Intra-Preneurship & Learning

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session Description:

Organizations can use game design techniques to fully engage customers, partners, and employees. When it is well-implemented, gamification can transform a work culture by cultivating deep emotional connections, high levels of active participation, and long-term relationships that drive knowledge-sharing, learning and business value. Enterprises can utilize strategy games, simulation games, and role-playing games as a means to teach, drive operational efficiencies, and innovate. Find out how organizations have embraced social collaboration using playful design to reap tremendous value; grab tips and tools to build a learning culture; and learn how to engage your community!

Speaker:Phaedra Boinodiris, Member IBM Academy of Technology (Blockchain, Games, Watson, Design), IBM

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2018 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • Serious Games
    • Serious games are her business. They are games for a serious purpose, not just fun. (Although, they should be fun as well.)
    • She works at IBM, bringing the power of serious games to improve business and learning.
    • Use serious games to gather mindshare and to work through challenges BEFORE you have boots on the ground.
    • Be aware of the ethical implications of the games your create and/or play.
  • Start by Shifting Mindset.
    • If you want intrapreneurship or entrepreneurship, you must start inside. You may need a mindshift into a growth mindset, into opennes, into experimentation.
    • Use games to create entrepreneurial mindset. You can do this in the youngest classrooms.
    • Shift education to learner-centered: help them develop a true sense of agency and then provide tailored learning opportunities in their context.
    • Learner agency is critical for developing an entrepreneurial mindset: entrepreneurs are learning all the time. How? By trying new things and, iinevitably, failing lots of times.
    • Enable digital engagement through games — IBM has created AI that supports personalized learning.
  • Focus on STEAM not STEM.
    • STEM = Science, Technologing, Engineering, MATH
    • STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Math
    • The focus on the arts — culture, history, literature, etc. — allows us to add empathy and deep understanding into the mix.
    • Design thinking develops and relies on empathy. This in turn draws on STEAM rather than STEM.
    • Even when designing a chatbot, be sure to design in empathy.
  • Create New Business Models.
    • Blockchain
      • Blockchain illustrates how a new way of working together opens up new possibilities
      • Use blockchain for microcredentialing
        • as you learn things and get certifications, those certifications get added to your blockchain. This creates your immutable record of learning.
        • so this becomes your transcript and may even become your resume
    • Pair micro-credentialing with AI: as a student increases in learning, AI can interpret that data and then provide targeted learning or employment opportunities for that student via blockchain
    • Dallas County Promise:
      • Dallas County has developed a  new path to college program to increase the numbers and equity of students graduating from college.
      • They are using micro-credentialing and customized-learning to improve student outcomes.
      • For more information, see:
    • Gamification done wrong:
      • “Don’t slap a point system on an onerous work process and then call it a game. That’s NOT a game. It’s chocolate-covered broccoli!!!
    • Don’t treat tech like a neutral and benign blackbox:
      • IBM just created a Watson-powered Harry Potter sorting hat.
      • She rigged the system so all her children were sorted into Slytherin.
      • When they protested, she pointed out that they must remain skeptical and questioning of technology.
      • Be clear about how tech can be use and abused. Be clear about how it affects your choices and outcomes.

More Guidance on Law Practice Gamification

2006-7-30 Wise and Otherwise Game Pieces The post I wrote recently on Gamification for Law Firms inspired me to dive deeper into the literature and lore regarding games and game design. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I was surprised to learn through this reading that gamification is as much an art as it is a science. In fact, my reading drove home the point that good game design is relatively rare and requires more than merely attaching points or badges to a linear process.

If this is a topic that interests you, I’d encourage you to take a look at my new post just published in the ABA’s Law Technology Today column: Improve Your Legal Practice Through Gamification. In that post you’ll find some advice on how to move beyond “pointsification” to actually designing a game that is compelling enough to keep your colleagues engaged.

At the end of the day, that’s the whole point of gamification in the practice of law: using fun and good design to help colleagues do the things they need to do to help your legal practice (and business) thrive.

[Photo Credit: Janet and Phil]



Gamification for Law Firms?

achieversupermega 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:

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?

Time entries.

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:

[Photo Credit: Stephen L. Johnson]


Driving KM Adoption and Collaboration with Gamification #KMWorld

Thomas Hsu (Global KM) and Stephen Kaukonen (Senior Manager) are at Accenture.

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2012 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • What’s Gamification?. Use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts. (1) Game elements: the ability to earn points or badges for completing certain activities, a leader board showing the status of the players. (2) Game design techniques: this relates to the aesthetics of the game, the narrative, the journey, how the player progresses through the game. (3) Non-game contexts: applying gamification to solve business problems — even on an enterprise level.
  • Why KM and Collaboration?. KM is a perfect candidate for gamification because while collaboration is good and rewarding in and of itself, many people find it hard to do. Gamification can help people over the hurdles to starting and keep them motivated along the journey.
  • Some Examples of Gamification. (1) Fitocracy helps make you “super better” through exercise. (2) Nike Plus has built an enormous community of runners. (3)) Steptacular is an Accenture program.
  • Core Concepts. (1) Start by understanding your audience. What works for one part of your organization may not work for other parts of your organization. Conduct a user study to determine which elements of gamification resonate with your audience. One game does not fit all. (2) Impact: showing status is cheap and easier. However, it may lack meaning since it does not really demonstrate impact. Look for ways to demonstrate the impact of accomplishment within the game. At Accenture, they provide a report via gamification called “My Collaboration Impact.” It tracks activities such as posting a blog that represented thought leadership that lead to a specific number of people either commenting or reporting a new behavior.(3) Visibility: you can use gamification to make visible good behaviors and provide feedback and positive reinforcement to ensure more of that behavior. (4) Mastery: becoming good at an activity is reward in and of itself. Therefore, break the game down into logical steps that help participants progress towards mastery. The job of the game designer is to be the sherpa to help them up the mountain to mastery. (5) Autonomy: allow the player some independence, let them make some meaningful choices. (6) Purpose: this is the social element. Have the game communicate that you are involved in something bigger than yourself, you are making a difference.
  • Gamification Pitfalls. (1) Gamification won’t fix made KM. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. Therefore, be sure that your KM approach and processes are good before adding gamification elements. (2) Making games is easy. It may be fun (at least serious fun), but it isn’t just a matter of slapping badges on something. (3) Focus on behaviors not activities. While activities are components of behaviors, they don’t by themselves bring about long-term change. (4) Da
  • Focus on Behaviors not Activities. While activities are useful and necessary components of behavior, they don’t by themselves bring about long-term change. Therefore, focus on the long-term change you are trying to achieve and then construct the game to help the player to complete specific tasks that will help cultivate the desired behavior.
  • Data is King. A well-designed game can help generate huge amount of useful data.
  • Spread the Recognition. Find different ways of recognize accomplishment. Don’t limit yourself to badges. Realize that sometimes a note from a senior executive will be more meaningful.
  • People Will Game the System. This is a fact of life. Therefore, set limits on the numbers of point you can receive for a specific activity. Equally, don’t communicate exactly how many points you can earn for particular activities because you don’t want people to focus solely on high-point activities or a large volume of low-point activities. Finally, remember that if you offer a prize like an iPad you will be inviting people to seriously subvert the game.
  • Start small and then evolve.. Don’t worry about getting it right immediately out of the box. Plan to iterate.
  • Gamification is Not a Silver Bullet.