Enterprise 2.0, Motivation and Gamification: If my kids can get it...

I've been doing a lot of reading lately about motivation in the workplace, gamification of work and enterprise 2.0.  As I've been consuming this, I was also facing a dilema with my kids insatiable appetite for playing on their Nintendo 3DS's.  As both were swirling around in my mind at the same time, why not see if any of the information I had ingested could apply to their context.

From my Reading:
One of the simple concepts in workplace motivation is autonomy.
One of the simple concepts in workplace gamification is credits/rewards.

Thinking about those two simple pieces I planned my attack.

I launched the initiative on my kids on a Friday afternoon, and it basically was introduced like this:
For every hour the kids spent reading, doing math homework, or doing chores they would earn a one hour credit to be spent however they saw fit. (translation "video games")

Simple enough?

By the end of the weekend I had witnessed what I deem to be incredible results.

My 7 year old completed the following:
She worked on her math facts book for 2.5 hours.
She read for .5 hours.
She did 1.5 hours of chores.
Total Credits earned was 4.5.
She only used up 2 leaving her with 2.5 credits.

My 9 year old completed the following:
He read for 2 hours.
He did chores for 2 hours.
Total Credits earned was 4.
He ended up "spending" all 4 of his credits on Mario Kart 7 for Nintendo 3DS :-)

My 4 year old completed the following:
He read for 1 hour (LeapPad actually as he can't read yet)
He did chores for 1 hour.
Total Credits earned was 2.
He also "spent" all of his credits on Mario Kart 7.

The thing I learned is that the kids were HAPPY with this arrangement.
Not only did they NEVER complain about the reading or the math or the chores, so those things got done, they also appreciated their play time IMMENSELY more than they did before.

They had to earn it.

They learned the power of earning.
They learned how good it feels to have autonomy.
They learned how to "spend".
They learned how to "budget".
They learned that most things in life have a "cost" attached to them.
I ceased being "the taskmaster".  They became self directed work teams! Did I mention they are 4, 7 and 9!

At one point my son asked if he could borrow a half a credit from me and pay me back.
I told him No but chuckled as I explained to him that ON HIS OWN he had just understood the concept of the credit card and loan industry.

Amazing and soooo simple.

I'm sure people smarter than I have already figured these things out but my eyes were opened.

Now if only it were this simple to launch a Credits program in the workplace...


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