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Gamification of Lessons Learned (part 2)

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Last time we covered the first three gamification cores to improve Lessons Learned Systems:

Core 1: Epic Calling and Meaning.

Core 2: Development and Accomplishment.

Core 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback.

Our article can be found here: Gamification of lessons Learned (Part one). Today we'll be covering the next three cores from the book "Actionable Gamification" by Yu-Kai Chou.

Core 4: Ownership and Possession

Core 5: Social Influence and Relatedness

Core 6: Scarcity and Impatience

Every core we cover always flows back to the original reason for using gamification to improve lessons learned - to give personnel in the field the desire to review past incidents without hating the process. Gamification or "human-centered design" is applying fun and engaging elements found in the real world and putting them into systems that humans use. We have found that most lessons databases are function-centered design, which makes reviewing incidents and learning less fun and engaging than it could be. Although from a function stand-point they are great, enjoying it is far from the truth.

Onto the next three cores:

Core 4: Ownership and Possession.

Ownership and possession are focused on letting a user feel in control of something. When they can own, improve, protect, or obtain more of something, that is when we feel an amount of connection. When we feel ownership, we feel more attached to whatever it is that we're doing.

We can use this in our Lessons Learned applications; allow your users to choose their own goals to commit to, reviewing one incident per day or ten, writing one incident per week or one per month. Other examples include allowing users to build an avatar, earn badges, trophies, or titles and achievements. There are tons of ways to do this, but many companies believe that adding these elements randomly works, and wonder why it utterly fails. Careful thought must go into making the user feel like they have earned whatever prize it is that you're giving them, otherwise they feel it is worthless and have no feelings of possession.

Core 5: Social Influence and Relatedness

Humans are social beings, one of our desires is to be in community to connect and compare to one another. If you are able to create a community around whatever process you're improving you can begin to gain some real steam from users. Some users will want to compare, and we can add leaderboards for who is "winning", either by reviewing the most incidents, or writing the best ones. Be careful with random leaderboards though, we always suggest a reset time, if a new user joins and realizes they'll never be at the top it can be demotivating.

Other ways to improve social is by being able to comment on and share each others incident posts. How about ways thanking users who submit and share incidents? If an application is failing one of the ways that we attempt to improve it is by first asking "how do we make this more social?" In the popular app snapchat, there is a reason for the global map view, you feel connected and feel apart of something just by seeing your friend's avatars on a real map.

In our Lessons Learned applications we're adding group quests in the future, where the team as a whole must review a certain number of incidents in a week, this can encourage those at the bottom to step up and help their team reach the goal that is set.

Core 6: Scarcity and Impatience

Scarcity and impatience are about motivating us because we cannot have it now or it is difficult to obtain. This is in some games where you cannot play until the next day, or how about chick-fil-not being available on Sunday? They didn't do it for gamification but it works all the same; our strongest desires can come from not being able to have whatever it is, the moment we desire it.

Here rewards are given, but only after they go through something difficult, say reviewing one incident per day for a full 30 days. This ties in scarcity (many users won't do it) and impatience (it takes 30 days if they don't screw up). This will not motivate if the reward is a surprise though, they must be able to see the prize and desire it. If the prize is not good enough it will not motivate, and will not drive that impatience motivator of not being able to get the prize now. In the video game World of Warcraft, the game that sports millions of monthly users, it has an online catalogue of all the "cool quest rewards" that one player can obtain with the objective next to it. This instills desire, the belief that you can earn that reward if only you put in enough time and effort (and continue to pay a monthly fee) - this desire can be instilled in other programs, not just video games. Are there ways you can reward employees in your work programs in a similar fashion?

The other part about scarcity is we never want to give feelings of abundance for a reward, if everyone can earn the prize, then the prize itself is not that desirable to us. A user who selects a difficult task, is determined to earn that great reward and does, should then be able to show it off, tying it back into the social core.


We're working to implement these ideas into our own database, let us know what you think and if there's anything else that could make it even better.

You can find the app in your app store by searching "Oilfield Lessons Learned" in your app store!

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