Code Worldwide

The art and theory of gamification and enterprise change

Matt McNeany

Matt McNeany

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Code recently celebrated the first anniversary of its PHD Source application which uses Game Theory to engage a global network of media buyers. Over the past few months, Code has been working with Warwick Business School academic Nicholas Dacre to deepen understanding of how Gamification can deliver positive enterprise change. Academic study of the role of Game Theory within business is in its infancy, and we are very proud to be working with Nic to establish a robust theoretical and analytical framework for this emerging discipline.

As part of this process, we have asked Nic to share some of his thoughts of where Gamification fits in modern business. (Article written by Warwick Business School academic Nicholas Dacre) Gamification (the process of increased productivity through game mechanics, interconnected engagement, and behavioural economics), is an increasingly popular field of application for enterprise architectural change, and is predicted to develop into a sizeable market, with a number of investor surveys predicting growth from $100 million in 2011 to $2.8 billion by 2016.

Developing, deploying and managing the various key elements of Gamification, necessitates the innovative use of technology through engaging feedback loops, harnessing the science and psychology to support the application, and consultation with an organisation, providing guidance on the expected outcomes. Code’s on-going development of the platform Source for PHD Media, forms part of a long term strategic partnership towards changing legacy processes which were proven inefficient, towards a bottom-up cultural change within the organisation through a massive online multi-player enterprise game platform, which sustains a large distributed team across different time zones and different continents.

Source can be assessed in a number of ways, from desktop to mobile ensuring PHD employees are engaged in the game at their convenience, aimed towards measurable greater productivity.


(PHD’s Source Homepage) Gamification can facilitate better inter-organisational co-operation, which in turn can leverage increased innovation and creative development. This approach can also be beneficial for organisations looking at moving up the value chain.

Gamification has become fairly established through market research where “innovation games”, are often employed to effectively establish customer opinion about different features of a product or service. The way they work involves a market researcher facilitating a game which is designed to garner detailed customer reactions to different aspects of the product being researched.

These have been in use for quite a while already and to great effect. Recently, however, the same games have been brought into boardroom meetings as a novel way of improving brainstorming. As such, a version of market research can be incorporated into the early stages of product development. Another interesting application of enterprise Gamification, involves promoting improved employee performance through highly engaging feedback loop systems.

By injecting a level of fun and enabling workplaces to become more meritocratic, it’s possible to provide players with a greater level of feedback. At the same time, these ambitions must be carefully managed.

Gamification for enterprise change should not be thought of as a panacea for disengagement, nor should Gamification be regarded as a simple ‘bolt-on’ which can be added without consideration, as poorly developed and poorly managed Gamification efforts will inevitably fail. However, carefully considered and strategically deployed enterprise may yield valuable benefits to an organisation’s creative, innovative and entrepreneurial employee engagement.