By: John Lavey | Hammock President/COO

When I first saw someone present about gamification at a conference, I thought the concept was silly. Gamification uses elements of video games, like scoring points or earning tokens, to enhance a customer’s experience and increase their engagement with digital content.

But time has proven me wrong. I underestimated how powerful gamification can be to help create engaging content, change behaviors and deliver powerful results.

All around me I see how the concept is working. Last Thursday was one of Middle Tennessee’s biggest days of online giving: The Big Payback, a special day designated to raise money for nonprofit organizations, sponsored by a local community foundation. This year, more than $4 million was raised for 859 organizations, and more than 28,000 donors got involved.

As a volunteer and board member for a local nonprofit, I was interested in tracking the money we were raising. Over the course of the day, I obsessively checked the leaderboard. Special prizes were awarded for gifts made at certain times throughout the day or for the most number of donors in a period of time. We were able to engage more than 100 people in efforts to help our organization with small donations that added up to a lot. We even exceeded our stretch goal.

Gamification can clearly help people develop healthy habits—especially when used in healthcare content aimed at patients. I know this works for me. Every Thursday, I do a workout at my gym called the “Shredder,” a set of exercises that you complete at your own pace. For fun, the fastest times of the day are listed on a chalkboard. I can’t help but go back every Thursday to try to beat the top times. No one will ever know who is doing the best, but this sense of competition keeps me healthier.

How is gamification part of the content you are creating? How can you foster collaboration or drive healthy habits by adding these elements of competition or gaming? As a former skeptic, I believe gamification will be an essential part of how we will drive engagement with our content and inspire healthier behaviors.

Photo | Getty images

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