The possibilities of applying game elements for positive behavior change in non-game contexts (i.e. gamification) seem limitless, ranging from politics to treatment of mental illness. However, the number of applied gamification studies is still limited. Our research (part of CRISP G-Motiv) aimed to contribute to the knowledge about designing and applying game elements for teamwork.
First, we defined four basic design components that constitute a ‘gameful’ experience (i.e. feeling as if playing a game): goals, rules, objects, and freedom. Next, we explored the application of game elements in two lab- and two field experiments. In the lab, we developed a multiplayer computer game to examine the effect of different rules on interdependent behavior and we developed a physical game with coins to investigate the effect of different rule-sets on output in group-brainstorm meetings. In the field, we implemented and investigated the effect of gamified interventions to improve the cohesion within the operating teams of a strip-galvanizing factory and at a consultancy firm, we developed and tested a game with coins to change the attitude of participants of ‘red team’ meetings.
The results of these studies showed that in teamwork, game elements seem mainly valuable for raising attention and changing goal-driven behaviors and experiences. In order to design and research a gamification that positively influences teamwork it is important to consider: 1) the above-mentioned four basic design components and 2) to what extent they pervade in the emotions, attention, and behavior of team members.