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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lessons Learned: Do’s and Don’ts from the Inward/Walmart Gamification Team

This week Inward was fortunate to speak at the Enterprise Gamification Forum in NYC where industry experts gathered to discuss how gamification can be used to motivate and engage people, align internal and external brand values, encourage innovation, and improve the bottom line.  Inward’s own Whitney Cook and Kurt Templeton from Walmart offered some “do’s & don’ts” based on their experience.  
You have to have rigor in the planning process; gamification can’t just be an “add on” tactic to a communications plan.  Before you get started, understand your business objectives, and then develop a strategy and program goals that are aligned with your company culture.  
Collaboration and Competition
At the end of the day, people really love friendly competition.  The most effective gamification programs aren’t top down; they are promoted at the employee level.  Be sure to identify your program champions early on, and encourage those employees to share their excitement with their peers.  A bottom up approach does not exclude the necessity of having a plan.  It’s imperative to have a strategic communications plan that includes word-of-mouth and holistic employee communications.  Make sure that employees at all levels of your organization understand the goals and rules of your gamification program. Simply and clearly communicate what the program means for your employees and how they can get involved.  
Assume Nothing
Avoid group think and untested assumptions. Once you’ve developed your plan, get out in the field and test it with your employees.  Focus groups, pilot programs, even anonymous feedback is critical in the development process.  
Kurt Templeton drove this point home with a great anecdote.  The Inward/Walmart team was out in the field getting feedback from associates on the test program; Kurt says that one memorable associate was excited; he wanted to learn more about the department he works in.  “And that,” Kurt says, “is priceless.”  

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