Inspiring Employees Through Gamification

What do Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Instagram and free airline tickets have in common?

Gamification. More specifically, a game called: Destination Unknown.

The mechanics of the game are really quite simple. When you’re ready to play, you are shown a series of user-curated photos (taken via Instagram) from a specific city somewhere in the world. After observing these photos, you are given a chance to guess where in the world the city is (on a map). If you guess correct you earn points; however, an incorrect guess will not earn you any points. The game is timed so you have four minutes to guess as many cities as you can. If you earn enough points to make it on the top 50 leaderboard, you have the chance to win free airline tickets. Try it out for yourself by clicking the image below …

Image Source:

Here are three elements of Destination Unknown that make it a particularly effective example of gamification:

1. It’s a short experience – Employees – much like passengers in an airport – usually don’t have a lot of time on their hands; therefore, by making a game short, it becomes easier to embed into an everyday workflow. The constraint of time also has the added benefit of making a game more thrilling and thus, engaging. This can help combat the absurdly high cost of disengagement.

2. It has repeat play value – When you combine time limits with very enticing extrinsic rewards (like free airplane tickets), you will have players coming back for more. When players return, not only does it increase their engagement with the content but it also reinforces that content. In the case of Destination Unknown, the content happens to be the global destinations to which airlines fly to from the Schiphol Airport.

3. The content is inherently educational – The most powerful aspect of Destination Unknown is that, as users get better at the game … they are learning more about the world. Eventually, the desire to learn this information is what will make the gamification experience transition from being extrinsically motivating to intrinsically motivating. This is the level of engagement that any gamified program should aspire to achieve.

Here is a quote taken directly from a Marketing Land article, which sums up the goal of Destination Unknown really well:

“The gamification of user-generated tourism photos is a trifecta of genius that provides both an enjoyable distraction and means to educate travelers not only about where they can fly from Amsterdam’s Schiphol, but also about the destinations themselves — feeding visitors’ travel bug and hopefully inspiring a journey.”

Inspiring action. Shouldn’t this be the goal of any great learning program?

Let us know your thoughts below or via Twitter.

During his time at Axonify, Shum moderated many webinars and ensured any touchpoint that you had with us online was enjoyable and valuable. It should also be noted, he hated to print things.

Looking for more information? We’d love to talk.