Societal Damnation 49: Gamification

Gamification, a noun defined as the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service, as per the Oxford Dictionaries, is also a damnation that you need to contend with on a daily basis in Procurement.

Why is gamification a damnation? Especially since, as per Merriam Webster, it’s supposed to encourage participation as it is supposed to be, according to Wikipedia, enjoyable and motivating. There are a plethora of reasons, including:

Definitions Vary

There is really no standard definition of gamification. To see this, all one has to do is go to their favourite e-book store, download the five cheapest e-books on the subject (which may even be free), and read the first few pages. Some are focussed on the incorporation of traditional game elements, whether they make sense or not; others on team building, regardless if it is game-like or not; and others on getting marketing success or social media penetration at any cost.

Gamification is often rooted in RPGs or Video Games

Yes, RPGs are the classic team-building cooperation games and video games are all the rage, but not everyone likes RPGs (because they think of D&D and basement dwellers*) or video games (because they think of computer geeks and basement dwellers*), and not all RPGs and video games are the right fit for the task at hand.

Most of it is marketing or social media focussed

Which means that most of it is used by marketing and social media and directed at you by marketers to try and daze and confuse you, and does not help you do your job in any way.

Anything not marketing focussed is team building focussed

There are a number of methodologies out there for team building. Gamification provides little additional value in this regard unless you’re playing games that everyone likes that builds camaraderie.

As Procurement professionals, there’s nothing for us

When it comes to gamification, nothing has been developed for us. Nothing to help us. Nothing to teach us. And the beer game doesn’t count. It hasn’t been updated in fifty years, doesn’t capture the complexity of modern supply chains, and has over a dozen failings that need to be addressed in order to be useful. It’s primarily a logistics and inventory model that just doesn’t cut it in today’s just-in-time supply chain world.

In short you don’t know what it is, it hasn’t been used to help you, and suppliers’ marketers will be hitting you with their perverted version of it through broken social media channels on a regular basis. It’s a continual annoyance that serves as the background music of your eternal Procurement damnation.

* Stereotypes die hard.