The below gamification problem was provided as part of Gamification Course conducted by very honourable Mr. Kevin Werbach. Many thanks for conducting the course. It was thoroughly enjoyable.
You are approached by Rashmi Horenstein, the CEO of ShareAll, a prominent company in the hot collaborative consumption space. (If you aren’t familiar with the concept, some good resources are CollaborativeConsumption.com and the March 9, 2013 cover story in the Economist.) She knows you are one of the top experts on gamification, which she has heard can revolutionize business. She asks you to present a proposal for a gamified system to take her business to the next level.
ShareAll’s mission is to make shared use of products and services as common as individual purchases. It follows the path of companies such as AirBnB, Buzzcar, and Uber, which allow sharing of particular products (cars, housing, etc). ShareAll’s patented technology makes it easy for consumers and business to share any product or service. ShareAll has also developed a global virtual currency, called Shares, which can be used to purchase access to any asset in the system. Shares can be exchanged for real money, and users can generate more Shares by sharing items or volunteering their time to complete tasks for others.
ShareAll charges a small transaction fee whenever Shares are generated, traded, or spent. Therefore, the more activity, the more money ShareAll makes. Horenstein tells you that she cares about the social benefits of sustainability. However, ShareAll is a for-profit company, with investments and partnerships from some of the world’s largest corporations, so profits matter. Horenstein believes gamification could significantly help ShareAll’s business. She is eager to read your ideas.
Gamification Solution Ideas
Please note that below ideas are my own & should not be copied without due permission.
- Build a user base
As the company wants to become a household name, it is essential that the company builds up a BIG user base. In addition, the business model of the company necessitates that the company has as big a user base as possible. Therefore it should be the first big item on the list of business objectives.
- Establish credibility
In addition to establishing user base, the company needs to ensure that it is seen as a credible company. And, does not have trust issues. Trust and increasing user base should complement each other, wherein the more trusted the brand becomes, the more people use it, and vice versa.
- Social sharing
Since the company wants to become a household name, it is imperative that is gets in front of as many ‘eyeballs’ as possible. Therefore, encouraging social behaviour should be one of the business objectives.
- Share on social networks i.e. facebook, twitter et al
We want customers to share as much of their “ShareAll activity” on social networks as possible. This is one of the key behaviour that is expected of our Players.
- Reasoning for not using sharing for a specific product type or service type
As sharing products/services (not facebook sharing) is the key underlying factor, we want Players to reveal their reasons for not sharing certain items/services. This will help us to spot a pattern for a certain product/service, if one exists.
- Inventory building
We expect our Players to put up products/services for sharing, thus building up the inventory for the ShareAll system. This behaviour should be encouraged as much as possible, as the inventory is the heart & soul of the system.
- The Owner/Sharer
This player type represents the section of players, who own items, and put them up for sharing with others. In terms of services, these are Players who seek services from others.
- The User
This player type represents the section of players who will be users of the products, and not necessarily the owners. Also, they will be keen to offer services to others.
- The Money maker
This category represents Players whose objective is to make money out of the system i.e. exchange virtual Shares with real money. Among others, some House wives/husbands can probably fall in this category.
- The Ethical sharer
This category represents Players who share because of ethical reasons i.e. help others save money, if possible etc.
- The compulsive sharer/user
This category represents people who use the system because of their compulsions to do the activity itself. They are not necessarily interested in the money aspect or the ethical aspect, but purely the game.
- Shares – Global currency
A user would be able to earn shares by using the system i.e. when the user puts a product up for sharing with others, he will get certain shares. He also earns shares every time his service/product is ‘consumed’ by others.
- Product / service quality
Each share will contribute towards the overall quality of the product / service being offered. i.e. a 5-star system can be devised to help users gauge the relative quality of the item (product/service) vis-a-vis other competing items. When the person using the product/service has availed the benefit, he would have to provide 1-5 stars, depending upon his experience. Based on this, the overall quality of the product/service can be derived.
- Product/service use feedback
Every time a product / service is used, the owner of the item would also provide feedback to establish the quality of returned items / services. e.g. if the user damaged the product, then that should be factored in the feedback.
For this purpose, a user should have a feedback rating assigned as well. This will be similar in concept to eBay seller rating.
- Encouraging site visits
In order to encourage site visits and make the users stick around, we should also think about giving some shares to the ‘browsers’. This is similar in concept to the points that Samsung gives to users for staying on the site. The longer & more frequent the visits, the better the business.
- Encouraging sharing
Users can earn badges et al by using ShareAll at certain levels. This will appeal to those people, who are badge-lovers. At every X level, you will get a badge. i.e. after your item has been shared 10 times, or you have used the ShareAll service 10 times, you accumulate the badges etc. Also, the real value of badges would be that, with every badge, the number of Virtual Shares you get for sharing/using an item/service will increase (may be marginally, but nonetheless).
In order to make this process fun, we should think about utilising the intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivations. e.g. If a certain individual is an expert in a service, and other users need that service, then that should be portrayed as helping others, not just earning Virtual Shares. In addition, user’s preference upfront, and his activity on the site, should be used to target activities for individuals.
- Share your experience
Since you are the expert, help those who need this service. If a person is a real expert (and likes helping people), then he/she should get satisfaction out of this.
- Sharing to maximise Virtual Shares
People who get motivated by money, should be targeted in that way e.g. Get 10 more Virtual Shares to go to the next level.
One of the fun items which can be introduced is a connecting game, where in a third person is asked to connect the buyer & seller, and he can earn points based on that. This would cater to the situation, wherein the seller has the product, and the buyer wants the product, but none of them have the time to browse and connect the dots.
- Web / Mobile App
The website / mobile app will allow the user to do the following
– Register for the ShareAll system
– View your status i.e. the number of shares you hold, and your sell/purchase history
– View the current items/services available
– Register interest in a service/product
– Be able to bid below the item/service’s prescribed ‘share value’
The company should look at streamlining the process workflows and systems, so the user can interact with the ShareAll system, irrespective of the platform i.e. desktop, mobile, Smartphone, etc i.e. a truly cross-platform system.
In order to make users familiar with the workflow, short videos describing the workflow of sharing products and services should be utilised. The videos can revolve around the target player personas, wherein each video is focussed on specific persona.
For products with some value, the company should look to get insurance. This will alleviate the fears of those individuals who would otherwise not go for sharing those products/services
If ShareAll follows the above mentioned steps, then it will not only help them become a household name in collaboration space, but also create a valuable company which will be the envy of all.