Does Gamification work in a Knowledge Management environment?

I spoke last week on the topic of gamifcation with Andrzej Marczewski ‏(@daverage) and Stephen Dale (@stephendale).  Both have more than a passing interest in this topic:

  • Andrzej is currently ranked the #1 ‘Gamification Guru’ (in a US online poll) who focuses on inter alia User Types, who blogs and publishes the Gamification News;
  • Steve who has a long and distinguished career in Knowledge & Information (and who has chaired Online for a number of years) is interested in how behaviours are influenced by gamification and recently ran a well received workshop for NetIKx ‘#Gamification strategies for incentivising knowledge sharing and engagement:

I first heard Andrzej at Ana Neves’ excellent 2013 Social Now event in Lisboa where many of the presenters described how they’d used gamification techniques. It occured to me then that as communicators and marketers are increasingly using Gamification for engaging with staff and external stakeholders, so why should Knowledge Managers be different?

Fast forward 12 months and Andrzej, Steve and I are talking about whether Gamification might work in a Knowledge Management environment, the topic of Andrzej’s presentation and a joint session I am running with him at this year’s KMUK event on 11th and 12th June which I have the pleasure of co-chairing with David Gurteen.

KMUK Presentations

This session will take a look at the technique through the eyes of one of its leading evangelists and delegates will then have a chance to discuss its potential application in a knowledge management environment. Here’s the ‘blurb’

Gamification: Past, present and future – Andrzej Marczewski

  • a review of the landscape and its evolution
  • a look at current practices and examples
  • how to decide when to apply it
  • identifying and working with different audiences
  • critical success factors
  • where will it be in 5 years time

Gamification in a KM environment – Paul J Corney

Paul will draw on research being undertaken in advance of the conference to lead a group discussion prompted by Andrzej’s presentation to examine:

  • has it caught on in KM – a review of adoption across knowledge workers
  • what are the barriers and how might knowledge workers might overcome them
  • where it can be most effective and with whom?

Seeking gamification examples in a KM environment

Over the next few months Andrzej, Steve and I are going to be trying to identlfy whether examples really do exist and if not why not!  In Steve’s excellent presentation to NetIKx he unearthered a couple of great examples from the world of health including Pain Squad – the App that gamified healthcare in Canada but he struggled to identify KM examples.

Perhaps its because we associate the phrase with technology?

In my book many of the experiential exercises my colleagues at Sparknow and I developed (and are written up elsewhere) such as:

  • A day in the Life
  • Future Story backwards
  • In their shoes

are all examples of gamification – that by doing and experiencing knowledge is shared, people are engaged and behviours shift.

More in the months to come.  Keep watching Andrzej’s excellent site for a chance to participate.


and finally (July 2014)

Here’s the outcomes from the group sessions at KMUK of where KM’ers thought Gamification might work in a KM environment.


4 thoughts on “Does Gamification work in a Knowledge Management environment?

  1. Great post Paul. One interesting anecdote I picked up recently, speaking to someone who works at PwC. They use Jive’s enterprise collaboration platform, which has a gamification module. They award points for blog submissions and comments. I didn’t get to the bottom of how effective this was for encouraging user engagement, or improving the quality of contributions, but apparently they had a near mutiny on their hands when users realised that any points they had accumulated were all zeroed out if they changed roles. I assume this is a glitch with the technology rather than a desire to encourage staff to stay put in the same roles!

    • Interesting observation Steve, Jive are one of the 12 groups presenting their tools at SociaLNow in Amsterdam next week. They were also behind the very good article ‘Working out Loud’ that Simply Communicate ran on the work of John Stepper at Deutsche Bank. Jive was the technology.

    • It’s funny. As much as people moan about the use of points etc, they are often the first to moan when you change the rules about how they earn them. It is very bad juju to remove people’s points though!

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