavior, specifically the level of eco-friendly activity of participants.


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3 Responses to Using Gamification to Solve Problems Within Communities

  1. Pingback: Gamification and The Greater Good

  2. Great blog! We’re based in the UK and are hoping to encourage social change through the use of gamification. this will manifest itself by using game mechanics to help influence users into taking correct choices in their lives. We’d love to speak to like minded people who are into social change and gamification on our page

  3. Pingback: Using Gamification to Solve Problems Within Communities … | BBGUniverse

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