Consider this: two-thirds of digital transformation projects fail mainly due to workforce behavioral issues[i]. Employee resistance and disengagement are major hurdles to digital transformation. In a sense, this is as it ever was: employee engagement has always been critical to driving any organizational change and digital transformation is no exception. When employees feel connected and engaged with organizational objectives, they are likely to put in 57% more effort[ii]. Therefore, the question remains: how can organizations turn disinterested and apathetic employees into enthusiastic digital advocates and ambassadors? A key factor can be gamification – the use of game design techniques in an enterprise environment to make tasks fun and engaging.

While gamification is expanding and growing, its roots have been around for some time now.  Electronic Arts (founded 1982), Zynga and Pogo have created entire businesses out of games with the ubiquitous Farmville, Cityville and Madden NFL games keeping audiences engaged worldwide. Mainstream organizations are now waking up to the fact that the practices developed in electronic games can be a powerful force for driving digital transformation and organizational change.  We believe there are five principal ways this happens:  change management, employee engagement, employee training and learning, innovation and process efficiency.

The Business Impact of Enterprise Gamification

Gamification positively affects five key business areas: change management, employee engagement, employee training and learning, innovation and process efficiency.

Source: Capgemini Consulting Analysis


1. Lowers resistance

Real-time feedback and awards incentivize employees to adapt to new processes and systems. When a mid-sized firm rolled out its new event logging system, it didn’t find too many takers. To increase adoption of the new system, the company decided to run a week-long sales competition where every event logged would get a point and the employee with the highest points would get a $100 gift certificate to a local restaurant. That same week, the number of events logged shot up over 750%. Four weeks into the contest, the number of events logged increased by six times[iii].

2. Provides recognition

Gamification sets short-term achievable goals, provides real-time feedback and recognizes accomplishments – all of which drive employee engagement and motivation. When LiveOps Inc. wanted to improve the performance of its 20,000 call agents, it gamified its processes by converting them into a competition. It began awarding agents with virtual badges and points for tasks such as keeping calls brief and closing sales. Leader boards allowed the agents to compare their achievements with their peers. The result: reduced call times by 15% and improved sales by 12%[iv].

3. Accelerates learning

Even with digital training programs in place, employees often fail to take away key learnings. However, add in a few game mechanics to the training program and it can accelerate learning. InMobi, an Indian mobile advertising startup, certainly benefited from its gamified onboarding process. The company partnered with a gamification company to deliver new hire orientation as an online social game where new hires would learn about different aspects of the company through a gamified experience in a team setting. Top scorers were awarded badges, points and prizes. The initiative resulted in a more engaged and productive workforce faster than previously experienced[v].

4. Fosters innovation

Real innovation is only possible when ideas are collaborative and inclusive. New gamification techniques such as crowd-sourcing are already popular across organizations, even the public sector. For instance, the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) created a market game called “Idea Street” to decentralize its innovation process and crowd-source ideas from across the organization. They used game mechanics such as points, leader boards and a “buzz index” to motivate the employees. Within the first 12 months, this exercise generated 1,400 ideas, 63 of which went forward for implementation and the organization is expected to save £20 million by 2014-2015[vi].

5. Streamlines processes  

Gamification streamlines processes to aid an organization’s cost reduction strategy. When a US insurance giant was struggling with its time-consuming claims processing, it decided to reach out to its employees for ideas and suggestions on improving the process. The company used a gamified social innovation tool for this; the initiative was a hugely successful, with self-driven participation from employees – even with no reward component attached. The result: a simplified workflow and process, which saved the company $18 million a year, not to mention improved worker satisfaction as well[vii].

Our research has shown us that Digital Transformation needs to be led from the top. However, this strong vision and leadership needs to be tied to a coherent engagement and mobilization exercise. It’s clear that when game elements are thrown into the mix, the pace of change is unprecedented. Indeed, it’s no surprise then that by 2015, one out of every two organizations will have gamified their processes[viii]. Are you in the gamification zone yet? For more information, please see our recent paper on gamification:

[i] “Transform to the Power of Digital – Digital Transformation as a Driver of Corporate Performance”, Capgemini Consulting, 2011
[ii] “The Role of Employee Engagement in the Return to Growth”, Business week, August 2010
[iii] Gamification Facts & Figures:`
[iv] Gamification Facts & Figures:`
[v] Case study from Mindtickle
[vi] Government Computing, “Gamification for the public good”, June 2011
[vii] Gamification Facts & Figures:
[viii] Gartner, “Gartner Predicts Over 70 Percent of Global 2000 Organisations Will Have at Least One Gamified Application by 2014”, November 2012