Gamification Applied to Business: the Power (and the Art) of Involvement

In our post entitled “Gamification: from B2C to B2B?” we have concentrated on the definition of Gamification, understood as the application of game logics to various contexts, from e-learning apps for foreign language learning, to those for personal and work productivity management, up to the world of business. Also in this context, the number of applications using game-typical elements multiply: it does happen in B2C with applications created above all for the retail world to loyalize customers, but also in B2B, where competition and reward mechanisms can be used to incentivize sales, increase team-spirit feeling and create trustworthy relationships with customers.

But which is the engine behind gamification? An interesting and, at the same time, fascinating approach is the one described in the book “The Art of Involvement”, by Fabio Viola and Vincenzo Idone Cassone, who highlight the 3 involvement dynamics:

  1. Attraction: It is the spark that arouses interest and must be fed so that it does not quickly extinguish. It is beauty, seduction, fascination. They are the colourful and gaudy Lego blocks, a kind of little multishape treasure inviting us to create new realities.
  2.  (Inter)action: It is the new step, taking us to be completely immersed in what we do, in unison with the instrument we are playing or the performance we are doing and which is masterfully reproduced in the world of videogames, which make us lose our sense of time and space, mesmerized by the screen in front of us. Going on with the Lego metaphor, it is the possibility of physically wedging a piece into the other producing new combinations, following precise instructions or giving a free hand to our creativity.
  3. Experience: It is what takes memories, sensations, people or spaces back to our mind, moments that remain in our memory, result of our re-elaboration so that they can be shared and repeated. In the Lego world they are the infinite universes and sceneries that may take shape starting from coloured blocks and which allow us to reproduce real and fantastic worlds, to remember with nostalgia and share with others.

But moving forward and examining the world of videogames more attentively, involvement is also analyzed from a temporal point of view, as a set of repeated actions which generate habits according to a cycle that starts from the motivation and interest at the base of any action, born from an occasion: that is, a condition right to perform the action desired, and is expressed in the action, which is the set of operations to be carried out, structured in a constant and repetitive way, to be able to comprehend and perfect ourselves along the way. The cycle ends up with the response, understood first of all as feedback, but also as a reward, capable of generating an emotion, fundamental for the start of a new cycle.

Thanks to a circular involvement approach (Motivation, Occasion, Action, Response – source: “The Art of Involvement” written by Viola and Cassone), according to the authors, it is possible to adopt tools to: create involvement when it does not exist, support it where it might decrease and find the ways to conclude a captivating experience in the best possible manner; this being true not only for the videogame world, but also in everyday reality, from school to business.