Synergies in “Gamification” and “Design Thinking” as drivers of motivation?

Employee motivation indisputably is a crucial aspect in a corporate context. There are numerous theories and models about how to create the optimal level of employee motivation.

While many of them to me seem quite trivial, there is one that really grabbed my attention lately – and that’s Gamification.

What is Gamification? If you now think, that it’s putting elements from digital or analog gaming into business – you’re right!

More specifically it means, that you implement typical gaming elements like reward systems, high scores or experience points into an non-gaming environment – like business meetings, goal meeting feedbacks etc.
By doing this, complex, dull or repetitive tasks can be transformed into an actual game in the employees’ heads. That again is able to enhance the individual experience of work, create fun and therefore raise motivation.
Measurable effects of that are proven to be:

– A rise in learning success
– A rise in customer loyalty
– A rise in return on investment
– A rise in quality of data / results
– etc.

While this concept is not brand new, it still is very interesting to me. Especially because it is still more commonly known and implemented in smaller companies and businesses than in multinationals I think. (I could be wrong here though, but my working experience so far supports my these)

Another very interesting concept I would like to talk about now is “Design Thinking“.
Design Thinking does not aim to raise employee motivation in the first place, but uses it to solve different kinds of problems and create ideas with a certain approach.
The approach is divided in six steps:

1. Understand (Understand the problem and why new ideas have to be developed)
2. Observe (Examination of the situation and derivation of first ideas)
3. Synthesis (Prepare to close the gap between current and desired situation)
4. Ideation (Phase of idea and proposal collection)
5. Prototyping / Testing (Test run the developed ideas / measures)
6. Implementing (Final implementation of tested ideas / measures)

The important aspect behind the concept of Design Thinking is, that it features interdisciplinary teams and recognizes individual motivations and needs. The resulting ideas and measures are then tested multiple times before implementation. The name is related to the workflow, designers run through while developing their ideas.

Now why should one consider synergies between those two concepts?

As I mentioned before, the aspect of employee motivation is an inherent part of Design Thinking, yet it does not completely define it. The basis for this needed motivation can be built by implementing gamified elements into business processes. Since Design Thinking is a quite mighty, widely known and used technique its outcomes usually have significant impact on corporate decisions or products. It is therefore wise, to maximize the possible return from Design Thinking by deploying highly motivated employees. One way to do that is, you guessed it, Gamification.

Now one must of course acknowledge, that Gamification is only one of dozens of techniques to keep employee motivation high, but it is a very nice and interesting one, since it’s not that classical. Very standard rewards and benefits like bonuses or extra vacation etc. are good.

But to be honest, everybody likes to play in some way. And creating a more comfortable working environment by making it feel like gaming at least a little bit is special and has potential for a long term rise in motivation.

What do you think about this correlation / synergy and do you have different thoughts on that?

Kind regards

Luca

Picture source:
https://www.google.de/search?q=synergies&client=firefox-b&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7htrWq9LTAhWL6xQKHZZ5CJ4Q_AUICigB&biw=1440&bih=722#imgrc=gE-2UMZIfLaN4M:


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