Gamification 2.0: The Global Language of Data, Competition and Opportunity - Part 1
June 07, 2021

Michael P. Morris
Topcoder

Gamification is serious business. According to a recent report, the gamification market is projected to grow from $9.1 billion in 2020 to $30.7 billion by 2025.


Photo Source: chess.com

While the term artfully captures the fun of scoring points and competing against others (and ourselves), gamification is driving profound economic and cultural changes in how human beings perceive and pursue work. Every business endeavor involves behavioral psychology, so integrating the propensity adult brains have for dopamine and the positive feelings associated with playing games into business strategies makes good financial and operational sense.

Data, Life and the Petri Dish of Chess

The world revolves around data. Through gamification environments and systems, businesses gather minute, specific pieces of data that provide valuable insight.

For example, in chess — a game so pure and clean it's like a petri dish for data — a player's ranking is incredibly meaningful. Through rankings, the global chess community (regardless of geolocation, culture, gender, etc.) compares all chess players: it's as if the entire chess universe is one giant university with a singular class ranking list. If someone has a rank that is higher or lower than another player, that information is important, especially to players who want to know how they compare to peers.

Chess rankings, however, are not actually about who is going to win or lose when two players compete. Chess rankings provide a predictive model that contextualizes every competitor a player has played against (and every competitor that player has played against) and the competitors those players competed with, and so on. With all that detailed data, a simple predictive algorithm is created that characterizes how well a player will perform based on their history versus the person they're competing against and their history.

The application of the chess rankings model can be used in other disciplines, too, but while chess is petri-dish clean, life is broken-dish messy. In any business environment, we need to factor in additional human elements and team dynamics, which can be a bit more difficult to translate into ones and zeros.

Community, Passion and Self-Fulfillment

Like playing chess, solving a math problem is a clean process from a data perspective — and so is comparing different peoples' raw talent to solve math problems. Continuing this logic, a math problem is really just a computer science problem, like building an application. Gamifying the building of applications and extrapolating data from those engagements is changing the course of innovation in the tech industry.

In fact, gamification is where many professionals in the IT disciplines (design, development, data science, testing, etc.) started as children — competing against peers and themselves for achievement and fun. On a deeper level, gamification taps a powerful and productive instinct: from Fortnite and Candy Crush to March Madness and the Olympics, people are programmed to love games and competition, and no one knows this more than programmers who crave a challenge.

Competition has also been proven to build community. When individuals and teams compare successes and failures a unique bond is created. A shared sense of struggle, challenge and triumph galvanize people in significant ways. Leader boards, rankings, recognitions and rewards are entertaining and shareable, which helps foster a collective experience.

It's important to note that, on the surface, competitive aspects may appear to drive engagement. However, the true motivating force is the feeling of being appreciated as an individual as well as a key member of a community that shares your values and respects what you bring to the table. The rankings and results, as in the world of chess, create an inertia that moves a community forward and compels individuals to seek ways to improve their standing, professional journey and position within a group.

Go to: Start with Gamification 2.0: The Global Language of Data, Competition and Opportunity - Part 2

Michael P. Morris is CEO of Topcoder
Share this

Industry News

January 13, 2022

Infragistics announced the release of Infragistics Ultimate 21.2.

January 13, 2022

Jitterbit acquired PrimeApps, a Turkey-based innovator in low-code application development.

January 13, 2022

Mirantis announced the release of Mirantis Secure Registry (MSR) 3.0, which supports usage across any Kubernetes distribution.

January 12, 2022

DevOps Institute announced its lineup for 2022 events and webinars and plans for two new DevOps certifications.

January 12, 2022

Oxeye unveiled an open-source initiative with the introduction of Ox4Shell.

January 12, 2022

Quali Torque platform is now available to Microsoft Azure users on the Azure Marketplace.

January 11, 2022

CircleCI announced a free tier for CI/CD.

January 11, 2022

GlobalLogic, a Hitachi Group Company, announced availability of OpeNgine version 2.1.

January 11, 2022

The Application Security Division of NTT introduced the next phase of The WhiteHat Vantage Platform, Vantage Prevent, a patented solution that enables enterprises to conduct dynamic application security testing (DAST) at each phase of the development cycle and prevent exploitable vulnerabilities from reaching production.

January 10, 2022

BrowserStack announced the acquisition of Nightwatch.js, the open-source test automation framework.

January 06, 2022

BMC announced new capabilities and integrations across its BMC AMI (Automated Mainframe Intelligence) and BMC Compuware portfolios.

January 06, 2022

ShiftLeft announced that its Intelligent-SCA product added scanning and attackability analysis for JavaScript (JS) and the TypeScript (TS) language to the ShiftLeft CORE platform.

January 06, 2022

Progress announced the latest release of Progress Fiddler Everywhere, its popular web debugging proxy tool.

January 05, 2022

Solo.io announced a new open-source project, BumbleBee, that simplifies the developer experience for building, packaging, and distributing eBPF tools.

January 05, 2022

Forty8Fifty Labs and Old Street Solutions announced that they are partnering in the development and delivery of solutions that simplify the collaboration and use of Atlassian Jira and Confluence.