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Why Gamification for IBM Connections?

Since we launched Kudos Badges ago we have been swamped with clients wanting demos and presentations around the solution. The overwhelming response from clients is that instantly they get it. They understand how gamification can help them drive the adoption and ultimately the business value they get from IBM Connections. However we have also had a few people comment that they don't really understand gamification or don't believe that it works so I thought it was worth putting down why gamification works with IBM Connections.

Gamification or Game Mechanics leverages the fact that all of us have a basic drive to receive status and rewards. It really is simple. Most people like recognition, they like to receive rewards and earn status. People like to progress to the next level and move up ranks. These needs and desires can be leveraged to encourage users to engage in specific behaviour, drive user adoption, and drive performance.

But it isn't just about the rewards either. Kudos Badges for IBM Connections leverages game mechanics to help drive user adoption and participation across the full capabilities of IBM Connections. Through the use of game mechanics Kudos Badges creates a reward and recognition mechanism that not only awards achievements but also helps guide the user on how they can improve their usage of IBM Connections for better business outcomes.

When we designed Kudos Badges for IBM Connections we had 3 primary design goals:

Design Goal 1) Leverage Gamification or Game Mechanics to drive user participation and adoption of IBM Connections. We wanted to reward users that contribute valuable content. We wanted to highlight experts or experienced users so others could learn from them. We wanted to provide users with status and recognition as a direct result of not only their actions in Connections but also the actions of others around the content that they create. For example in you create a blog post in Connections that is great! You earn a Kudos Point. However if a heap of people comment on that blog post, or recommend the blog post, then that content you created has higher value, and hence you might received 5 or 10 Kudos Points.

Design Goal 2) We wanted to not only have people win badges but use the fact that they receive a reward or badge as a mechanism to educated and guide them to use and leverage the more advanced features of IBM Connections. We often find with our Connections clients that users focus on one or two particular areas. Thru Kudos Badges we wanted to expand their understanding of both the business value of using Connections but also guide them to use more advanced features of Connections.

When users "win" rewards such as badges, these badges are designed to not only recognise the good work a person has done, but also to show them the business value of what they have done and to encourage them to expand their usage of Connections with more advanced features. For example when you complete an activity you might receive a "Activity Done!" badge. This is neat off course, however the message that accompanies the badge might then encourage you to consider creating an Activity Template. Or another example might be that if you create a heap of status updates, you might win a Badge that not only recognising that you are contributing, but also suggests that maybe you should create a Blog for the longer status updates. When you upload files you might earn Kudos Points, but the rewards will encourage you to also tag those files, or to group them into folders.

Design Goal 3) We wanted to ensure that Kudos Badges was both customisable as well as extensible. We know that every organisation is different and that the Kudos Point value of some Connections actions would be different for different organisations and different business objectives. We wanted organisations to be able to easily tweak Kudos Badges. We also wanted to allow clients to build their own badges and rewards that drive users to deliver on their business objectives or goals.

We wanted to make Kudos Badges extensible so that organisations can leverage game mechanics drive behavior in other applications. As a part of this we also wanted Kudos Badges to not only be about the behaviour and actions of users within Connections but also outside of Connections. Kudos Badges allows organisations to integrate external applications such as their Sales Force Automation, CRM's, HR Systems, etc so that they can also leverage gamification to drive behaviour within those systems.

ISW has performed many implementations of IBM Connections and we have found that a significant factor in organisations driving real business value is ensuring strong user adoption. In addition, providing guidance to users to leverage all of the capabilities of Connections rather than just individual capabilities is a key success factor. The key is to help users understand "Why?" they should leverage social software to work better. An important strategy for encouraging user adoption is providing reward mechanism's, both tangible and intangible. Kudos Badges for IBM Connections provides this strategy in a very powerful and flexible way.

We are at Lotusphere this week in Orlando so if you would like to catch up for a one on one demo of Kudos Badges get in touch at or ping us on twitter at @kudosbadges