The Gui Challenge: why gamification works

Finding the right people has always been top priority for consultancy companies. At <a href=”http://www.valtech.se”>Valtech Sweden</a> one competency seemed especially difficult to recruit: the Gui developers. The recruiting ads, which ran constantly, where formulated according to common standards: “This is what you will be working with” followed by “This is what we expect from you”. Although Valtech stated they were ahead in web development with stimulating Gui projects, the interest was low. It was as if there were no Gui developers out there at all.

Clearly something had to be done to the situation. Something different in order to reach those who didn’t want to be reached. The answer came from people working with Gui issues within Valtech Sweden.

”Offer them something unexpected, challenge their creativity, knowledge and experiences. Make it easy and attractive at first. Something you know the answer to without spending too much of that precious time. Then raise the complexity. Make them feel this is for real, not just some advertising trick to get them on the hook. Make it exclusive enough so they feel a need to share their results with friends and the friends of their friends. Make them realize they are better than the rest. A selected and rare society of people.”

<a href=”http://www.valtech.se/GUI-Challenge/”>The Gui challenge </a>was born.

It consists of 9 problem based tasks with increasing complexity all the way till the final task. The rules of the game are stated in the beginning: the total number of tasks, what happens after the final task (that Valtech would like to contact those of you who succeed in the game) and so on.

The Gui challenge was spread only through social media channels as Facebook and Twitter. After the first month, 4000 people had visited the Gui Challenge. On one single day the number was 2000. All of a sudden you spotted people sitting at customer´s offices trying to solve the Gui challenge. There was even a clip on YouTube revealing the answers to the challenge.

Even though cheating wasn’t the way to go, the Gui challenge really got an impact on the target group. 130 developer succeeded in the game which made the number of leads rose from 0 to 130 in a few weeks time.

<em>Why did the Gui challenge turn out to be more successful than traditional recruiting ads? With traditional recruiting ads, the candidate engages in applying for a job whereas for the Gui challenge he or she engages in a game, not necessarily being willing to change occupation, not at least at first :-)</em><em>. Gamification is about attracting those not desperate to engage in your offer but having a hard time turning down a real challenge when they see one.</em>

<em>Recognize children’s clothing issues in the morning? When you desperately tell them to get dressed and there is no reaction at all. ”</em><em>Let´s compete about it and see who gets dressed the first!” 30 seconds later the children </em><em>are all dressed, ready for breakfast. :-)</em>

Tweet-commerce: service on demand

Two colleges of mine, <a href=”http://twitter.com/#!/lifeonmarw”>Marwin</a> and <a href=”http://twitter.com/#!/Joopey”>Daniel</a>, went to Austin to attend the SXSW-conference. While in Austin, Marwin wanted to find a new pair of Jefferson´s by Native shoes.
The conference was really intense and Marwin longed for some spare time in the afternoon. Spare time he´d rather spend relaxing in a bar than running around Austin trying to find the shoes.
–       Why don’t you tweet about it? Daniel suggested sitting next to him in the crowded conference hall.

Marwin (lifeonmarw) tweeted:

<strong>lifeonmarw:
</strong>”Where can I buy Native shoes in Austin? <span style=”color: #808080;”>#sxsw</span> any tips? <span style=”color: #808080;”>#nativeshoes”</span>

30 seconds later someone attending the conference replied to his tweet.

<span style=”color: #808080;”>”@lifeonmarw </span>Nordstrom at barton creek square mall”

He decided to check out the store in the afternoon since it wasn´t that far to walk. One minute later Native Shoes the company replied twice to Marwins tweet.

<strong>nativeshoes:
</strong><span style=”color: #808080;”>”@lifeonmarw</span> try Complete Clothing in Austin [<span style=”color: #808080;”>link</span>]”

<strong>nativeshoes:
</strong><span style=”color: #808080;”>”@lifeonmarw</span> <span style=”color: #808080;”>@shoebacca</span> is also a texas based online retailer”

-Check this out! Marwin said. I got two answers from Native shoes themselves in less than a minute after my tweet. That´s what I call a quick response, don’t you think!
-Indeed it was, Daniel said. And all you did was to use the hash tag <span style=”color: #808080;”>#nativeshoes</span>. At least you have some leads of where to buy them now.

One minute later Marwin got another reply to his tweet. This time it was from Shoebacca, one of the stores selling the shoes in Austin.

<strong>shoebacca:
</strong><span style=”color: #808080;”>”@nativeshoes</span> thanks for the shout out and recommendation! <span style=”color: #808080;”>@lifeonmarw</span> let us know if we can help [<span style=”color: #808080;”>link to shoebacca</span>] :-)”

-Wow, Marwin shouted to Daniel. I am about to tweet myself a new pair of shoes!

<strong>lifeonmarw:
</strong><span style=”color: #808080;”>”@shoebacca</span> wow! great support! Only online? At SXSW. Thanx for the help!”

<strong>shoebacca:
</strong><span style=”color: #808080;”>”@lifeonmarw</span> we´re online only but check out our speedy shipping options here [<span style=”color: #808080;”>link</span>]. Hope you have a blast at <span style=”color: #808080;”>#sxsw</span>!”

– It looks like I am in for a drink later on after all, he said with a smile. The supplier just solved my problem.

The hunt for new shoes was over.

<em>It is time to step out of your site and face your customer. Do not limit your service to one single place. Be responsive and offer it where your customers are. Do you have the guts to sit and wait for them to find you?</em>

Waiting for Messiah

<a href=”http://www.storytella.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/jesus2.jpg”><img class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-119″ title=”jesus” src=”http://www.storytella.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/jesus2-150×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a>It was the day for the new website to reveal itself to the organization. Many had waited a long time for this to come true. The era of frustration and resignation was now finally about to end.
The site had been developed for almost a year. Project managers, interaction designers, art directors and developers were the ones that had made it happen. The solution had been tested iteratively into perfection on several real users.

There was an air of excitement among the editors in the conference room today. Finally they were about to witness the birth of a system supposed to solve everything that didn´t work today.

Dorothy who had been an editor for almost a decade watched the project team demonstrating the features of the new website. This was something completely different from today´s disaster. Different but not familiar in a way that Dorothy had hoped for. There were several parts in the current system not present in the new one. Where would they place all their content? A heavy weight of content without destination carried on her shoulders.
– Will there be any training for the editors, she asked.
– No, there is no budget for that kind of activities, the project manager answered.
The project manager referred to a manual containing over 100 pages for them to read.
– Everything is in the manual, he said.
– Wouldn’t it be easier if we have someone to ask directly, she said?
– I recommend you to start with the manual, he answered.
Dorothy glanced at the manual and all the text. It didn’t look easy at all actually.

When the demonstration team with all their promising ideas of the new concept had left, the editors sat silently in the room. The former feeling of energy had now been extinguished. exhausted.
Dorothy opened her mouth first:
– Since it´s only three weeks left until launch of the new site, I suggest we just copy-paste all content from the old site to a container in the new one. Then when all content is in place, it´ll be easier to transform.
Everyone agreed. No one had time to think any further about it since they had to go back and publish content in the current system anyway.

On launching day, the project team was pleased they made it on time. There was just one problem.  None of the cool features and tailored content for the users where in place. On the other side of the site, there was an editor group who didn’t understand the concept left with a manual of 100 pages.

<em>No system in the world will be the answer to your prayers on its own.The realization and success of a new concept lay in the hands of those raising and governing it. Make sure they are part of the solution early. Otherwise they will be part of the problem later on.</em>