Improv skills lead to success

Gamification: Defining Business Objectives

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My previous set of posts described elements of gamification (such as meaningful choices and conflict) and how to incorporate them into business and improv. Kevin Werbach and his coauthor Dan Hunter also identify six steps to gamification (For the Win, p. 86), which I think provide an excellent framework for business and theatrical endeavors.

The authors’ six D’s are:

  • Define business objectives
  • Delineate target behaviors
  • Describe your players
  • Devise activity cycles
  • Don’t forget the fun!
  • Deploy the appropriate tools

Defining business objectives seems like an easy step — you want your customers to buy your products or engage your services. In this context, though, you’re thinking about the business objectives for your gamified system. You might want to retain customers or build brand loyalty. These objectives are more general than target behaviors, which are covered in the next item. Improv groups face the same challenges when they try to define their business objectives. Obviously you want to encourage customers to be loyal to your brand, but what other goals do you have? Do you want them to become active consumers of theatre in general?

It’s often tough to distinguish between business objectives and target behaviors, but Werbach and Hunter provide a useful exercise for identifying business objectives. (p. 87) They encourage you to make a list of what you think are your objectives; then, go through the list and cross out anything that’s a means instead of an end. For example, “Build brand loyalty” is an end but “Have visitors view the company’s mission statement” is a means.

Working through this exercise will bring your business objectives into better focus. Plus, if you’re like me and don’t always distinguish between objectives and behaviors on the first pass, you’ll find you’ve identified several target behaviors, too.

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