Engaging employees and encouraging them to share ideas isn’t child’s play – normally. However, EDF Energy executives decided that if they wanted to encourage ideas from all corners of the company, they would have to ‘play the game’.

According to an article in the Financial Times*, the company engaged consultants to “Build a gamified platform designed to “crowdsource” ideas and inject the process of contributing with a sense of fun and competition.” Just like in an online game, participants were awarded points for taking part and could vote for their favourite ideas. The ‘game’ then moved into the realms of reality as the contributors of the top five ideas could present them in person to a panel of senior executives. It obviously worked well for EDF, with over 92% of its workforce actively participating, resulting in 117 new ideas.

Vehicle management company LeasePlan UK took the ideas one stage further, theming their gamification of the process of familiarising staff with a new CRM system with the 2014 football season. Sales executives competed for a place on the virtual leaderboard as well as more tangible rewards such as champagne.

These companies are not alone in using gamification to increase engagement and co-creation amongst staff. As early as November 2012, Gartner predicted that “By 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organisations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.” Whilst we don’t think that’s quite come to fruition (yet), gamification is finding its way into the practices and innovation methodology of UK companies. But what exactly constitutes gamification?

In her ebook “Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software”**, Janika Kumar discusses best practices and warns against “chocolate covered broccoli’, the process of adding points or badges to any application and claiming it has been gamified. Instead, she lays out a design guide of the principles of gamification that places the player at the centre of the process.

At TalkFreely, we fully agree with that approach. We build ‘gamification’ into every employee co-creation and idea management platform we build for our clients. As a result, our platform looks and feels familiar, mixing the informality of social media groups and the enjoyment of game-style rewards with a rigorous back-end system to encourage co-creation and to progress ideas from submission to delivery. It’s interactive, rewarding, and like all the best games, challenging. Most of all, it’s an enjoyable a way to share, cooperate, co-create and develop ideas with other workers that seems more free, more natural and more rewarding overall.

If you’re interested in gamification theory, the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University offers a one day course in “gamification theory, design and practical applications in business practise”.***

Or call us here at TalkFreely, and we’ll talk you through the whole process of making business co-creation a game everyone wants to play.

*  Financial times article 
**  “Gamification at work” 
***  Serious Games Institute