Engaginglab / Gamification

…forcing subjects to decide quickly increases contributions

Stumbled today over an interesting article from Sophie Bushwick, I started to think again about the potential of using other elements than our actual general reward-system in business. If we think about it everyone knows that the human species is a collaborative one. To live together in clans for supporting each other and to create an effective division of labour was one of our ancestors secrets to survive. Collaboration defeated competition.


Even, while acting the other way round today, this behavior is still ‘burried’ inside of us. Cooperation is central to human social behaviour. “A new study finds that when people have to make the choice instantly, their first impulse is cooperation—which indicates that generosity is innate. Only when they have more time to consider their choice do they behave more selfishly.”, says Sophie Bushwick.

Our last centuries were dominated by an economic incentive system that treated competition preferentially over co-operation. And so far, successful or not, it worked.
But circumstances have changed: Companies are complaining about a shortage of well educated employees and this means that the advantage changed from the employer to the employee.
Now, every organization has to think about how to keep and to motivate its employees to stay.

And in addition “what motivates employees” also changed.

Of course everyone needs a salary that enables one to live the life he wants to, to be able to cover the basic expenses and a little bit more. 😉

But people also want to get better…(remember the Maslow’s pyramide?) They want to learn, to get smarter, to overcome challenges and to achieve goals that have some kind of meaning for the society. Goals that can’t be achieved alone. Goals that create something bigger that we would be able to achieve alone. Why? Because, inherently, we know that this is the right way. Evolution proved it to be the right way. And because evolution used the elemination strategy for creating more effective specieses, cooperation is build into the DNA of the surviving ones.

And now the interesting part: If we are free to choose we prefer to play games that let us collaborate with others instead of games where we have to fight each others; games that use a social layer to build an emotional experience. If you look at the statistics, in general, games that ‘force’ us to use a social mechanic to overcome the given challenges are more successful and longer lasting. We love to give our expertise within games to help others. We prefer to be known as an expert more than to be known as the guy that defeats everyone. Of course there are different player-types out there with different bias but in general we are more socializers than killers.

But in business we use incentive systems exact the other way round. Is there something that science knows but business ignores? Yes, definitely. But I don’t think that they really ignore it. It is just much easier to reward a competitve behavior than a social behavior because of metrics.

But, no matter how competitive the industry is, you still need people who know to and also want to collaborate. Even in a cutthroat star system, you need team players. And you know what? The Gamers-generation (and also the digital natives) know how to collaborate. Gamers like people 🙂

So, why shouldn’t we think about how to use the psychological effect of games, concerning our human species and start to use what was build into our DNA (namely Play) to become more engaged and fulfilled while doing our work than ever before?

(Roman is the Founder & CEO of Engaginglab (engaginglab.com), a company that transports ‘game-design-thinking’ combined with ‘motivational & behavior psychology’ into reality.)

“Gamification works by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, by helping to solve problems step by step, and by taking advantage of humans psychological predisposition to engage in gaming.” – Roman Rackwitz (roman@engaginglab.com)


5 thoughts on “…forcing subjects to decide quickly increases contributions

  1. Great post! I agree that forcing subjects to decide quickly increases their input and collaboration! And as they get to “say out loud” their opinion, they are more satisfied too after the end of the meeting. Simple and brilliant! Thank you for posting!

    • Thanks for your comment. It made my day 🙂 Yeah, I think that by creating an environment that is able to answer more effectively on collaboration we would be able to unfold an amazing, natural potential within our species 😉 Competition is more about individual mastering and collaboration is more about social meaning. We need both…

      • Even more than collaboration with your team / people around, I think most of us are gaining the mentality of collaboration with the ecosystem (I do not like this term, but this is the one that works here :)). We basically want to do something useful to the world, to others, to help others grow, because by making others grow we ourselves grow too. I think this is very visible in startup sphere in USA (specially Bay Area) and not so visible in Europe yet. Here people are still thinking that you have to compete to survive and many laugh when you just offer them help with the business. It is interesting to be part of it and to realize the difference in mentality. Your post is a good one. As I said, more than collaboration it is our yardstick to make others grow as we grow. 🙂 🙂

      • “…because by making others grow we ourselves grow too.”

        That’s right and also proven. 🙂
        There is only one thing that trumps the amount of dopamine that is being flushed while wie are getting smarter (or growing ;-)):
        The amount of dopamine that is being flushed within our brain when recognizing that a person that is being mentored by ourselves is getting smarter…”we are growing if others grow” :-). As you see, it is build into our DNA by evolution. It is called Fiero & Naches.

  2. Pingback: Links for October 12, 2012 | Andrzej's Links

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