Game mechanics increases employee collaboration and innovation

With social media incorporated into most enterprise technologies, like SharePoint 2010, we now have the ability to collaborate and innovate at scale.

The challenge is that traditionally in the knowledge economy employees were rewarded for what and who they knew, and it is counterintuitive for most employees to share this. So how do we change this behaviour to reap the synergies of multiple minds? Well one of the ways is to reward employees. Employees get paid to do their work and I am not for a minute suggesting that they get financially remunerated every time they collaborate. Game mechanics is another way to reward employees over and above their task driven remuneration by making working together more fun.

At Digital Bridges, we have developed a technology adoption model, which can be extended into changing most behaviour. This model says that people will adopt a technology (or behave in a desired way) if there are three conditions in place – they must see the point, it must be easy to do and they need to look and feel good doing it.

So how do we get people to collaborate and innovate? We make collaboration and innovation part of what they are paid to do on a daily basis through strategic alignment, ergo they see the point. We make it easy to do by aligning it with the organisational processes and we make them look and feel good by turning collaboration and sharing into a game.

Game mechanics are constructs of rules intended to produce an enjoyable, engaging game-like experience. They can take the form of competitions or rewards or other enjoyable activities which are designed to elicit certain behaviours. Games are a tremendously powerful medium to captivate employee attention.

Some forms of game mechanics have been used for centuries, while others are relatively new, having been invented within the past decade with the advent of social media.

Conversations about game mechanics are changing. Formerly a topic mostly discussed by game designers and gamer geeks, gamification is now part of the business discussion. In the burgeoning world of gamification, Gartner predicts that half of innovation-based companies will be gamified by 2015.

Game mechanics also allow you to reach both your passive and enthusiastic employees.

Let’s break the business down by common social business tools and target ways to effectively gamify them.

1. Getting contributions

Whether it is ideas you want, or just content which will improve a proposal, you need to encourage people to participate.

By incentivising contributions, employees become more engaged; this makes their work richer and more dynamic. For example top contributors could get accredited for great quality contributions by letting others rate or “like” them and measuring the numbers. The person with the most votes gets points and they earn a reputation for being innovative or adding value.

In addition to this great ideas are automatically “crowdsourced” to the top, because they are the ideas voted the best by the employees. This reduces the amount of management time in evaluating the contribution. A word of caution though, it is important to ensure that there are rules in place for determining what a good idea or contribution is, otherwise the most popular idea, such as “double all employees salaries” will receive the most endorsement from employees.

2. Collaboration

Collaboration is mostly achieved through simple vehicles like comments, ratings or reviews.
You could reward comments on other people’s contributions. Perhaps allow “weighted commentary” where the people associated with the best comments get a higher weight attributed to them based on the community’s votes by using algorithms to drive the weighting up based on the value they add. This kind of reward gives the most active users a highly desirable reputation within the organisation for adding value to a project or as a great team player.

Sharing is also a form of collaboration and can prove incredibly useful in syndicating ideas and content. With gamification elements rewarding users for sharing, users feel even more compelled to syndicate contributions.

One way is to have users work toward a larger overall goal or ranking as a result of sharing. Doing so gives people the idea that sharing has value, but does not drive toward mindless clicking. Instead, they’ll share what actually matters to them instead of just spamming their networks.

Contributions such as documents and templates could also be shared back to people’s content. For example someone could see a proposal to a client which is similar to something they have prepared in the past and they could attach a document containing relevant background information to the proposal.

3. Keeping Score

Any good game mechanics implementation goes out of its way to show the audience an indicator of their progress within the activity they are participating in. You do this by integrating game mechanics into activity feeds and leader boards. These activity feeds not only allow users to view their ratings and ranks, but also to find other like minded employees.

4. Cashing out

You can enable employees the cash out their points for tangible and intangible rewards such as vouchers for duvet days or other privileges. Maybe you want to give cash rewards, but don’t be surprised to find that position on the leader board and recognition for their efforts is reward in itself.

One additional advantage to game mechanics relates to problem solving. Games are inherently puzzles. This builds a kind of mental muscle memory amongst employees for troubleshooting. A gamer gets to a point where a problem solution is instinctive rather than requiring thought. This will make our organisations vastly more efficient at innovation and collaboration at scale.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Innovation, Interactive Intranets

Please take part in our poll into Innovation in South Africa

Innocentrix and Digital Bridges are conducting an opinion poll on organisational innovation practises in South Africa. The purpose of the poll is to deepen our understanding of current innovation trends in the South African market and to specifically look at innovation approaches and tools. We intend for the results to be published in an industry specific magazine or other relevant media channels.

 

We would really appreciate your assistance and input. We promise not to divulge your details nor that of your company. Not ever, not even if we are threatened or tortured ….never!

 

The poll should not take longer than 10-15 min to complete and the closing date for submissions is 21 September 2011. If you would like a copy of the final report or would like to discuss these trends, please send an e-mail to henra@innocentrix.co.za and we will be in contact with you.

 

Thank you so much for making a difference to South African innovation efforts.

 

Please click on the link below to complete the survey.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Iqd7M1J_2fB5XALcq3NIGxyw_3d_3d

 

Go on, you know you want to, you have lots to say, just do it! It’s fun to make a difference.

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Interaction for Innovation Success

Here is another guest blog from Henra Mayer at Innocentrix

65% of the over 700 senior executives that were surveyed in a McKinsey Quaterly report entitled: “Competitive Advantage From Better Interactions” stated that they are disappointed with their enterprise’s ability to stimulate innovation.

Organisations are increasingly realising that innovation is not something that only needs to be mentioned in vision statements. It is a reality that needs to be implemented. Recent indications of another global recession is emphasising the importance of innovation once again. The market does not wait for those who are still trying to figure out the what and how of innovation management – but what are organisations doing to stay relevant, be sustainable?

Truth is, once the innovation strategy is written, the awareness creation plan approved and the idea management platform is procured, people tend to sit back and wait for the magic to happen. An ideation platform and strategic innovation planning alone are not going to deliver innovation results. People will, strategic planning for execution and focusing innovation efforts and direction will. But herein lays the challenge. The following issues or lack thereof are often stated as (at least some) of the reasons for innovation failure:

  • Soliciting quality ideas;
  • Engaging the organisation enough to ensure that the idea management platform deliver the desired results;
  • Finding the experts and resources to take new ideas through to implementation;
  • Effectively managing the stage gate process to speed up idea implementation – avoiding countless evaluation committees and board decisions for ideas to progress;
  • Addressing innovation reward and recognition effectively
  • Demonstrating progress, value and success (measurement);
  • Addressing collaboration and interaction
  • Successfully tracking ROI and project implementation
  • Leadership and alignment of innovation focus with organisational goals

Some of the above issues are being addressed lately by means of crowdsourcing – it assists with surfacing good ideas and it solicits collaboration. Gamification is another concept that is being exploited in the context of innovation management. It is used to engage people to participate in innovation efforts, while it supports the integration of the organisation’s innovation eco-system in order to capitalise upon the knowledge of customers, suppliers, industry bodies and the like. Still, are interaction and co-creation valued in the innovation process? Some of the findings published in the report by McKinsey I referred to above state that:

  • Wherever groups of people collaborate to solve problems—in the field, the supply chain, operations, marketing—innovations are more likely to occur at the front lines of interaction than at the corporate center;
  • A company can boost the number and quality of the interactions likely to promote innovation if it creates the conditions that allow them to emerge;
  • Successful companies include mechanisms and approaches that allow a portfolio of initiatives to emerge from internal and external interactions;
  • To encourage more interaction, innovation, and collaboration, companies must become more porous by continuing to break down barriers to interactions—barriers such as hierarchies and organisational silos;
  • Technologies and tools will promote the collaborative and dynamic pursuit, capture, and sharing of knowledge and will allow for more video, audio, and graphics to facilitate remote interactions and broader access to scarce expertise.

Have you thought about how you interact  in support of innovation lately?

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Mindsets and Innovation into the future

We are watching markets tumble and increasingly it looks like a double dip recession is on the cards. Last time the global economy wobbled, we had come out of a period of growth. We had money to pump into the markets, fat to take out of the system, greed to blame and the wear-with-all to spend our way out. Nowadays it may require a complete rethink to address the economic downswing.

Inherently our thinking has been guided by our experience, but confronted by a new series of variables that we haven’t seen before, we need to address the thought architecture which informs our decision making.

For example, the banking sector is very risk averse and is guided by credit risk, rather than economic growth. This means that credit is effectively granted to those people who don’t need it. This effectively excludes most of our population from the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.

In the recession of 2008, those people who were most at risk, lost their jobs and livelihoods. This time around it is going to be those people who were economically less at risk, who will be left blinking in the train light wondering what happened. People who were secure in their jobs and with sensible saving plans are going to feel the fall out.

Already London is falling victim to the mob violence, perpetrated by marginalised youth who have seen their parents exposed to the austerity measures, losing out on health care, the job market and support. This youth is using social media to propogate their agendas. No-one is condoning the looting and violence and we recognise that this has been taken advantage of by criminal elements, but the underlying truth is that the economy forms the backdrop to some very disturbing events. Social media is not only a weapon for good, but also a weapon for social mayhem. Human behaviour, good and bad is exacerbated.

The only way out of this potential crisis is to change our way of thinking and to reinvent our response to a new economic future, whether we are individuals, businesses or politicians. We need to recognise that more people are disenfranchised and that it is not just bad people who are losing out.

The world has changed; we need to innovate to meet new challenges. Perhaps we need to start looking at the fundamental variables which have changed, like the economy, societal changes, globalisation and social media to adjust our thinking.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903366504576490841235575386.html

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Filed under Business, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation, Internet, Macroeconomics 2.0

Innovation may be the way to avoid a double dip recession

As the world watches markets nervously, Standard and Poor’s has just downgraded America’s rating and Central Banks look like they may need to intervene, we need to give some thought as to how the world needs to change in the future.

There are some structural changes in the global economy and what has worked in the past will not necessarily work in the future.

In 2008, when the global economy wobbled, many companies reacted by taking the costs out of their operations. They downsized and scaled back, very often just battening down the hatches. Now, much leaner, they don’t have the luxury of further cost cutting and they are looking for other alternatives.

Innovation which can be defined as an idea, which realised, brings value to the market, is a way of competing successfully in the fast changing world around us. The impending economic slowdown is just such a change. The companies which emerge successfully on the other side are going to be those which have embraced innovation to find new markets, new products, improved processes and better ways to get the most out of their employees.

With the advent of social media innovation is no longer the prerogative of the ivory tower or the R&D department. It is up to everyone in the organisation to identify opportunities to improve the way the organisation works and to innovate and collaborate at scale.

Those companies which are the most innovative are the best prepared to meet the new world order. We are seeing a lot of large corporates equipping their employees to innovate and it is going to be interesting to see what happens and who comes out first and who is left behind. Either way, we can expect to see big changes in the way companies compete in the future.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation

Collaboration for competitive advantage

As many organisations are rolling out enterprise platforms with social media tools like SharePoint 2010 or Spigit Innovation software, they need to look at their ability to optimise collaboration to unlock the power within their knowledge workers.

Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. Many organisations who are exploring the use of social media tools seem to regard collaboration as limited to comments, votes and “likes”. Rather, it needs to be a coordinated effort to reach stated goals.

Collaboration is a repetitive process where people and/or organisations work together to realise shared goals. These goals could be the deployment of a project, development of an innovation or putting together a proposal. This is a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective.

Organisations need to look at their collaboration processes, who should be involved, what the goals are and what information people need in order to ensure that they get the best results.

Up until now we haven’t had the wherewithal to collaborate at scale. Time and geography have often impeded robust collaboration. With the advent of social media and increased quality of data and enterprise technology with social media capabilities, we now have the ability to maximise the collective brain power of our employees.

There are a number of considerations when we embark on collaboration in large enterprises:

– What is the goal we intend to achieve?

– Who is going to lead the collaboration initiative?

– What are the impediments to collaboration? These could include

Access to information and knowledge

Culture and siloed thinking

Anti-collaborative processes, such as corporate governance or policies

– What are the tools we need for collaboration?

Do we need real world space, like boardrooms?

Will other social media tools, like IM, likes, ranks and posts enhance collaboration?

Enterprise platforms can push or recommend information to the users based on the project or the user profile or similar information that has been accessed in the past.

What templates can we develop to enhance collaboration

– Which skills and experiences should be co-opted onto collaborative projects? These could include:

Analytical

Project

Decision

Networking and Negotiation

Industry

Technical

Professional etc.

But of course collaboration is not a panacea for improving how organisations function. Many processes and job functions are repetitive and transactional and require no collaboration at all. Rather, collaborative behaviour will impede the smooth functioning of the organisation. However, it is clear that teams that work collaboratively obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.

It is time that organisations started exercising the collaborative muscle to take on the ever changing market.

Hansen, Morten T “Collaboration” 2009 Harvard Business Press

McKinseys

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Digital Communities, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation