Then the software isn’t worth using in the first place!
When Pierre mentioned a YouTube video of a “first-person shooter” (FPS) game for SAP PO (Purchase Order) approvers to blow away those pesky POs in his recent piece on Gamification in Procurement (Plus content on Spend Matters), I thought he was being satirical! But he was being factual. And it’s pathetic that this concept exists.
While I agree that gamification has potential as a learning tool, the fact that you have to consider putting games inside your software to get people to use it says, no, screams something — YOUR SOFTWARE SUCKS and no one should be using it in the first place when there are dozens of other options.
In other words, when Pierre said that this is where gamification really runs the risk of going off the rails and resembling the proverbial hammer looking for the nail I not only have to agree, but take it one step further and emphatically state that this is where gamification goes completely off the rails.
Supply Management technology should help you get your job done efficiently and effectively. If it’s done right, and accomplishes this goal, you will want to use it because you’re overworked, underpaid, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done and get home before it’s time to go to bed and start the cycle all over again. Because, while you like games, you’d rather go home and play a tabletop Euro-game with your family where you not only get to challenge your problem solving skills and teach the next generation the basics of supply and demand and resource management, but actually enjoy some time with your family.
So, while Pierre is right in that games, properly applied, can be powerful learning tools (and why SI ran a whole series on the Board Gamer’s Guide to Supply Management), they are educational and modelling tools that need to be used appropriately — not misused to mask crappy software. So, when it comes to games, apply the theory (and, yes, game theory is great), and leave the FPS to the war-gamers.