The New Science of “Engagement Behaviorization” - How Badgeville is Fully Exploiting The Number 1 Critical Success Factor in Gamification

Badgeville: The Future of "Engagement Behaviorization"

An 80% Failure Rate For Gamification? - Don't People Get Bored of Video Games? 

So we've all heard by now that over 80% of all current gamification applications will fail to meet their stated business objects – not a salient marketing point for the gamification industry!  

So what distinguishes between highly effective gamification implementations and the high rate of failure? Why are 80% of gamification applications failing as we speak? Because they lack the mother of all game mechanics!  They fail to fully exploit what I call – “Engagement Behaviorization.”

In this post I explain exactly what I mean by engagement Behaviorization and share some stunning examples from the world’s leading gamification and engagement behaviorization company – Badgeville. 

I also share what I’m sure will become an industry best practice in terms of the training and development of gamification professionals: a state of the art certification process that will enable gamification thought leaders, game designers and engagement interventionists to actually become full fledge applied behavioral scientists in under a year –while they work!

What is Engagement Behaviorization?

Engagement Behaviorization is the application of a handful of the most effective of applied behavioral science intervention strategies to meet one of the greatest challenges facing modern organizations of all shapes and sizes: Increasing Active Employee Engagement and decreasing Active Employee Disengagement.

Engagement Behaviorization is also about developing, testing and implementing behavior based strategies for increasing active customer engagement levels for continuous improvement. It’s the radical application development of radical behavioral science.

  Applied Behavioral Science, also known as applied behavior analysis (ABA) represents the culmination of over a century’s worth of studying how to shape and change human and animal behavior.

The result is an evidence-based body of knowledge and practice of human behavior change and motivation. There are no grandiose or abstract theories in applied behavioral science – only a tool chest of proven to work behavior change and motivational enhancement tools that can do everything from curing autism and clinical depression to providing the most incredible human performance management results imaginable. 

If it changes old undesired behavior to a new desired behavior or shapes and accelerates new behavior where none existed before – it’s probably part of the applied behavioral science tool chest. 

The world’s leading gamification company: Badgeville  (that's their infographic up there) has caught on to the basic ideas and practices from applied behavioral science and more specifically, engagement Behaviorization in a big way! And you need to do the same if you plan to compete  and survive in the gamification industry. 

The Top 3 Practices of Engagement Behaviorization with Stunning Examples from The Badgeville Behavior Platform

1.       Focus on Observable Behaviors (Operationalize Behavior Targets and Goals)

The most important goal of gamification for increased customer and employee engagement is to first define the tangible and observable target behaviors that precisely define active engagement (the specific behavior you want shape or amplify one by one) within a given customer or employee population.

2.       Focus on IndividualsApplied behavioral science is all about the individual. They call it single subject design.  For example, advanced gamification Jedis’ know that financial compensation (the norm in organizational compensation management processes) may be effective sources of positive reinforcement for one person and not for another.

A top sales rep with a six figure salary may not get much motivation out of a $10,000 sales bonus if he's has over a million dollars in debt. In fact a special bag of treats for his dog, who he has not seen all day may a far more effective source of motivation for him. 

Engagement Behaviorization is all about real time data collection also known as “reinforce assessment”, to see what motivates each person individually.

Ahhh Badgeville! 

As Badgeville might tell you (if you work for them), points, levels, social status titles and yes – even badges, are only as effective at shaping desired follower behavior as the saliency of their “backup reinforces”.  

Points and badges need to be cashed in for what is most meaningful and desirable to the follower. Points like money have no value if you can’t cash them in for what you really love.  Points, levels and titles without back-up reinforces are like money you can’t use to buy anything.

3.       The Ultimate Game Mechanic - Positive Reinforcement Yes - the ultimate game design principle is all about knowing how to shape the desired human behaviors that your gamification intervention is targeting. And the best available behavioral science tells us that the very definition of what shapes and motivates behaviors is what’s called positive reinforcement.

Positive Reinforcement is anything that follows a behavior (say , earning points or a new social status badge, winning  $10,000, having a donation made on your behalf to your favorite charity with a public statement of formal recognition (all though for shy people this can be clinically speaking a form of punishment!)  a free gourmet coffee or a new bag of gourmet pet treats) and increases the likelihood of the reoccurrence of that behavior  under similar conditions in the future.  

The great thing about positive reinforcement is that by its very definition it can't fail to get it’s intended results –and the gamification business is all about results!

Positive reinforcement is as counterintuitive as it is simple. For example, most positive reinforcement for the vast majority of human behavior takes place within a couple of seconds of each behavior taking place - although some reinforcement can be delayed as in the backup reinforcement process described above.  It can also be intermittent with the kind of variable rates of reinforcement casinos use to rake in millions from slot machines.   

As I like to say: The time is coming when the gamification of active customer and employee engagement will become indistinguishable from behavior based performance management.  

Some new gamification startup is going to strike it seriously rich when they finally connect with the father of “performance management” (he actually coined the phrase) and the application of positive reinforcement in organizational settings Dr. Aubrey Daniels. I only want a 3% finder’s fee when you do capitalize on his consultation about how to really rocket fuel the future of gamification harnessing the extraordinary power of positive reinforcement.

A Conceptual Challenge for you serious game designers and thought leaders: How would you implement the Premack principle in game design? It's a powerful cascading self reinforcement mechanism. If you're sequencing targeted tasks anyway - you need to be implementing this principle!  

Connect with us via Twitter: @P2PEngagement

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