Digital Strategy

Gamify your digital business model

Encouraging deeper and viral engagement through incorporating game-design elements, rewarding users with digital badges and points.

This Guardian article provides a revealing insight to the practice of ‘Gamification’ – As the term suggests it means adding game elements like challenges, point scoring and badge rewards to organizational activities.

In the article they explore the role it plays in motivating and structuring highly dynamic business models, through analysis of the Lyft platform business model.

Open Digital Badges

Naturally the field of Education is the foundation use case. The building block is the use of ‘Digital Badges’, that are awarded for various achievements, such as passing a particular learning course and therefore acting as a verified credential for that skill.

As Hastac explains :

A digital badge is a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest that can be earned in many learning environments. Open digital badging makes it easy for anyone to issue, earn, and display badges across the web—through an infrastructure that uses shared and open technical technical standards.

Open digital badging makes it easy for anyone to issue, earn, and display badges across the web—through an infrastructure that uses shared and open technical technical standards. Organizations like Credly facilitate their universality across industries.

Participants earn points for various activities and achievements, which you specify both in terms of the goals and also the number earned. You can then also define Ranks, how you progress overall as a result of earning these points, and that can be reflected through a Leaderboard, showcasing the core motivation context.

A pertinent example of how this can be applied in the corporate world is this example of the Scottish Social Services Council uses them to underpin workforce learning. The BCS describes this as the future of professional development, with many organizations like Siemens using them this way.

Digital Business Models

To the core point of this article digital learning technologies aren’t limited only for use in the classroom, they offer a core building block that can be used across multiple scenarios including better online business, indeed they can underpin a super powerful way of better engaging customers.

Example industry scenarios include Healthcare and E-Commerce, and WBT Systems offers this excellent guide explaining how they can be integrated into a business model.

In short it taps the most fundamental human motivator: Fun, to create new ways to engage customers into brand experiences, such as Starbucks integrating them into their MyRewards program, establishing them as a foundational component part of online loyalty engagement methods.

Nike ran a gamified campaign, rewarding those who take part in various sporting activities with badges.

High Performance Organization

The notion it’s just a childish irrelevance especially to business is quickly dispelled when you consider a perfect corporate example: Sales.

As you might imagine this is a super-competitive environment that would naturally and quickly take to structures built around that, and if it works it produces immediate $$ results.

Extreme Networks offer an excellent example of how to use them this way, explaining:

  1. Rewarding Results, it breaks down the big goals ($$ revenues per month) into the smaller goals required to achieve that, eg booking 50 appointments in a quarter.
  2. Job Skills – Salespeople are rewarded for learning about the products and technologies they sell.
  3. Qualities and Team Recognition – An area where simple gestures make big human impact, most notably recognition, and specific ‘Badges of Honour’ towards this validates this in a powerful way. For example badges are awarded for ‘The Shark Wrangler’ and ‘The Junk Yard Dog’. Cheesy to others but the currency of status that sales team thrive on.

As Harvard Business Review describes a number of corporations issue them for completion online ‘social selling’ reps to engage with potential customers online, following the required training to do so. also uses the approach, to train staff and partners on using the technology, via their ‘Trailhead‘ program.


Editor of On a mission to build a world leading Scottish digital nation.

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