Wayfinding and city signage
Government gamification
Game is at the root of gamification. So, to gamify something is to simply make it more fun and engaging. In terms of the workplace, gamification involves the use of gaming elements to tackle serious projects with a little fun.  Some gamification activities to inspire a little creativity come in the form of levels and leaderboards, challenges and progress bars and maybe even some virtual currency.Sounds like all play and no work, right? Actually, the private sector has seen remarkable productivity outcomes as a result of gamification efforts. In fact, it’s been linked to increased productivity, better performance and more engagement. A recent Gartner report forecasts that by 2014, more than 70 percent of the top 2,000 public organizations will have at least one gamification application. So, why not apply these same practices to government?

Ultimately, gamification is positive reinforcement, which works well to promote desirable behavior. But how do you make the jump to gamification? Well, how about establishing something as simple as a reward system? Consider a system similar to that used by Foursquare®, where points or badges are awarded in return for the successful completion of certain tasks. Another example worth taking a closer look at is slightly more complex: NASA recently unveiled a complete gaming website called Planet Hunters to promote and educate citizens about the discovery of new planets. NASA also tried to make learning fun through a gaming app on Facebook® called Space Age Blastoff in which they use interactive games to teach the public about the history of NASA and the research they are conducting.

Whether it’s simple, complex or somewhere in between, gamification may be the answer to a new and improved administration. Here are some ideas on how you can apply gamification to your workplace:

Reward employees for a job well done
Reward employees for doing their jobs better and you create a win-win situation for all. Take government call centers for example – employees may be rated based on their level of customer service, efficiency and accuracy. Implement a reward system so that, for every positive rating received in these categories, employees receive a wooden nickel which can be accumulated and cashed in for gifts such as a combo MP3/USB, rechargeable MP3 speakers or a drawing for a free vacation day.

Gamify employee training and reviews
The use of instant rewards when training or evaluating employees can put a little excitement into the mundane, while encouraging progress. Take the Armed Forces or Boy and Girl Scouts for example: Badges are received in recognition of achieving new skills. Once an individual collects so many badges, they advance to the next level. Boost morale and encourage desirable behaviors by applying this principle to your training and review processes. Consider offering rewards like recognition badges, plaques, bonuses or promotions for the successful demonstration of new ablilities.

Encourage teamwork and collaboration
Rethink groupthink and foster independent thinkers to speak up and share their ideas with gamification principles. The use of leaderboards to showcase top contributors of valuable, relevant information can be an effective way to impute status to these forward thinkers in your departments. Enter top performers into frequent drawings for tangible rewards such as stainless sports bottles or padfolios. A little competition can go a long way.

Applying gamification principles to government doesn’t have to be complex and technical. Putting the focus on positive reinforcement for a job well done may be all it takes to bring your team to the next level.

Cairns, Chris. “Could Products like Badgeville Be Used for Government Gamification?” – GovLoop. N.p., 6 Aug. 2012. Web. 21 Sept. 2012.

Tuutti, Camille. “Government Looks to Gamification to Solve Business Problems — Federal Computer Week.” Government Looks to Gamification to Solve Business Problems — Federal Computer Week. N.p., 30 Apr. 2012. Web. 21 Sept. 2012.

Eridon, Corey. “Inbound Internet Marketing Blog.” How Real Businesses Are Using Gamification to Spice Up Their Marketing. N.p., 20 Sept. 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2012.

Thomler, Craig. “EGov AU.” : When Will We See Gamification in Government? N.p., 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2012.

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