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GamifiKAIZEN – Gamification and Kaizen – using gamification for continuous process improvement

April 23, 2013 • gal

The Japanese word Kaizen means “Good Change”.
Kaizen is a practical philosophy and methodology that focuses on continuous improvement of business processes.

Enterprise Gamification aims for behavior modification in business processes using gaming dynamics and mechanisms. Although its practitioners don’t often mention it, it is best implemented with continuous improvement in mind.

The Kaizen model is based on the assumption that people resist extreme changes.  Instead, gradual changes  are more effective.

Combining gamification with the Kaizen model can have surprising results. The PDCA Model (Plan, Do, Check Act) enables the implementation of small process changes.

For example, one of our clients wanted to improve its sales process; analysis led to the conclusion that sales people need to be more present in the field rather than do office work. With this in mind, the key performance indicators were more meetings with the potential customers and lead generation. This small change was implemented using Gamification.

Below you can see a diagram showing the fusion of The PDCA (Plan; Do; Check; Act) model with the relevant Gamification elements (blue text).

The Gamification elements, embedded in the model:

  • KPIs

    The KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) represent business goals. Our focus is to continuously improve their values.

  • Call to action

    Call to action is one of the two main Gamification elements in which we instruct the player on how to progress and achieve his goals with few alternatives. The game mechanisms used for calls to action are  points, level progression and challenges.

  • Immediate feedback

    Immediate feedback is the second main element in which we provide feedback to improve performance. This uses game mechanics such as: leaderboards, progress bars, public celebrations, trophies and game-like visualizations using game narratives such as sports, TV contests and races.

  • Data Collection

    Collects real-life events to insert into the system.

  • Analysis

    Analyze the effectiveness of the Gamification process, and its alignment with KPIs. Additional information about this is available in the blog post  Gamification ROI

  • Redesign

    After the analysis the calls to action are redesigned and optimized to improve process and performance.

Kaizen is an effective concept for the continuous improvement of business processes. Gamification may be one of the best ways to bring the Kaizen approach into action.

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