New article released on gamification

A new area of interest for me is “gamification”, which is the injection of game elements into non-game contexts to motivate and engage people. I recently had a paper published that discussed how gamification could be used to engage employees. My collaborator on that paper, Ananta Neelim, and I decided to broaden our perspective and write a general piece for managers. In fact, the seed of this idea was planted by the AE on our OBHDP paper – thanks, Evan Polman!

Since this was all very new to us, we reached out to Dave Nussbaum at Psychgeist Media for help. Dave pointed us toward HBR editor, Eben Harell, whom he thought might be interested in our topic. We sent a pitch in late December 2023 to Eben following the HBR template. We suggested that the central message of our article was the following:

Gamification – specifically, in the form of giving probabilistic rewards – can be successfully used to motivate employees, but only if done correctly.

In early January 2024, Eben gave us the green light to draft something for We put together about 1,000 words and sent it back in mid-February. After some back and forth with minor edits the piece was finally accepted and published in late March 2024: How Gamification Can Boost Employee Engagement.

Ananta and I received a lot of interest in the article, especially from managers, companies, and government agencies interested in the intersection of reward programs and gamification. It also led to an interesting discussion with Linda Nazareth on her “Work and the Future” podcast, which you can listen to here.

Overall, I am really excited to continue pursuing this gamification line of enquiry.