The risks of doing gamification poorly in social business

Update: 3/24/15 – I renamed this post from “Why gamification is bad for social business” because I think it sends a different message than what this blog post was trying to convey. I believe gamification can be very beneficial for driving change, but heuristics make us all take shortcuts that focuses us on the points, badges and leaderboards.


Many believe that introducing gamification to social business systems can and will drive behavior change inside of organizations. Introducing these components will certainly cause many people to act differently, but will the changes be the desired changes, or will they actually make things worse?

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Groupthink: The company ‘A-Hole’ and why you need one

I’m sure you all know one. That person that’s always trying to poke holes in your work, the one that never seems to be satisfied, the one that you get frustrated with because it seems like things are never good enough to escape their critique. Well, believe it or not, this person is a very important role inside of your company and more importantly inside your social networks to avoid a phenomenon called “Groupthink”.  Groupthink is a mode that a group of people gets into when they desire harmony in decision making without a realistic appraisal of alternatives and where there is a desire to minimize conflict.

Sure, we all want harmony in decision making, that makes our jobs easier, but does it give us the best decision? Most likely not. Let’s face it, how many times have we been in the situation where we know what we’re doing isn’t right, but the effort required is just too great considering your workload or the political cost?  When you add a boss’s opinion to the mix, the chance that the group will align with his/her opinion is very high, despite the fact that it could possibly be the worst possible approach.

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The loss of in-person communication skills

I was at my local climbing gym last night, and saw something disturbing. A mother and daughter next to each other, each with their noses buried in their smart devices, totally ignoring each other. This went on for over 2hrs. While this isn’t breaking news, I am dismayed by what seems to be  happening to us. Are we eventually going to lose our ability and desire to communicate in person? To entertain each other when bored?

Do you whip out your smartphone in the middle of a conversation without even thinking about it? It would seem to send the message:

You’re really not worth my attention, so instead I’ll focus on someone/something that is.

Are we sending the wrong message to our kids?

We seem to prefer our connections over our relationships.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my smartphone, but I have to wonder what it’s doing to me as well.

Is this just normal evolution, or are we choosing a path that will have longer term impacts on our future?

The Collaboration Heuristic

I recently have been listing to On Second Thought: Outsmarting your minds Hard-wired habits by Wray Herbert where he talks a lot about why we tend to do things out of habit (and perhaps how to change those habits). I highly recommend the book as it has given me great insight into why people do what they do. I wanted to perhaps apply some of that to social media, social business and Enterprise 2.0. As I mentioned in my earlier post Information Overload is an excuse, it’s not really about the information, it’s about our attention and the actions we take to manage it. I want to introduce a new heuristic called: The Collaboration Heuristic.

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Is Social Compensation in your future?’ve been watching Robert Scoble’s (@Scobleizer) coverage of the Enterprise Social Networking space, and am intrigued by one of his views that has been brought up at least twice recently (Yammer interview, Convofy interview). Robert believes someday (soon?) we’ll be compensated based on our contributions to the company’s enterprise social network (ESN). What’s not clear is exactly what that means. Does it mean our bonus will be calculated based on value we create? Is participation compulsory? Will we be judged solely based on our contributions? I believe there are many challenges and risks that must be dealt with before this type of compensation model is considered.

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Arrogance: The 2.0 Killer

Let’s face it, most of us disdain arrogance, yet some of us practice this unbecoming behavior unintentionally. In this very competitive world, it is very difficult to exude confidence to make people believe in you without sounding arrogant, but yet that challenge is what each of us must consider when managing our brands.

As brand fanatics, we align ourselves to certain brands in both our personal and professional lives. How would you feel if that trusted brand started trying to make itself look good by putting the competition down or embarrassing you? Would you still be a brand fanatic? For how long?

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The Yin and Yang of Enterprise 2.0

I can’t speak for you, but in my company, there’s the constant debate about tools and behaviors. The leadership says we need to change behaviors, but the users usually say that we need better tools. Who’s right? They both are of course. While each point of view has merit, neither works independently without the other. It is by providing easy to use tools in a delicate balance of introducing and demonstrating new behaviors that Enterprise 2.0 really takes off.

Let’s take the typical IT View and only introduce a tool. Commonly called “Build it and they will come” model. Will they really come? Sometimes yes, more often no. People generally don’t have the time in their schedules to experiment on new platforms and figure out how to integrate them into their daily work-flow and still meet the demands of the corporate world.

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