Gamification is the use of game methods and game thinking in order to engage users or solve problems. It is an innovative crowdsourcing technique which is gaining increasingly widespread acceptance in business, education and research.
For example Cancer Research UK has launched GeneGame, a smartphone app that challenges users to form the best combinations of genes – aiding research in the area in the process. It was created by games developer Guerilla Tea, at a Cancer Research UK hackathon.
Researchers have reams of data about genes and their role in diseases such as cancer. In order to produce reliable results from these datasets, it’s necessary to combine at least 25 different variables each time for each human gene – of which there are around 20,000. Rather than leaving this job up to researchers alone, the GeneGame app turns these combinations into winning ‘hands’ that the player has to build using their knowledge or searching the web for answers. The best players get to show off their knowledge through league placings, which researchers can then use to find out the players that are producing the most reliable datasets. More details from Springwise.
Mathletics is a site which encourage students of all abilities to learn and enjoy mathematics by taking part in games and challenges. It is used by over 10,000 schools and 3.5 million students aged from 5 to 18 from around the world. It tailors the games to the individual strengths and weaknesses of the student.
Health Care educators at the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing have collaborated with the technology company, VitalSims, to launch web-based interactive games that challenge nursing students with real-life scenarios.
The University of Washington developed a game called Foldit, which encourages players to compete in science puzzles such as manipulating proteins into more efficient structures. According to the science journal Nature, Foldit’s players delivered better results than computer generated outcomes.
Restaurant.com is a dining deal website. It has developed a game called Restaurant.com Rewards . According to Chris Kohn, President of Restaurant.com, ‘customers earn points, badges, and rewards for completing specific tasks and missions. For example, our most popular badge is the “Sherlock Holmes,” which customers earn simply by searching for a restaurant. The most popular mission is “Creation Station” that challenges members to create an account, visit our home page, and search for a restaurant to earn rewards for completing all three steps.’
Gamification can increase traffic to your website and improve user engagement. More importantly it can be used to answer important questions and solve problems for your business.
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Paul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.