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The Role of Shamification in Gamification in Enterprise Mobility

Peter Rogers
Gartner's Hype Cycle 2014 is out and "gamification" has already peaked and is now heading downward on the cycle toward the trough of disillusionment. In this article my colleague and mobile expert Peter Rogers introduces the next emerging concept - shamification. Please forgive his many strange spelling habits as he is English and can't help it.

The common consensus is that any kind of mobile workflow that requires manual user interaction needs some kind of incentive to drive correct behaviours and focus.  This generally involves rewarding the user in some fashion for their efforts: badges; points; a leaderboard of people completing the task; head to head battles; prizes; etc. It's all very positive reinforcement which is popular in our current educational system.

I don't always subscribe to positive reinforcement, and sometimes the darker part of my soul requires Tough Love.  With that in mind I would like to introduce a concept called Shamification. It's basically the dark side of Gamification and relies on old school humiliation as a tool.
Shame, shame!

This is best illustrated through the popular Internet Movie Database website (IMDB). You will often find yourself checking on the worst 100 films as often as the best 100 films. The showcasing and revelling in abject failure is a critical part of British Society and here the biggest failures are paraded for group humiliation.

I see a similar development in mobile apps I call Shamification. You shame the worst performing users into doing the task through a leaderboard that gleefully revels in both the top 10 and the bottom 10 performers.

Indeed Grand Theft Auto 3 (two iterations before what we (aka me) is currently playing) had some elements of this whereby your avatar got fat if you performed badly, and this attracted abuse from people on the street, "Hey lard ass fancy a donut?"

I laugh at gamification critics that claim people are not competitive. We expose this fallacy by pointing to the numbers of consumers playing mobile games - hundreds of millions.

In the new Kim Kardasian's Hollywood app, you strive to gain popularity (in a virtual world) by spending real money.  It is being forecasted to generate $200 million in revenues!  People are investing real-world dollars to avoid being unpopular and shamed!

I predict it won't be long before shaming enters mainstream enterprise mobility apps.  What if productivity falls in your department and your enterprise mobility app avatar slowly morphs into an unattractive loser? Yikes!  The dark side of gamification is coming!  If you give me your credit card number and buy enough points, I can ensure you remain at least attractive.

What do you think?

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Editor
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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Kevin Benedict is an opinionated futurist, Principal Analyst at the Center for Digital Intelligence™, C4DIGI.com, emerging technologies analyst, and digital transformation and business strategy consultant. In the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. He spent nearly 5 years working as a Senior Analyst at Cognizant (CTSH), and 2 years serving in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work where he wrote many reports, hundreds of articles, interviewed technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries. He has written articles published in The Guardian, wrote the Forward to SAP Press' book titled "Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP", published over 3,000 articles and was featured as thought leader and digital strategist in the Department of Defense's IQT intelligence journal. Kevin lectures and leads workshops, teaches and consults with companies and government agencies around the world to help develop digital transformation and business strategies. Visit his website at C4DIGI.com.