Welcome to the Behavior Lab

Badgeville's Behavior Lab is the industry's first Behavior Management center of excellence. Led by industry veteran Steve Sims, the Behavior Lab brings together a unique union of Game Design, Psychology, Loyalty, Learning, Social and Analytics expertise. The Behavior Lab puts Badgeville at the forefront of defining Behavior Management Research, Innovation, Methods and Practices.

A common use case we at Badgeville encounter is employee training. Often training exists in a gray area between job requirements and employee initiative; management wants them to take the training and employees know that if they do they’ll probably be better at their jobs but they’re still not terribly motivated to take it.
So, what’s the best way to motivate employees to take their training courses?
The answer to this question depends on the type of training you need your employees to engage in.
In a past job, I had a tendency to employ exaggeration to make a point. One day my manager cornered me on a minor technicality. Apparently I’d been heard claiming our users were brilliant on one occasion, and that they were idiots on another. So which one is it, he wanted to know. 
Rather than feel guilt or embarrassment, I was thrilled, because it was actually a very profound question, and it revealed a truth I’d never directly acknowledged. In the world of product usability, the same user can be both a genius and an idiot, at the same time.
When Facebook first introduced me to the concept of ‘likes’, I thought it was stupid. Who cares? I didn’t see the long-term appeal. It turns out I was wrong. The ‘like’ is now so iconic of Facebook, they put it on the billboard in front of their headquarters, a consistent reminder that I have to drive past twice a day.
Late last month, I presented at the Gartner CIO Summit in Phoenix, AZ, and was posed with a unique challenge: to describe gamification, the psychology and practice of it, to a room full of CIOs, without any of the standard slideware and props. 
An essential component of behavior theory is motivation. Motivation is both the most elusive and the most valuable piece of the puzzle. User interface can manage communicating how to interact and notifications or messages can prompt when to interact. But even with the best interface in the world, if a user doesn’t want to interact, he’s not going to do it.
Someone recently asked me, “Does gamification work for everyone? I have an enterprise customer and they’re concerned with how their older demographic would react to a gamified program. What are your thoughts on this?”
In my mind, there are basically two reasons why age is not as big an issue with gamification as people seem to make of it.
At Badgeville, we are often asked about gamification in the workplace. Does it work? What are the pitfalls? Is it fair? Can it be too punitive? Can it be counter productive?
To start with the obvious: people are measured for their performance at work. It’s a fact of life. Regardless of your job, employers have measured aspects of people’s work since the beginning of time, and it’s happening now with or without gamification.
Gartner has renewed their prediction that 80% of gamification implementations will fail. This may seem a dire prediction, but there are many ways to prevent your program from being part of the statistic. In fact, if everyone followed the advice below, I’m sure the prediction would go from an 80% failure, to an 80% success.

Gamification success comes in two parts:

-Building the right gamification program
-Maintaining the program
Evolving your gamified program is extremely important, for as I stated in part one of this series, gamification is not a one and done solution. You must continuously tweak your program to find out what works and what doesn’t, and make changes accordingly. In the second part of the series, I want to discuss content creation and expansion, and how to navigate both in order to sustain a successful gamification program.
You might already know that gamification and behavior management are a process and not a project. But what exactly does that mean? What kind of effort can you expect six, or even twelve, months down the line? In this two part series, I’ll break down the process for you.