Making Enterprise Gamification Work – Part 1: Get the definition of enterprise gamification correct

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You would have looked at the definition of gamification if you are responsible for implementing gamification in your enterprise systems. Chances are, more often than not, you would have come across a definition that reads like the one below:

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems.[1][2][3] Gamification is used in applications and processes to improve user engagementreturn on investmentdata qualitytimeliness, and learning.[4]


As a person who will be implementing gamification, you will be required to give a 1-2 line pitch of what gamification is to people who may not know what it is. Now, you will have few choices to make:

  • Use the above definition to explain what is gamification and then be prepared for questions & responses like “games”… “what games” “….oh you mean create games” and so on or even looks which convey “.. that went over my head” .. i don’t understand a word of what you just said…”.
  • After your experiences with above definition, you will quickly fall back to using terms like ‘adding badges, levels, awards to systems’ . This will be a sure shot way to trivialize the impact of gamification even before you embark on the journey.

The above definition may work or make sense to people implementing gamification in consumer facing applications, research scholars, academia but there is very little chance of the above getting traction in an enterprise context. The reality is that people either can’t understand the connection between terms like games (or terms like game-mechanics) to serious enterprise work  or they will equate it to something trivial.

In case of enterprise gamification, the envelope containing the message is as important as the message itself. As they say, the first impressions/perceptions of many things can make or break initiatives. Your choice of definition on what gamification means is one of those.


5 takeaways from the Social India Conference and Suggestions for the next Social India Conference

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It’s been a week since the first Social India conference (held on the 12th – 13th November  2011 @ Bangalore ) concluded and I am pretty late in writing my thoughts on this. So, I will not bother with what happened at the conference. For that, I suggest you read the awesome summaries penned down by fellow participants & bloggers here:

Overall, it was a very nice experience for me and I look forward to the next one. I really met some nice people in person, some great fellows online and hope to continue interacting with them. What I am sharing here is 5 key takeaways from the Social India conference and few suggestions for the next one

  1. Every organization (or for that matter, even individuals), regardless of size, nature, scope, location etc can make use of Social Media. This is aptly demonstrated by the fact that AkshayPatra, a NGO which enables hunger free education to 1.3 million children in India, was the organization behind the event. They did a superb job of lining up great speakers, logistics, venue and AWESOME food. The fact today is that Social Media can’t be ignored and just as internet/e-commerce changed things for good a decade & half ago, Social Media is doing it now.
  2. Organizations need to go beyond just using facebook/twitter to effectively use Social Media. True listening, humanized approach, conversations & engagement with stakeholders is what makes an organization social — Not many organizations realize that there is a difference between using Social Media & being a Socially enabled organization.
  3. We are still in early days of Social Media and no one has clue to where this will lead to. However the best way is to be part of the journey rather than be a bystander and watch the world go by. In most organizations (which later became showcase case studies of Social) the journey started almost by accident and not necessarily by design. Someone then picked that experiment and nurtured it, make it legitimate and brought it to business center stage. We are still in the education & awareness phase of our Social Media journey and this I say because almost all speakers had a 101/why Social Media is important component part of their talks and almost all had case studies on facebook campaigns etc. None actually pushed the boundary and had really thought provoking stuff to talk about.
  4. Social Media RoI is still a hazy & murky area with the jury still out on how best to measure it or what to do next with the 2 million fans you have on your facebook page. There are several theories out there on what to measure, how to measure, what to report, what to watch for etc but all these are still fuzzy with little acceptance from the bean counters existing on organizations
  5. There is a HUGE disconnect between Social Media initiatives of an organization for their external needs & how they use it internally and integrate it with rest of the organization. This is also evident by the fact that almost none of the speakers touched upon the finer aspects of usage of Social media within the organization and examples of these. Even integration of Social Media initiatives with other internal business processes, systems etc is something that organizations are not thinking of as yet. I am sure in years to come that will be the #1 driving force.

Now coming to suggestions for next year conference:

  1. We had a good mix of local, national & international speakers. Please do continue that part. Maybe include the participants in suggesting the topics for sessions and the speakers can pick those topics.
  2. Can we have a mix of user generated sessions — a.l.a unconference sessions. Say breakout sessions for 1.5 hours after lunch each day where participants themselves can come up with sessions & be the speakers etc.
  3. Do have more speakers, handling Social Media within corporates, who can share their experience of what it takes to implement social Media initiatives, can speak of their relationships with Digital media agencies, what they expect from agencies, where do the agencies fall short, How they handle RoI, what questions get asked to them internally. Basically, stories from people implementing Social Media within organizations. (We did have Shauna Cassey from nordstorm talk about SM initiatives internally but would be good to get Indian Perspective also)
  4. Have speakers push the boundary by talking not just 101 but 301 topics also like integration, sophisticated RoI models which go beyond just the case studies by Social Media Agencies of organizations having facebook & twitter campaigns

So, what were your takeways from the Social India conference & what will be your suggestions to make the experience even better next time around?

Why organizations need 2 different Social Media Policies

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Dion made an excellent blog post on the subject of connecting employees to social media where he elaborates the need for a comprehensive social media policy. I agree with his thoughts on this subject and firmly believe that organizations, who want to start their journey towards social enablement need to critically think on the SM policy that they need to create. Starting the SM journey without a sound SM policy is like driving on a road with no defined destination.

While most SM efforts are targeted towards the enterprise engaging in & leveraging external social channels, I firmly believe that organizations need to be socially enabled internally and then only they can be truly socially engaged externally. Going forward, it just can’t be let to a select group of people (in marketing, sales, customer service) to be socially enabled externally without they tapping into the internal social enabled enterprise.

Towards this, I think that the dynamics, context & implementation nuances within the enterprise are different from the external landscape and hence there is a need for a differentiated internal & external SM policy. This doesn’t mean that they differ at the concept level but just the implementations, rules of engagement could differ and clearly articulating it though separate SM policies would reduce confusion & give greater clarity.

For example, the external policy could have rules of engagement in external channels, do’s & don’ts, workflows, roles & authorizations, NDA’s etc aspects covered; while the internal policy could focus on tying internal social initiatives with work, collaboration, KRA’s, objectives, culture, rewards, acceptable norms of engagement, IP etc.

What do you think? do you also think there is a need for separate internal/external SM policies or just one will do? What’s been your experience?

Trying to Cross-Sell | Standard Chartered Bank seems clueless and baits with misleading information

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There is no criminal offence against organizations trying to cross-sell & up-sell to their customers. In fact, that is desired and if it can be done correctly & effectively, it can be a win-win situation for both the customer & the organization.

Here is an example of an attempt by Standard Chartered Bank, trying to cross-sell a loan to me, gone horribly wrong. Infact it makes you wonder, what were people @ Standard Chartered Bank smoking when they did this 🙂

I am a credit card customer with  Standard Chartered bank and one fine day, after logging in, I see a customized message saying”I have been pre-selected for a loan of up-to 6 lacs“.

I wonder how did the bank determine all this and am curious about finding this out. I want to know what does ‘pre-selected’ mean. I want to find out what is special about this offer from the bank to me

I want to try this and hence give it a go and use ‘click to apply’

This is where I get a shock. At first I wonder if I have clicked on the wrong link. I go back and click again. No luck. It is still the same page where I am being asked to fill in every detail of mine again.

How come? Wait a minute, wasn’t I pre-selected for the loan?

Then it strikes that this is nothing but a very shoddy attempt by the bank at cross-selling.  Infact this is nothing but an online version of ‘baiting’ with misleading information and if I may say done purposefully.

Infact, there is nothing ‘pre-selected’ about this whole thing. This is almost a scam for me — from an ethical sense.

Believe me, Standared Chartered Bank can do better with all the info it already had about me.

What do you think? Is the bank being ethical in trying to cross-sell by baiting customers with misleading information?

Have you come across attempts at cross-selling gone horribly wrong? Do share..

Crowd-sourcing the Brand Identity itself

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Crowd sourcing has been a viable option with a philosophy of ‘a million heads are better than few’, ‘the expertise lies outside of the organization also’, ‘ time taken to design & create products can be reduced ‘

Mostly, organizations have created platforms and avenues where their customers or general public can engage with the organization and give product ideas, help in co-product creation and become part of customer-networks. Some examples of such crowd-sourcing platforms & initiatives are:

Recently, one organization pushed the envelope of crowd sourcing by soliciting ideas & concepts for it’s band identity (logo) from the public. Happiest Minds, a young IT Services start-up, opened up the contest by asking people to submit logo for it’s business. The brief was that the logo should depict the Happiest Minds philosophy, vision, & essence of Happiest People leading to Happiest Customers.

As part of the crowd sourcing contest,  nearly 1400 entries were received and out of these 150 were shortlisted and again, crowd sourcing was done to short list these 150 entries to 25 entries. The public was asked to vote for the design they felt most accurately captured the vision of Happiest Minds. These 25 entries were then evaluated by a jury and 5 were shortlisted for final round.

The logo,  created by Jemin Shingala, was selected as the winner and best reflected Happiest Mind’s business philosophy. The logo was was modified by Shristi School of Design and was unveiled on the day of the launch of the Happiest Mind’s.

No wonder, this experiment proves that in today’s socially connected world, crowd sourcing can be a viable option to get tangible & concrete output — in any possible area. The only challenge  is in being bold and open to make innovative uses of crowd sourcing.

Read the article here for more details:

Search Google for this crowd sourcing experiment: