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The Role of Shamification in Gamification (IoT)

I predict it won't be long before shaming enters mainstream enterprise mobility apps

The Role of Shamification in Gamification in Enterprise Mobility

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 reveling 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?


Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Editor
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

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