It’s of absolutely no concern to me whether or not anyone agrees on what exactly the definition of ‘gamification’ is. My skepticism around the term stems from the narrow view that to ‘gamify’ a process is to simply issue badges and create leaderboards. For me, as an end user, these ‘game mechanics’ while useful, feel like very ‘short-term’, fun fixes which quickly become boring. They are by their very nature, ephemeral.
Personally, if I’m working really hard and excelling at my job, I want two things: recognition and a raise. All of these points need to ultimately take me to a better economic place and get me authentic recognition. Everything else is nice, kinda fun and ultimately short lived. Badges and leaderboards ultimately leave me empty and wanting more.
When we set off to build True Office, we knew that we wanted to focus on one of the most tortuous tasks ever inflicted on the workforce – mandatory compliance training. We wanted to bring the best consumer web experiences (primarily games and mobile apps) to a woefully outdated business process, which is still stuck in the early 80′s.
Moreover, we felt that we were on a dual mission to expose and educate employees on high risk issues and complex ‘grey’ areas, such as insider trading, workplace harassment and even construction site safety.
When we set out to design True Office, we knew that adding an element of entertainment to the mix was critical, but we generally hated most of the’edutainment’ (an exponentially more horrid term than ‘gamification’) products and so called ‘business simulations’ that we’ve ever seen.
So what we did was to really embed real-life stories and juicy narratives into games; in the form of lightweight mobile and browser based apps, which transform the classic tick and flick, 3-ring-binder, lecturing approach of mandatory compliance training. We’re actually able to cover all of the key legal issues through telling great stories and great game mechanics. And we also add testing to the into the mix to boot and make that part of the game (and story), too.
Why we chose to ‘braid’ stories into our game design is simple: engagement and retention is just so much higher when you teach using stories. It’s been happening for centuries. The delivery vehicle – mobile app, bedtime story, campfire – can be practically anything.
While this approach may on the surface seem to be quixotic, we see no better way to help companies reduce risk and to help expose employees to inherently risky and highly complex business issues.
Having fun and adding play to the process is the way to win. And yes, this can include all the legalese and best elements of consumer apps and games out there.
Below is a very short, animated video which tells our story and download the app at True Office.