When social media folks first started talking about gamification, I found myself skeptical. In fact, to be honest, I was downright derisive. Surely it was a flash in the pan, a trend I could ignore.
Why was I so resistant to gamification? I had a hard time believing that points, badges and leaderboards could be enough to get people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Further, I had a really hard time imagining gamification in law firms. Would conservative law firm culture embrace gamification? Above all, what use case could I reasonably propose to a law firm?
As with many things, the longer you live with an idea, the less strange it becomes. Once gamification became mainstream, it was difficult to ignore. In my case, a series of presentations at various conferences last year opened my eyes to the possibilities:
- Bryan Barringer of FedEx showed attendees at the E2.0 Conference how gamification elements designed to fit with corporate culture could be used to “unlock knowledge.”
- Col. Scott Reid, Chief Knowledge Officer of the US Army JAG Corps, reported at the ILTA12 conference that their milBook social platform award points to contributors. In fact, contributors can win extra points for providing an answer that someone else finds helpful.
- At KMWorld 2012, Thomas Hsu and Stephen Kaukonen from Accenture demonstrated the benefits of intelligently deployed gamification elements to further a knowledge management initiative.
All of this led me to reconsider using gamification inside a law firm. But I was still stuck trying to find a decent use case. And then it hit me. What’s the one thing many lawyers have great trouble completing in a timely and accurate fashion?
Instead of badgering them to submit their time or punishing them by cutting off their direct deposit rights (or even withholding their paychecks), what if we used gamification to encourage timely compliance?
Of course, there is nothing new under the sun. A Google+ post by Richard Hare led me to a question and answer site with a discussion on the following question: Implement gamification on Time reporting to minimize late reports? It turns out that legal is not the only industry that has trouble getting people to submit their time records promptly. Slalom Consulting has adopted a “Promptitude” scale that uses gamification elements to help employees submit their time records on time. A key part of Slalom’s approach is the judicious use of “shamification.” Meanwhile, a Harvard Business Review Management Tip encourages readers to “make the job more like a game.” Is this the piece we were missing in legal?
Do you know of an organization that has successfully used gamification to encourage the prompt submission of time reports? If so, please let me know — there are law firms that desperately need this information!
The Gamified World:
If you’d like more information on gamification, here are some resources for you:
- Belsky, Six Reasons Why “Gamification” Will Rule the Business World
- Carter (IBM), Social Business Update — Gamification (video)
- Dominguez, Playing games at work — get ready for gamification (video)
- Duggan, 2013: The Year of Gamification
- Werbach, Gamification (Coursera)
[Photo Credit: Stephen L. Johnson]