Improv skills lead to success

Gamification: Delineating Target Behaviors

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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. My previous post covered defining business objectives. In this post, I’ll talk about delineating target behaviors.

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 is the most abstract element of the process, in the sense that the results (increase attendance or driving more visitors to your site) are long-range goals that  result from other efforts. Delineating target behaviors means identifying the specific actions you want your players to take. For example, you might want your players to fill in their profiles completely, perhaps showing a progress bar like the one LinkedIn uses. You can also reward behaviors such as inviting one’s friends to join a site, making purchases, and attending events.

In an improv context, you should think about what you want your audience members to do. Of course you want them to attend your shows and tell their friends how brilliant and funny you are, but you should also focus on what you want them to do during the show. For example, how do you get suggestions, and how does the process affect the suggestions you get? How do you reward audience members for following your instructions, and how do you correct them if they don’t?

Businesses of all types, whether manufacturing, web services, or theaters, must structure their offerings to get the desired responses from their customers. It helps to know what those responses are.

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