Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software

Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software

Gamification is becoming a common buzzword in business these days. In its November 2012 press release, Gartner predicts that "by 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. In the same report, they also predict that - "by 2014, 80% of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design".

What is gamification? Does it belong in the workplace? Are there design best practices that can increase the efficacy of enterprise gamification efforts?

Janaki Kumar and Mario Herger answer these questions and more in this book Gamification @ Work. They caution against taking a "chocolate covered broccoli" approach of simply adding points and badges to business applications and calling them gamified. They outline a methodology called Player Centered Design which is a practical guide for user experience designers, product managers and developers to incorporate the principles of gamification into their business software. Player Centered Design involves the following five steps:

  1. Know your player
  2. Identify the mission
  3. Understand human motivation
  4. Apply mechanics
  5. Manage, monitor and measure

Kumar and Herger provide examples of enterprise gamification, introduce legal and ethical considerations, and provide pointers to other resources to continue your journey in designing gamification that works!

Gamification, Enterprise Gamification, Gamification of business software, enterprise software, business software, User experience design, UX, Design, Engagement, Motivation.

The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.
by Jonas Lowgren, John M. Carroll, Marc Hassenzahl, Thomas Erickson, Alan Blackwell, Kees Overbeeke, Caroline Hummels, Robert Spence, Mark Apperley, Karen Holtzblatt, Hugh R. Beyer, Jesper Kjeldskov, Margaret M. Burnett, Christopher Scaffidi, Dag Svanaes, Kristina Hook, Alistair G. Sutcliffe, Albrecht Schmidt, Gilbert Cockton, Victor Kaptelinin, Clayton M. Christensen, Eric von Hippel, Noam Tractinsky, Ben Challis, Richard Shusterman, William Hudson, Steve Mann, Brian Whitworth, Adnan Ahmad, Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza, Paul A. Fishwick, Jonathan Grudin, Steven Poltrock, Shaun Gallagher, Alan J. Dix, Lene Nielsen, Dave Randall, Mark Rouncefield, Doug A. Bowman, Ned Kock, Paul Cairns, Stephen Few, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Fabio Paterno, Dianne Cyr, Richard Mortier, Hamed Haddadi, Tristan Henderson, Derek McAuley, Jon Crowcroft, Andy Crabtree, Constantine Stephanidis, Pieter Stappers, Elisa Giaccardi, Ann Blandford, John Zimmerman and Jodi Forlizzi (eds.)
The Social Design of Technical Systems: Building technologies for communities. 2nd Edition
by Brian Whitworth and Adnan Ahmad
Bringing Numbers to Life
by John Armitage
The Glossary of Human Computer Interaction
by Bill Papantoniou, Mads Soegaard, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Mehmet Goktürk, David Trepess, Dirk Knemeyer, Eric Svoboda, Thomas Memmel, Eelke Folmer, Hatice Gunes, Martin Harrod, Frank Spillers and Eva Hornecker (eds.)


Janaki Kumar is the Head of Strategic Design Services, America, SAP's Design and Co-Innovation Center. She leads a team of interaction designers, visual designers and user researchers to design innovative solutions for strategic customers. She has extensive experience building and leading high performance user experience teams. She had led globally distributed teams, with UX professionals in the US, India, China and Germany. Janaki has a Masters in Finance from India and a Masters in Information Systems from Boston University. She has filed for 18 and holds 13 patents for innovative user interface concepts. She can be followed on twitter @JanakiKumar and she is a regular contributor to
Mario Herger is a Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California and Global Head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP. He is ranked at the "Leaderboarded Gamification Gurus"-list under the top 5. In his work as head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP he has encountered and supported gamification efforts in the enterprise from multiple levels and departments, like Sustainability, On Demand, Mobile, HR, Training & Education, and Banking etc. He has driven the awareness around gamification inside and outside SAP by organizing and leading innovation events around this topic, holding full day gamification workshops, working with gamification platform- & service-providers and game studios, and by incorporating gamification into SAP's strategy. He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Vienna University of Technology and an undergraduate degree in International Business Management from the Vienna University of Economy.