4 Reasons Why Dilbert Rocks. And What Gamification Needs to do Better.

I haven’t read Dilbert in years. But Scott Adams can still puncture the balloon.

The latest: Gamification, marketing’s favorite new toy.

dilbert gamifaction


What’s right about this? Well, funny’s good. It’s also hot-linked to when something ‘new’ has clout. Or Klout.

  1. Make it worth something real. Most ‘messaging’ we see inevitably begins with the product, and then shifts to a company’s aspirations. That’s nice, but a misguided target. It should always, always, focus on the customer – and even better – the customer’s customer. That’s when we stand a pretty good chance of giving someone something they actually want. And need.
  2. Assume smarts. Papering over the missing pieces doesn’t really work; they’ll see the gaps, and trust less. And yes, they will talk about what’s missing, though perhaps not to your face.
  3. Recognition is gold. Peer recognition is tremendously powerful – which is one reason why people like to speak at conferences. It’s also why, in the lifecycle of companies creating new markets, establishing enough traction for meaningful industry awards can be a critical milestone. So is why individualized, personal recognition so often overlooked? Its impact is enormous. It’s convenient; it can be done at any time. It feels like a big, untapped opportunity for most companies, and any manager.
  4. Badges? Sure. We have a few in our office. One’s an aging, scuffed bowling pin, signed by the reigning champ of whatever competitive game we’ve played lately. Two others are institutionalized – our MVP of the month, and our best blog of the month. Both come with a quick stand-up meeting, some ready applause, and short money — $25. For the MVP – their photo is on the wall for the month. And they get a really simple card, which includes all the reasons why they won, written by everyone who voted for them (It’s often a landslide; surprisingly; we’ve only had one tie in 2 years). We read these valentines out loud. Because honestly, we all like to be winners.