Gamification of feedback makes your team go faster

Toby BeresfordThe following is a guest post by Toby Beresford. Toby is founder of a tool to create multi-variable leaderboards from both business and social data. He can be reached at @tobyberesford.

At the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, a smaller British fleet routed a larger  French one, destroying 22 French ships without a single British vessel being lost.

For French Admiral Villeneuve, there are many reasons why he lost, but one in particular strikes our attention as management scientists – his fleet was slow out of the harbor at Cadiz.

Getting out of the harbor

It’s a common problem for any business – time is that most precious commodity. Successful businesses get things done in time, or “just in time” if you prefer. Yet going faster is never easy. “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with a team” says the famous aphorism.

Creating a team that can go both far and fast is rare indeed.

Inspiration from games

Video game controlIn console games, like Halo, teams do work together, and fast, despite little management and face-to-face time. What can we learn from these games and the way gamers join forces as a team to win in them? (learning from games and applying it to business is the art behind gamification)

I would argue, apart from simplicity of tasks (console games isn’t like solving a tricky customer issue) a key factor is the availability of a common scorecard. The instant feedback that is summarised in a single score (how many kills, how effective, levels completed and so on) both for each player and the whole team is quickly shared and digested. Each player knows whether they have done the right thing.

The scorecard

Great companies already know this and many link key activities back to a single score we all care about – the profit margin. But for some departments this is hard to achieve – after all, often it’s not clear how any one particular activity affects the bottom line

Indeed, many activities are so fine grained; “micro-tasks” if you like, that assigning a value to each is not worth the effort. Was that tweet worth doing? Did that meeting deliver value? Did I engage my customers in that webinar?­

Milestones are too far apart

Feedback is the missing ingredient. And for a new generation of knowledge workers, brought up playing games like Halo, they crave this frequent feedback. They want to track their “inchstones” not milestones.

To serve this demand, managers must offer them dashboards that report on the myriad of micro-tasks that make up the day job.

Creating a report of micro-tasks used to be nigh on impossible, but the increasingly digitized nature of our lives now creates a “data shadow” that can also be used to offer this micro-feedback.  Whether that’s a new record in the customer database or a new tweet posted online, many of the actions we do, are now digitised and suitable for reporting back.

Automating feedback

Tools designed to report back on the minutiae of daily tasks are finding their way into the workplace:

  • At a client office last week, I saw the Google Analytics realtime dashboard in the reception showing every employee what was happening on the company website.
  • At my own company, Leaderboarded, we use a Leaderboard so each employee can optimise their personal social media performance to achieve company social media goals.  The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation use a similar leaderboard for their “social media superstars”.
  • Dell have created an entire office dedicated to the social media command centre while traditional business dashboard tools are no longer the preserve of senior management and are appearing on the shopfloor, aided by customisable dashboard companies such as geckoboard.

LeaderboardedFor the successful workplace then, let us applaud this reinvention of the dashboard – no longer is it a forgotten tool for managers to check the pulse of the business. No, the new “dashboard 2.0”, shows each of us how we are doing on our bit of the business and expects us to optimise our performance ourselves.

What are the benefits of this flurry of dashboards? Faster correction and optimisation. Like an armada of ships, the quicker each gets its bearings right, its sails optimised for the direction of the wind, the faster the individual goes, and with each faster ship so a faster, fleeter armada.

So, with fast feedback and an leaderboard, perhaps the French Fleet would have been a bit quicker in 1805, and who knows maybe that would have turned the battle. Glass of burgundy anyone?


Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Future of work, Human Resources

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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One Comment on “Gamification of feedback makes your team go faster”

  1. January 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Reblogged this on Web 2 Concepts and commented:
    My guest post on Successful Workplace

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