'Serious gamification'

Game designers, business executives and academics were brought together for a conference hosted by Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) to discuss the opportunities of applying gaming techniques to a number of sectors.The website captures some of the outputs of the conference and also features transcripts of conversations between some of the key speakers as they discuss their own experiences and consider the implication of gamification to all types of organisations.Although gamification is not the same as gaming, it does take some key elements from it.  Organisations are looking to enhance online experiences and to encourage certain types of behaviour, whether this be making a purchase, taking out or renewing a subscription, clicking on a link or simply returning to the site more frequently.According to one of the speakers Rajat Paharia (founder of Bunchball), gamification is not particularly generational and should not be thought of as something of interest only to 'generations X/Y'.  Other speakers agreed.  Gamification can address a number of human needs including the desire for self expression, or competition, or status or even altruism.  The key for organisations is to understand the complexities of motivation.Gamification can also be used to motivate people inside an organisation just as much as it can be used to engage customers and potential customers.  One of the speakers was Daniel Debow from Rypple which uses social gaming techniques in its performance management system.The non-profit organisation HopeLab is using gamification to tackle teen obesity in the US and there are other examples of gamification being used to educate and involve children.You can read more about the conference, including the key themes of individual sessions here.