Game design is starting to leak into all aspects of the way things are done, even in traditional work. In a book by Gabe Zichermann, CEO of beamME, he writes about incentivizing people to do things they wouldn’t normally do.
It’s a basic idea: taking something tedious and making it into a game. It has also attracted the attention of luminaries like Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins who thinks that Funware can change advertising because of how sticky games can be.
Zichermann notes that traditional ads are becoming less effective and certain old-school marketers are having difficultly adapting. With fewer people paying attention to 30-second spots and fewer young people watching television at all, new approaches are important. As an example of how game elements enhance a product, the Orkut social network rewards high usage users with a leaderboard, making it the number one social network in Brazil over Facebook.
Game makers traditionally have focused on hardcore tastes while marketers have thought about brands during commercial breaks, but Zichermann writes that the brand can be the game, such as the NBC trivia game iCue, which uses old clips from shows.
Merit badges handed out to Boy Scouts for their activities is another interesting example, while one that gamers will be familiar with is Trophies and Achievement Points, which cost nothing but incentivize players to put more time into their games.