The digital workplace creates new ways to motivate people. Learning from the masters of human motivation - the game designers - we can make work more motivating and rewarding, increase quality, and be more profitable, all at the same time. Sounds a bit like defying gravity, but it is more like learning to fly. You can if you have a plane.
A framework for understanding gamification
What is motivating us to do what we do? To be able to discuss this question and reach a deeper understanding, we need a framework - a language that allow us to analyze what drives us. One such framework, and a very relevant one when we discuss motivation in the digital workplace, is the Octalysis framework that was developed by Yu-kai Chou.
The Octalysis framework describes our motivation in terms of eight core drivers: achievement, meaning, empowerment, social interaction, unpredictability, avoidance, scarcity, and ownership. Each core driver has unique characteristics that you need to be aware of if you want to use it to drive engagement in your digital workplace.
White hat vs. black hat gamification
Using achievement, meaning, and empowerment to drive motivation is considered white hat gamification. When motivated by these core drivers people tend to feel good about themselves and their actions. Those drivers create long term engagement but they also take some time to build up. For those of you that have read Daniel Pinks bestseller Drive they correspond quite well to his drivers Mastery, Purpose, and Autonomy.
On the other hand, using scarcity, avoidance, and unpredictability to drive motivation is considered black hat gamification. Black hat drivers are sticky and habits driven by them are hard to lay off. When motivation is dominated by these drivers people tend to feel trapped and as a consequence people tend to quit as soon as they get a chance. On the positive side from a gamification perspective they create a sense of urgency that is completely lacking in the white hat drivers.
The last two core drivers: ownership and social interaction has components of both white hat and black hat gamification. Ownership is generally white hat but collecting things can easily turn in to an obsession. The same goes for social interaction that makes most people feel good, but group pressure is a strong black hat driver.
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Empowerment, social interaction, and unpredictability provide intrinsic motivation in the sense that people are motivated by the task itself and not the outcome. Casinos are good examples of intrinsic motivation. Most people know they are "statistically screwed” by the casino, yet they pay to have a chance to win. Unpredictability is a lot of fun!
For the core drivers that provide extrinsic motivation - achievement, ownership, and scarcity - the opposite is true, people are motivated by the outcome. The task can be really boring, repetetive, even painful but people do it for the goal, purpose, or reward. When an swimmer does thousands of laps in an indoor pool, the motivation is to get better and win the olympics not the actual task of swimming laps.
Learn more about what it means to drive engagement in the digital workplace
On September 7 we are hosting a seminar in our Stockholm office on Kungsgatan 58. The seminar starts at 17.00, food and drinks are on the house.
Originally published Jun 28, 2016 7:59:54 AM