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We have been calling attention for several years now to the growing interest and success that corporations and companies large and small have be experiencing in regards to serious games. In fact, Designing Digitally, Inc. has been partnering with an expanding number of businesses to produce serious games for their various needs – employee training, employee engagement, sales assistance and marketing, education – and we’re proud of the gamification programs we’re producing for our clients.
Serious games development requires a good deal of research up-front in order to understand the specific audience and industry of each client. There’s also scripting involved to determine the order and flow of the game’s actions and outcomes, graphic design for characters and backgrounds, and coding to make the game function on various IT platforms for all users – which can include mobile-based applications as well. All these tasks and the skillsets to master them come together in a successful serious game, although if we’ve done our job right, the player just has an enjoyable (and productive) digital experience that works towards the goal of the corporate entity that contracted our services.
Many businesses are utilizing serious games today, and we’ve been devoting some blog space to chronicling some of them. Slalom Consulting in Washington State tapped in to the power of gamification in order to improve internal communications and morale, although they had to learn a few things about internal motivation first. As PC Advisor for United Kingdom audiences reported:
“Seattle-based Slalom Consulting had 2,000 employees in offices around the United States. To improve internal communications, the company decided to create a mobile application that would help employees learn the names and faces of their colleagues. To encourage participation, the application included a "leaderboard" showing who had the highest scores, says CEO Brad Jackson.
The tactic backfired. ‘We found that only 5% of the people truly cared about being at the top of the leaderboard,’ he says. The prizes - gift cards - weren't enough, either. ‘What changed for us is when we transformed to teams,’ he says. ‘Whether by organization, or randomly assigned teams, there was a dramatic shift in the engagement of the game. People didn't want to let their team down.’
Participation grew from 5% to 90%, he says, and recognition scores went up from around 45% accuracy to 89%. ‘In an environment where collaboration is so key, we saw some great wins come out of it,’ Jackson says. ‘I saw people getting on more projects they were excited about. Our new employees were called by name. And it's so wonderful when you are recognized when you walk into a company event - it increases career satisfaction.’”
International dermatological laboratory Galderma used some basic gamification to increase its staff’s knowledge of Galderma products as well as to build better team cooperation across its facilities. As the online resource for “decoding the business environment” – Business Digest – reported on Galderma’s success:
“Galderma is an international laboratory for the development and commercialization of dermatological products, which was created as a joint venture between Nestlé and L’Oreal. In 2011, Galderma presented its sales force with a relatively traditional game: players could work individually or in groups to advance their avatar along a path riddled with quizzes and situational role-plays. The purpose of the game was to reinforce staff knowledge of Galderma products, encourage people to share ideas and exchange good practices, and to build team spirit. Game participation was voluntary, but it was popular (nearly 92% of those targeted ended up participating). In the end, the game not only strengthened Galderma’s sales force, it also measurably increased company sales.
Lastly this time around, there’s the rather delightful tale of a chain of restaurants called Not Your Average Joe’s who were approached by a start-up called Objective Logistics regarding their software gamification product, Muse. The game works to track food service workers’ performance, but not in an Orwellian way as much as to help wait staff to improve their own income as well as that of their employers. As covered in the online magazine, Mashable:
“The startup recently raised a $1.5 million round of funding led by Google Ventures and Atlas Venture, and it is beta testing its software, Muse, in a 17-unit chain of restaurants called Not Your Average Joe's. Muse uses data from customer payments, including sales and tips, to track each employee's performance. Employees who perform the best win the shifts they prefer. This simple beta version of the platform, says Objective Logistics co-founder Philip Beauregard, has resulted in a 1.8% increase in sales and an 11% increase in gratuities throughout the Not Your Average Joe’s chain.”
Designing Digitally, Inc. is excited to be in this space in our industry and proud to show our visitors what others are doing to advance Serious Games. It’s a big, wide digital world currently and there’s plenty of work to go around for hard-working, dedicated companies that stay on the cutting-edge of technology and gamification strategy. Please come back and read more of our posts as we cover the exploding world of serious games.