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...

Thoughts?

Comments

  1. I wish everything could be that simple in adult world. Many factors could screw the gamification in reality. One needs to learn and adjust to adult behavior.

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    1. I think some times that things CAN be that simple. We as adults tend to over think. My 2 cents. Thanks for comments!

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    2. I think the tough part is in the adult world, different things motivate different people. As a volleyball coach in my younger years, I got to know my athletes and discovered that in order to motivate them, some needed a pat on the back when they did something right, others needed to be encouraged and almost pushed. Others needed pressure and would perform their best when we were down in points and the game was on the line. Still others fell apart when the game was on the line and only performed well in the absence of pressure to keep a lead.

      There in lies the challenge. Different things motivate different people. I've read all of the motivational books I could get my hands on over the years and truthfully, very few of the techniques that I learned if any really helped me motivate my staff as a blanket approach. Everyone is just too different.

      http://www.harveywildlifephotography.ca

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  2. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.....my children are all grown up now.....the youngest is 16....Thanks again for such a motivational blog!

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    1. Have you ever tried any kind of social "experiments" on your kids :-) It's fun!

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  3. I don't have children, so will launch straight away into expert analysis!

    I think you have made the credits and debits into a game, a sort of Empire Avenue for your children - what's not to like?
    I also wonder whether you are more involved in how they spend both debit and credit time, so they see this as a way of interacting with you to a greater extent than usual, which they also enjoy. Either way, a win-win situation.

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    1. Totally a win win :-) Thanks for the "expert" analysis :-)

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  4. What a great experiment! Are you going to continue with it? It sounds like it accomplishes so much, giving children a sense of control and balance as well as the self-confidence of "earning" something.

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    1. Absolutely. My kids spend time between their moms place and my place and even she loved the idea and so we are both going to use it!! Total win!!

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  5. What a wonderful experiment :) And I am so glad you shut down the borrowing idea :)

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    1. Ya, learning to borrow at 9? Not the best idea ever...

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  6. Your Kids are super smart but personally I think you should encourage them to play outdoor games too.I spent almost a quarter of my childhood playing playstation games instead of using my time for doing something worthwhile.

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    1. Half of the credit should be spent play outdoors :)

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    2. Hey good thoughts! My kids play a fair amount of soccer and swimming and skating so I don't mind them having some indoor fun too! What is amazing is that once they start doing the "earning" activities they end up enjoying them so much that the activities themselves become the reward. Awesome!

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  7. I love it! We've used similar tactics on our 6 kids with very similar results.

    Sharon

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  8. What a great experiment! and succesfull

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    1. YAY! Interested to see how it goes longer term. Stay tuned.

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  9. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post

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    1. Very welcome! Thanks for saying it was wonderful!! It is seeming to garner a great end result!! I'll post a follow up in a few weeks.

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  10. Great article !! Thanks for sharing !!

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  11. Interesting reading - Thank you very much for taking the time to share.

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    1. Glad you found it interesting. Interesting is ALWAYS better than boring :-)

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  12. There just needs to be a way to monetize these credits for the kids and then you will see the results double.

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  13. It's Happy Tuesday, Have a Great One!

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  14. Bright Idea. I wish I could use it with my 3 weeks old son, but I'll have to wait a little longer :)

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    1. OK 3 weeks is a bit young but they are waaaaay quicker at picking these things up that i EVER though possible. Congrats on the son!!!

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  15. good luck moving it to the work place

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    1. Was that like a sincere "GOOD LUCK" or a sarcastic "GOOD LUCK" because in this context I'm sure BOTH will apply :-)

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  16. Now that sounds like a fun experiment. If this system continues, I'd be interested to know how long before they start complaining & if it gets harder down the road. :-)

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    1. I'm interested too!! Stay tuned, there will be a follow up post at some point!!

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  17. Great post. thanks for sharing and good luck at work

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  18. What a great ideas Jordan! I am going to try this with my son.
    Cheers,
    Nur

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  19. Excellent ideas, strategies and tactics!
    B-)

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  20. It's everywhere from kids TV to the gym... it works.

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