What for? To make any kind of human activity more vital and energized as we love playing games exactly for that. Unfortunately, for many reasons, work is not a game but it is still a good stuff for gamification.The question is which elements and principles we can use to gamificate it.

GNS and other matters

Ron Edwards in his GNS theory says that people perceive any game in three ways:

  • as a competition among participants. It includes victory and loss conditions, both short-term and long-term, that reflect on the people’s actual play strategies.
  • as an exploration. Many gamers get fun discovering the possibilities of the world they are playing in. They are being involved in the process via roleplaying characters, passing through situations, investigating system of rules and setting or just immersing into the atmosphere.
  • as a narration. The game turns out to be a story-driven activity based on a conflict in the specialized sense of literary analysis. Players are often considered co-authors and characters are formal protagonists in the classic Lit 101 sense.

Gamification techniques also apply these models. Keep in mind that competitive, explorative and narrative elements can be mixed in a holistic game-like system, however, one of these approaches should be basic otherwise you can destroy the system.

Small zombie toys

The most common and easiest way to gamificate any kind of activity is to transform it into the contest. And here is a real case how to refresh the daily routine of five talented designers who got stuck in their projects.

Dribbble Race

We called this story “Dribbble race” because Dribbble had been chosen as an arena for the internal contest. Each designer one after another had to post on Dribbble one shot on the same topic. In August we sublimated our most secret desires and chose extremely actual one. Yeahhhh, right, that was VACATION TIME! Also we asked our followers to become fair judges to select faves, support juniors and inspire debutants. At the end, we promised to announce the winners (likes spot the victory) and give funny prizes. We launched the project with the sunny task manager from Pavel Novytskyi:

However, our Dribbble Race turned out to be a contest of snails. The next shot appeared only in a week. Yet we were obstinate and ambitious.

Application example

One more summer was over but vacations can happen at any time. On this occasion, Nadia Tiron prepared a lovely set of typical vacation stuff. This shot got into Dribbble debut collection of the week and September collection of best icons.

Typical vacation stuff icons

A new wave of creativity brought an ocean breathing shot from Victoria Valigurskaya. Feel salt on your lips and heartquake in your chest. On September 9 the surfboard concept got into Daily UI newsletter as the best idea of the day for e-commerce. Not bad.

Ocean breathing shot

Audacious Artem Kovalenko offered an experimental concept of self-tuning packing app. Would you trust in self-learning mobile service preparing for a trip? The shot was showcased on IOSUp.

Concept of self-tuning packing app

Gamification techniques you can use

Now let’s take a look at other simple but proven gamification methods you can apply at work. Just bear in mind that many factors are at play here. Before “exhilarating” your employees with the next genius idea, be sure your team won’t meet it with rolling eyes and defeated grunts. And try not to turn your game into a full-blown competition.

Let your employees see their names on a leaderboard

This is a modern take on the proverbial “employee of the month” method of motivation. Despite being an age-old technique, it does work when executed cleverly, helping to motivate your employees. Track and celebrate your employees’ progress while making them feel appreciated for all their work.

Although, implementing this technique correctly requires a lot of thought. So make sure that underperforming workers don’t feel pressured or punished, or this will backfire horribly.

Let your workers play around with Lady Luck

Who doesn’t love freebies? If things get stale at the office, why not galvanize your crew with a good old lottery. The prizes can include potted plants, pens, calendars, or even branded t-shirts. Just make sure there are enough gifts for every participant!

The prospect of winning some goodies just for being a part of an awesome company should excite and motivate even the slowest of employees. It would be a good idea to also introduce a “super prize” thus heating up the interest without causing any hard feelings among the staff. At the end of the day, every member of the team will feel like a winner, and the holder of the super prize won’t be catching any side glances. Luck is a fickle Lady, after all.

Simply give kudos when kudos are due

This is a less direct gamification method, but it still works in a similar way. People enjoy validation. Luckily, plenty of apps and plugins allow presenting each other badges, awards, and even small gifts, subtly showing appreciation and recognition. Better still, many of these apps integrate well with already popular work management applications, eliminating clutter.

It’s easy, it works, and it shouldn’t annoy anyone (unless they’re reeealy cranky, in that case, God help you). A simple badge an employee receives for a job well done can go a long way. Sometimes this is all it takes to make one’s day or the entire week. But then again it all depends on your workplace environment, so keep that in check.


Game is an ancient live structure. Sometimes it can naturally transfigure from within without your permission. In this case, just trust it and have fun.

When our contest was over we realized that despite different numbers of likes all the participants defeated themselves. No time for losers ’cause we are the champions of the world!

Feel free to ask questions to Halo Lab team, that is rated as a Top IT Outsourcing Companies on DesignRush.