Companies can no longer rely on a small handful of large brains to conduct all the thinking in a world where a great idea is significantly more valuable than a method of production. To allow breakthrough innovation, firms today must tap into the wisdom and diversity of the community. However, crowdsourcing ideas is as old as the suggestion box, and the outcomes have been mixed. The idea is to direct and coordinate the crowd's creative energy toward a single goal. This problem has long been solved in nature.
Learning from Natural Swarms
When migrating birds are foraging in a field, each bird operates independently to some extent. However, once in flight, a group of individual birds forms a flock that flies in the same direction and forms the well-known v-shape. Their behaviours are governed by a set of simple rules and a common aim during the change. From a swarm of bees to a school of fish, there are many examples of crowds evolving into swarms in nature. But how can a swarm of people focused on a common purpose of invention be produced from a throng of people? Turning innovation into a game is one method to do so.
While some aspects of gamification resemble those of games, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, the parallels end there. Gamification is used to engage and motivate people, whereas games are designed to entertain. Gamification may offer a group of people with common goals and basic rules that will lead to collective activity. Gamification, when applied to creativity, can inspire people to share their ideas within a community, vote up the greatest ideas, and expand on the ideas of others. It's a crowdsourced, collaborative method to invention that encourages people to work together and participate in something bigger than themselves.
How to Gamify Innovation
Getting people to collaborate in the spirit of creativity has always been difficult, and gamification can help. The job of the innovation team is to organise innovation when gamification is used to crowdsource ideas. They accomplish it by creating innovative games with clear objectives and straightforward rules to guide participants' actions. People are swiftly onboarded and given the opportunity to submit new ideas, as well as vote up and contribute to the development of other people's ideas, in innovation games. Constant feedback is provided to acknowledge their accomplishments and elevate their reputation in the innovation community.
Here are some examples of how gamification might be used to engage a group of innovators:
· People are inherently motivated to participate in innovation, especially when the change will have a personal impact on them. Being a part of the change gives people a sense of control; they feel like they're in charge of it rather than being victims of it.
· People believe they are contributing to something bigger than themselves when they are part of a community. People want to be recognised for their contributions, but not always with monetary compensation.
· Participants, on the other hand, cherish the community's acknowledgement of their contribution and the status that implies. People want to be a part of a successful concept. Because not all of the submitted ideas will be executed, people will work together to create the most promising ones. Competition to pick the finest ideas is usually balanced with teamwork to develop them in innovation games.
Teams in charge of innovation must redirect their efforts in order to use gamification to engage and motivate a community to participate in initiatives. They need to shift their focus from being idea generators to becoming game designers who can tap into the collective wisdom of the community. Although gamification is still in its infancy, turning innovation into a game has already proven to be a winner.