Gamifying the GSA
If this is the first time you’ve heard the term “gamification” – it’s time to catch up! As of now, this concept has been mostly used within social media by marketers and website product managers but is predicted to become the next big thing – even the GSA uses it. Gamification is expected to grow from a million to a billion dollar industry and to be utilized by all types of social establishments including governments according to an article in Computer world.
You might even have indulged in some gamification without knowing it- the term refers to the use of game mechanics to any application in order to engage audiences and solve problems. The most familiar gamifying IT application is probably Foursquare –a mobile application which awards users with “digital prizes” such as trophy’s and points for frequently checking into various locations through social media such as Facebook. The objective is through game design techniques get consumers in an entertaining way to interact with their brand.
The government is already gamifying. For instance, a gaming platform known as Ground Truth is deployed by a The US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This application is best described as a simulation and analysis program adapted into a game surface simulating a virtual environment where employees can play through various border crossing scenarios essentially to control movements across the border and catch suspects. The impact of their decisions is immediately evaluated through an advanced metrics system.
As Gamifying goes mainstream critical voices claim this is only a short term solution to motivate people into doing things they may not really be interested in and that it cannot accurately be deployed in more complex situations. And truly, its effect has not yet fully been measured but since the technique can be used in almost all kinds of environments and for almost any type of purposes (such as employee training programs, personal activities, education, surveys etc.) we should expect to see its growth.
Even the GSA is also beginning to consider gamification techniques and is currently using Chatter, a solution from Salesforce that allows everyone within GSA to discuss issues and solve problems in a game type environment in order to increase engagement and collaboration within the department.