The House always wins! Gamification principles at work.

We all like to play games with friends or relatives, but do we even play games at work? We have heard about war games, or political games, but even the small talk at the water cooler is a small game. Some rules of this game are described in the new buzz word Gamification. Maybe this is all about social media, but I think we can learn from their funny principles. 

Gamification means ‘Integrating game dynamics into your site, service, community, content or campaign, in order to drive participation.’. Gabe Zicherman wrote a book about it called Game Based Marketing. How can you drive customer participation and engagement by gaming principles?  So for instance, using a game environment like Farmville to sell more books. People gain status by virtual rewards, and engaging with their friends.


What I liked most in this video in my search for the game of Innovation was:

The game always favours its creator.
The house always wins.
So… be the house, or be played.

I recognize this as an executive trainer in the games that people play at work like ‘Negotiating’ or ‘Being a Manager’. The person who understands best what game is played has the biggest chance of winning. Personally I don’t like to call this winning, because this suggests that the other person will lose, but you could say that the goal of this person is best served.

I believe that you could interpret most interpersonal situations as a game. There is a goal, rules, players, framework, etc. But most people don’t know their goal (or thye think they know, but is really vague), and understand the game played even less. I had for example a practitioner who wanted to give an employee a warning. I suggested that he could try it on me. He knew that he wanted something to change but didn’t know exactly what, and that he gave me a lot of space to make the situation even worse. The house always wins… I won. He could have been the house if he knew what he wanted, and that the game was called ‘who manages this department’.

Find out what kind of player you are by the Bartle’s Player typology, and know that 80% ends up as a socializer. I don’t know if that is helpful I must admit.


2 comments on “The House always wins! Gamification principles at work.

  1. My early career as a toy store game consultant gives me enough evidence and game time to position myself in Bartle’s player typology. I was definitely an explorer of games. But I moved on. Computer games have little attraction to me these days. Having mastered the ultimate complexity of more than a few video games, most commercial games ended up feeling like a time drain. I am part of the socializer quadrant these days. Video game burn out?

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