How to Use Gamification as a Problem-Solving Tool


Patricia Dimick

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: February 11, 2021

When people play games, they feel a sense of purpose and experience a desire for accomplishment. Every time players reach a new level of the game, they feel proud and then eagerly embark on the next challenge. Such a universal human experience now plays a significant role in the business world. Companies with stagnant problem-solving skills and a lack of responsiveness to changes in their environment discovered they could reinvigorate their organizations by converting the problem solving into a game by setting goals and engaging employees in a competition now called gamification.

The application of game design techniques and mechanics to problem solving has motivated people to overcome obstacles to reach desirable goals. The success of gamification in the corporate world has set a new standard for using strategic thinking to find creative solutions to the most baffling problems a company can face, including the discovery of new ways to perform staff organizational training and development. Here, you will discover some practical tips for turning problems in your business into a valuable source of entertainment and growth.

First things first: Defining the Problem

Before you can use gamification, you must identify the problems that now limit your company, and frame them as puzzles that need solving or challenges. As you define the game, the main obstacle keeping you from your objective becomes the challenge, as players find ways to overcome it and advance to the “next level.” For example, the problem for your business could involve increasing online sales by an attainable and measurable level.

To better define the problem, you could ask questions that will reveal your current level of online sales, what audiences your company reaches and what tools and methods might help improve sales. As you ask questions about the problem at hand, you will often come across more information. For example, you might learn that your company has been reaching the wrong audience, creating the problem of inadequate online sales.How to Use Gamification as a Problem-Solving Tool

Providing the Virtual Experience

Gamification creates a framework for problem solving, but it also gives players experience. For example, your sales team can use the virtual experience to practice serving customers, so they can better serve clients in real life. The game environment strengthens strategic thinking and helps employees find the best solutions for problems.

Your virtual experience should incorporate all the elements of a game, including the story, the strategy for playing, the score and support. Gamification will help your firm to discover successful strategies while providing the mental challenge and feedback employees need to develop their skills. Proper support from management throughout the gaming experience helps define the success and meaning of the problem-solving experience.

Active Participation

A Gallop study reported that only 13 percent of employees worldwide actively engage with their employer, coworkers, and customers. The majority of workers, 87 percent, were indifferent or unengaged, suggesting that companies can substantially improve their profitability and efficiency if they can get their employees involved in the company mission. Gamification inspires the active participation of every team member, by encouraging a competitive spirit and reinforcing it with a reward system that makes the process as fun as it is productive. As a learning tool, employees can feel free to explore new ways to solve problems, because mistakes have no repercussions in their virtual playing field.

Innovative solutions

Entertaining, educational, and fun, gamification delivers impressive results. Through the game environment, employees learn to innovate to address complex issues. Such outside-the-box thinking helps companies effectively adapt to unexpected situations in the real world, enhancing the survivability of a business and the team that runs it.

Gamification has enhanced education technology in both the workplace and educational settings. Emerging technologies promise the availability of new tools that will make the virtual experience more practical and beneficial to existing and up-and-coming workforces. Gamification surpasses many alternative problem-solving tools because it continues delivering benefits long after helping to find solutions to a problem. The problem-solving skills developed through gamification will build a resilient organizational culture that routinely meets and overcomes challenges on the road to success.

Using game theory and mechanics in the business context has many benefits. TechNavio, a market researcher, predicts that the global gamification market will expand at an astounding 48 percent rate through 2019. As more companies adopt gamification at almost any level of their organization to enhance almost any aspect of their business, you should consider using gamification in your business to build a flexible organization that can stay relevant and competitive in the global marketplace.

Patricia Dimick is a Denver based freelance writer, stay-at-home mom and a bit of a tech freak. She likes to explore and write about the innovations in the digital world and share her insights with like-minded people. Feel free to reach her @Patricia_Dimick

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