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Using Gamification to Drive Innovation in a Global Company

March 13, 2016 • gal

innovation 2Some global organizations have large scale innovation initiatives; their aim is to involve employees in grass-roots innovation activities, driving them to identify questions that require innovation, identify possible solutions and try them, iterating as needed.

We’ve written in the past about gamification for innovation, but I wanted to show how these high-level concepts can be broken down into a real use case at a large enterprise.

The core idea behind corporate innovation initiatives is that innovation can be driven from below and not by management edict. These programs begin by establishing an innovation “body” – a loosely coupled group of innovators spread throughout the organization – and embedding it in the organization. The core challenge is to build a culture of sustainable innovation, with people at its core. How do you launch and foster an entrepreneurial mindset in large organizations?

Here are some ideas:


One of the core requirements of innovation programs is training. Yes, this may sound odd – don’t great ideas just drop out of the blue? But in reality, the goal of these programs is to drive innovation by providing learning materials – to get people exposed to ideas, challenges and to socialize them by organizing events. eLearning gamification can be great this, and combined with many gamification elements that track performance. You can read more here.

Social proof

Everything that is innovation-centric or that is about contributing to a community as a whole is driven by social proof and karma.  That’s how we humans are built.

That’s why any innovation project has to have a healthy dose of social proof and karma points. You want to show off your good deeds, your innovation peers in another country/division also want to show them off.

This is where good old badges (as well as kudos, one of our favorite game mechanics, and a social feed) come into play:

  • Internal bragging
  • Many badges per type of contribution /activity/ geography / role etc
  • Show mastery
  • Communicate expertise to others
  • Social proof
  • Can be communicated externally to demonstrate achievement outside the innovation group

Instead of tracking performance, tracking karma

Yes, karma points are lovely.

  • Use karma to reward for contributions to others (like “karma” in Reddit)
  • Drive collaboration by attaching karma points
  • Using karma points for “Kudos”
  • Encourage working with champions through karma mechanisms

Karma can also be used as game “levels”. Here’s a way to think about it:

  • Create ”levels” to show progress as an innovation champion
  • Levels can also be adjusted by contribution /activity/ role/ geography etc

Competition too

Although we typically discourage outright competition, some competition between innovation champions in a large corporation can be nice sometimes. Use it like this:

  • Leaderboard of contribution across several innovation areas/ competition
  • Visibility across network/geographies
  • Track core innovation group KPIs to communicate and show activity to managers/ rest of
  • The ability to segment by function/geography for different rewards, measurements, etc

Don’t forget knowledge contribution

We believe that knowledge creation is great for gamification. Here’s a case study

In the innovation story, here’s how to use it:

  • Sharing and knowledge creation as core KPI
  • Badges
  • Levels
  • Gamification communication features for innovation “story” dissemination across divisions and geographies
  • Gamification of DTT learning activities

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