Is gamification good for startups?

by Irene Enriquez

Gamification for Startups

When you’re a startup founder, you want to make the most out of your existing resources. After all, you don’t have a lot of time and budget.

You may have heard about gamification and its benefits. However, you’re not sure as to how this strategy applies to your own startup. You might even think that gamification doesn’t belong in startups and that it’s only for large corporations and big, established brands.

But with a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you’ll be able to apply the concepts of gamification on your startup.

Gamification in Startups

There are two ways to use gamification. First, you can use it internally. For instance, you can use it to motivate your small team and increase productivity. Another way to use it is externally: marketing your products to customers or increase engagement with your existing customers.
Gamifying the workplace

So, how can you gamify the workplace? What do you need in order to get started?

Actually, you don’t need to create an app or a software in order to implement gamification with your small team. You can go old school and manually record everything. Or you can use existing tools in place where you could incorporate your gamified system. Free tools like Todoist or Habit RPG might help you in keeping track of the tasks or challenges that your team has completed.

Gamification is not a new concept and is being used by a lot of companies. Call center companies, for example, give away gift certificates and treats when an individual or a team reaches a certain metric or overcomes a challenge. However, most of the time, these games only appeal to extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is when a person is motivated by external rewards such as money or fame,  while intrinsic motivation is when a person does something, say read a book on geology, just for the love of it without expecting an external reward.

Get your gamification on

An effective gamified system, on the other hand, ensures that you both appeal to the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of your employees. There should also enough variety and a number of challenges, so that the player (employee) journey is not only exciting but is brilliantly integrated into the actual work.

How well do you know your team? What motivates them? Are they highly competitive? Maybe there’s a way you could make the competition a little more fun and interesting? Knowing what motivates them is your first step in gamification.

Startups can also use gamification to market their products to potential customers or increase engagement. There are so many areas of the customer experience that you could be infused with gamification. What’s the one thing that you really need in your startup right now? Is it to gain more users on your app? If so, how might you gamify the process of “recruiting” friends to join the app? Gamifying a part of the process doesn’t have to be complicated or even grand. It could be as simple as including a progress bar, rewarding users for asking their friends to join, or even by simply tweeting about the app. In fact, Dropbox uses the simple strategy of rewarding a user with more storage space when they invite their friends to sign up in Dropbox.

Gabe Zichermann, gamification expert and author of the book Game-Based Marketing , believes that “gamification is a core offering for the enterprise.” He added, “Today it’s a tactic but over the next couple of years it’s going to be a core feature set for enterprises driven by the consumerization of IT.”

Whether his predictions are right or wrong, it wouldn’t hurt to start exploring the world of gamification. Who knows, it might actually be the very thing you need in order to get your startup to the next level.