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Case Study in Gamification

Below is an excerpt from Bersin & Associates' Learning Leaders 2010: Lessons from the Best. (1)

Saturday, June 16, 2012
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This article accompanies Let's Play!

Kelley Executive Partners (2) is the executive education arm of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, one of the country's premier business schools. It provides customized executive education to major corporations worldwide. Executive experiences are custom-developed, and designed and delivered in virtual, online, face-to-face and blended-delivery settings.

Kelley Executive Partners has created an alternate reality game that combines social and mobile technologies, along with collaborative and competitive team problem-solving. The game has a flexible narrative and content that can be altered to fit into a client's needs. The ARG allows Kelley Executive Partners to create an engaging and enjoyable learning experience, while meeting a client's learning goals.

How It Works

The ARG is the twenty-first century version of an interactive business simulation. The technologies used in the ARG are, largely, free. Most participants can use their own smartphone or PC to participate. The costs associated with the ARG are largely associated with the design of the experience, and the instructional and coaching resources required for facilitating participant reflection and reacting to participant actions.

Customer Impact

The most recent version of the ARG ran over a period of four days with 16 high-level executive participants from Coca-Cola's North African division. Utilizing social and mobile media tools -- such as microblogs (3), blogs, YouTube videos, GPS and smartphones -- participants sent and received information from characters in the game's story.

Clues led participants to various locations to solve puzzles and make decisions about how their team would divide their skills and resources to move forward. Using iPod Touch devices, mobile GPS devices and handheld video cameras, teams communicated over distances around campus to coordinate their efforts and share information with the Kelley Executive Partners' employees who were facilitating the game. Participants were highly engaged in the game as evidenced by their late-night tweet posts and self-organized strategy meetings.

Coca-Cola has seen several direct benefits emerge from the ARG. The alternate reality game was structured to enable Coca-Cola to understand how its Millennial consumers were using Web 2.0 technologies (4) (and avoiding television), so as to develop a more effective marketing strategy. The ARG helped the team to identify specific, actionable marketing insights, strategies and tactics that could immediately be implemented.

 

Coca-Cola has seen several direct benefits emerge from the ARG. The alternate reality game was structured to enable Coca-Cola to understand how its Millennial consumers were using Web

2.0 technologies (and avoiding television) to develop a more effective marketing strategy. The ARG helped the team to identify specific, actionable marketing insights, strategies and tactics that could immediately be implemented.

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For a complimentary copy of Bersin's 11-page research report, The Gamification of Corporate Human Resources, that explores how game mechanics are used in HR and training organizations, click here.

 

Case study reprinted with permission from Bersin & Associates, a membership-based HR research and advisory firm, based in Oakland, Calif.

  1. For more information, Learning LeadersĀ® 2010: Lessons from the Best, Bersin & Associates/ March 2010. Available at www.bersin.com/library.
  2. For more information, please visit www.kelley.iu.edi/kep
  3. "Microblogging" is the concept of short, frequently updated messages from individuals (patterned after the website www.twitter.com) to allow people to "follow others." It is useful to find people and identify what they are doing, similar to the presence awareness available through instant messaging.
  4. "Web 2.0" refers to a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services (such as social-networking sites, wikis, folksonomies, weblogs / blogs, social bookmarking, podcasts, RSS feeds, social software, web application programming interfaces / APIs, and online web services), that aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration and sharing between users. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways in which software developers and end users utilize the web.
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