The risks of doing gamification poorly in social business

Update: 3/24/15 – I renamed this post from “Why gamification is bad for social business” because I think it sends a different message than what this blog post was trying to convey. I believe gamification can be very beneficial for driving change, but heuristics make us all take shortcuts that focuses us on the points, badges and leaderboards.


 

Many believe that introducing gamification to social business systems can and will drive behavior change inside of organizations. Introducing these components will certainly cause many people to act differently, but will the changes be the desired changes, or will they actually make things worse?

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Microsoft’s challenges in Social Business space

Microsoft is no stranger to enterprise. It’s been doing it for over 30 years. But what is a challenge, is Microsoft is a technology company that interfaces primarily with IT. This is the group that traditionally believes their job ends at deployment. Social Business on the other hand is a space where deployment is the easy part. Getting business people to leverage the technology to do things differently is really hard. The limited success of Microsoft Dynamics is one example of what happens when Microsoft tries to interface directly with the business.

In many companies, the relationship between the business and IT is strained at best, but even in companies where the relationship is good, it’s unclear that IT has the expertise or capability to drive social adoption within a company. This is for many reasons:

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You can run, but you cannot hide

Today’s post is a writeup I did for the GIT Society for Information and Communications Technology newsletter which is targeted at information and technology professionals in Austria:

You can run, but you cannot hide

There are changes coming that you cannot avoid. For many, this will change the way we work and will force us to re-evaluate how we share information inside our organizations.

While social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter may or may not be in your future, you may not have a choice but to be “social” inside your organization. Companies are starting to see the advantages of opening up information and allowing it to flow freely. This isn’t appropriate for all information of course, but many topics such as operational excellence, product Q&A and employee communications all benefit from Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) and transparency. This allows people who have an interest in the information to find it easily and leads to things such as increased sales, reduced costs and improved satisfaction.

Having this type of accessible information is essential for competing in a global market where time zones and languages may make collaborating difficult. By having information available, it makes finding things faster and provides better agility allowing organizations to outmaneuver the competition.

Even if your organization does not have an ESN today, there is a high likelihood that you will soon. Many business applications you already use are adding social components to their applications, and platforms like Yammer are already accessible to your workers. By understanding how ESN’s drive change in your organization, you can be prepared for this shift before it happens and ready to leverage it when it does.

Uncertainty of Change

I must admit, it caught me totally off guard. It snuck up on me at the most inopportune time. It was my first call with my new boss. As a result, I didn’t represent myself in a way that I wanted. It  caused me to act out in ways that reminded me of my kids. Yet, I remind myself even more that could be exactly how I make others feel when trying to push change through an organization.

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