If you want to manage it, you should gamify it

I’m often asked about what work activities can be gamified.

It turns out that with a bit of imagination you can gamify a lot of different activities.

The game designer Dan Cook posted this set of criteria on his blog-

•    If an activity can be learned…
•    If the player’s performance can be measured…
•    If the player can be rewarded or punished in a timely fashion…
•    Then any activity that meets these criteria can be turned into a game.

Not only can you make a game out of the activity, but you can turn tasks traditionally seen as a rote or frustrating into compelling experiences that users find delightful.

I want to focus here on Dan Cook’s second point, measurement.

Typically in retail, we see measures like sales, margin, inventory, forecasts, staffing, payroll. These are mostly financial and control measures that track store performance – legacy measures that have been generated by the systems and tools that we’ve had for a long time.

On the other hand, lets consider the measurements we have traditionally used to manage store associates. There’s sales, commissions, some productivity standards and attendance, But not much focus on the valuable work that store associates do.  These are the people that we rely on to deliver on the promise of the brand – and we don’t do much in terms of measuring what they really do every day. When you think of it, that limits our ability to effectively manage the thousands of associates who are doing these activities. And it limits associate accountability.

On the positive side, we are now seeing more and more digital tools being put in the hands of associates. This means we have many more opportunities to measure everyday processes. Hand held inventory management tools, task management tools, e-commerce fulfillment tools, mobile pos tools, clientelling tools.

With this new generation of tools, we’re getting much closer to what Dan Cook says, if we can measure it, we can make a game of it.

Which in some ways sounds pretty close to the old adage “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”

And then combining those two ideas, I’m going to make a really bold leap here and suggest:

In today’s workplace, if you want to manage it,
then you should make a game of it.


Think about it. Given Dan Cook’s criteria, what are the processes that associates are doing today in your stores that could be improved using gamification?

(btw, we are currently in development on some innovative tools to track and measure interactions between shoppers and associates – if you want more details, contact us)

Stuart Silverman

About The Author

Stuart Silverman has designed, installed and marketed the full spectrum of systems used to provide competitive edge for retail organizations.


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