The Game Layer of Incentives (Part 2)

Yesterday, we discussed how Seth Priebatsch's TED talk about games was applicable in an incentive mindset (click here to view the video). We mentioned how two of the dynamics mentioned in the talk - the Appointment Dynamic and Influence and Status - could be used to influence behavior. Today, we pick up where we left off. 

Progression Dynamic

LinkedIn progress barPriebatsch defines this dynamic as one in which success is granularly displayed and measured through the process of itemized tasks. He uses the progress bar of Facebook and LinkedIn as far as filling out a complete profile. It shows how far a user has come in having a complete profile and encourages the user to take the necessary steps to achieve that completion. 

Now let's take a look at an average points-based incentive program. Sticking with the HDTV example from the previous post, Jack wants to earn enough reward points to be able to bring home that prize. Assuming the incentive program has clearly defined goals in place that makes Jack aware of how to earn rewards, he knows which steps he needs to take in order to earn those points. It's not just one large task that makes him eligible for the TV but a series of several tasks, goals, and accomplishments that reward him incrementally over time to help him reach that desired outcome.

Communal Discovery

In the video here, Priebatsch describes this dynamic as one wherein an entire community is rallied to work together to solve a challenge. He uses several examples including one where MIT students were challenged to find hidden balloons across the country - and how this dynamic helped them succeed. Social media is another great example of this and this is mentioned in the talk. Digg is the noted example but even sites like Twitter or even clicking a "Like" button on a blog or webpage is a way that many people help others achieve a goal of finding good web content.

There's not necessarily a "Like" button plug-in on an incentive program but the same principles could be applied. A well-designed incentive program should have an option for a peer-to-peer recognition layer. Part of knowing you are doing a good job or on track for your achievements involves feedback along the way. Using a peer-to-peer form of recognition (allowing employees to award points to one another) is a great crowdsourcing way of getting things done. It gives employees the opportunity for constant feedback on their tasks while rewarding them along the way for participating.

We can learn a TON about modifying behaviors from game experts. Their ability to keep users engaged is what keeps their business successful year after year.

In what other ways do you all see incentives having "game" layers?