The difference in impact between running a gamification program and a competition

It often seems a good idea to use Rise simply to run competitions. Of course this makes sense, a leaderboard after all, derives its name and history from its use within competitions. They are designed to answer a single, question, who is winning?

In many cases, such as a Golf tournament, that’s all you really need to know.

However in real life, and in business, it’s not always quite so simple – in many scenarios, more than one player is winning.

Take weight loss for example – if I am hitting my target weight after 6 months of dieting then as far as I am concerned, I am winning. Even if there are others who have lost more weight, or achieved their target weight faster than me, I haven’t lost. In fact we are all winners.

Or, if I show the top 500 players in a certain category, such as social media usage in the United Nations, is there any real meaningful difference between player 1 and player 500? Not really! Both players are successfully using social media to engage a niche audience in their topic. Just because one topic happens to be more popular, so that player has more followers, doesn’t mean it is any more or less important than the other. Both are still winning when it comes to using social media effectively to engage their target audience.

A leaderboard, a ranked list of players with scores, can be used to show not just who is number one but everyone who is playing. It can be positioned as not being a competition but more a way of displaying a list of all the players in an easy to understand order.

How you design your Rise program – whether as a competition or as a gamified performance tracking (GPT) approach matters most, when it comes to the impact you want.

For a competition, your impact is limited to an increase in the desired metrics (you will get more of what you want during a competition).

However with gamification you get much more impact as follows:

  • A- exceed targets in terms of specific metric goals
  • B- engage and retain engagement among employees in the campaign
  • C- build valuable internal experience of using gamified performance tracking to achieve business objectives
  • D- see new healthy habits formed that will continue after the campaign lifetime
So with a competition you get impact A (more metric targets hit) but with gamification you get impacts B,C and D too!
Next time you design your program, think gamification not competition.

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