What was once wishful business thinking is now a reality thanks to innovations in technology. Social technologies have and continue to completely change the way we operate and do business. So the big question is how do companies ensure these technology-enabled ideas become an ingrained part of their operating model?

Businesses are always re-thinking and re-shaping their operations, trying to come up with the next model to help them achieve strategic goals.

Today’s ‘digital revolution’ enables innovative thinking and provides a huge opportunity for businesses to re-think the way they operate. Sadly, the reality is that the majority of businesses don’t commit to these new ideas and the opportunity to take their operating models to the next level is lost.

Businesses must understand the opportunities that are out there to integrate new technologies into their operating models. More importantly, to ensure future success, they must find a way to ensure they never miss out on these opportunities again.

Gamification is a great example of how new technologies enable a company to incorporate innovative thinking into its core model.

The concept of gamification is simple: create an environment where people can compete against each other to get the highest score. In a business setting, it’s about driving specific behaviours. If you can submit your report on time, you get a point. If you submit your report on time more often than your colleague, you get more points. If you score the most points, you get rewards. Replace the employee or report with a customer and you can create a ‘gamified’ customer environment and award points for writing product comments or ratings for example.

Social technology has meant gamification can be incorporated into a company’s operational fabric. With social networking used in and out of the office and business processes and customer interactions becoming increasingly digital, creating a truly gamified environment is within the grasp of any business. Every action can be tracked and every person can be rewarded as if playing a game.

The behavioural impacts can be huge. It can move an organisation or customer from simple interactions and basic compliance (just getting something done) to highly engaged and progressive (figuring out how to get it done faster and smarter).

Gamification is real and has been practically applied in many industries. Some real applications of gamification success across customer engagement, learning and development and crowd-sourced innovation are:

1: GymPact used Gamification to drive increased customer engagement

Customer engagement
Engage customers by providing a platform on which they can interact with your brand and wider products
GymPactPact app – a motivational healthy living app where individuals can set themselves goals. They will either get fined for not achieving them or rewarded when they are achieved. The rewards they can get come from the fines received by others in the community.
  • A new and different way to motivate people to maintain their fitness goals, helping customers achieve higher levels of health and wellbeing
  • It has logged 5.2 million workouts since it was launched in 2012.
  • It has a 92% success rate of people completing goals set over a specified time period. They have over 10,000 likes on their Facebook page

2: AstraZeneca improved the learning experience for employees through deploying Gamification

Learning & Development
Engage customers by providing a platform on which they can interact with your brand and wider products
AstraZeneca developed a game-based learning solution used to teach agents about a new medicine.
  • A new and engaging way for employees to learn. Agents earn points by answering questions and playing different mini-games focused on the features of a new product, to reach an official launch event.
  • 500 agents were trained at low cost.
  • The learning platform achieved 97% usage rates, with most agents using the platform out of work hours.

3: DWP spurred on innovation through developing a platform based on Gamification principles

‘Crowd-sourced’ ideas
Motivate employees, through a form of recognition, to create, capture, and contribute ideas to discussion forums. Drive business development, solve problems and champion new ideas
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)Decentralised innovation in order to generate ideas from its 120,000 employees.
  • A social collaboration platform for individuals to contribute ideas. To motivate people, it tracks points, ranks users on a leadership board and engages contributors by using a ‘buzz index’.
  • Within 18 months, there were over 4,000 users, contributing to a total of 1,400 ideas.
  • 63 ideas have been implemented.


Successfully incorporating ideas like gamification into your operating model requires several commitments.

  1. Innovation must be set as a strategic objective in the overall business strategy as well as embedded into operational strategy and the operating model design process.  If not, new ideas will be dismissed and opportunities lost.
  2. The exploration of new and innovative technologies must be mandatory. Exploring new technologies, beyond the context of “finding the right tool” has to be part of developing any operating strategy. If the design process has traditionally developed incremental options, then force an innovative, technology-driven option.
  3. Opposition to innovation must be addressed head on.  Don’t just up-skill people, bring them into the digital revolution and show them how simple (and fun) it is.

Without these commitments, implementing or even exploring new ideas and technologies will be difficult. Gamification works, new technologies work and new innovative operating models work.  Commit to it and make sure digitally enabled, innovative thinking is at the heart of your new operating model.

In the second post of this series, we aim to explore how to overcome the challenges of embedding Gamification principles in your organisation. We will consider:

  • Aligning game mechanics to business strategy
  • Challenges that need to be addressed in order to implement Gamification successfully
  • Key success factors and benefits of Gamification

Until then…