Need a poke to get out of bed?

By Jeremy Salter, Employee Engagement Lead

I have not thought much about Pokémon Go, until 5:30 am this morning whilst running along our local esplanade.

At this time in the morning there are not normally many people about. Recently however, I have noticed a few more. This morning I came across a couple standing in the middle of the path.

They did not look like they were out for a run. Instead they were staring at their phones and gesturing in the direction of the beach.

I thought they might have lost their dog. I asked if they needed my help. With a smile they told me they didn’t, unless I wanted to help them catch a Pokémon.

I was amazed. It was cold and dark. Why would two adults be out hunting Pokémon at 5am??? Deciding I had better things to do than find out, I continued my run.

As I ran I tried to make sense of this encounter. What’s a Pokémon? Why would anyone want to catch one? Why does it take a game to get people outside? Has the world gone crazy?

My run came to an end with my questions unanswered. Whilst walking to my car my Pokémon pre-­occupation was interrupted by the desire to check my stats.

I admit to wearing an activity tracker. It measures steps, heart rate, calories burnt and my slow progress towards a number of fitness goals.

Feeling pleased that my mornings run had taken me a status bar closer to my weekly activity target, it suddenly occurred to me that I was little different from the Pokémon hunters.

Like them, wasn’t I simply using technology to add an additional sense of progress to my early mornings exercise?

Whatever you think about Pokémon Go and Activity Trackers they are a great demonstration of the motivational power of real time feedback.

Both technologies provide users with a level of feedback that (for some) can imbue even the most mundane of activities with a greater sense of purpose, achievement and fun.

Whilst game designers have long understood the value of real time feedback it is only recently that mobile technology has allowed it to influence the way people behave in the real world.

This is interesting as real-­time feedback can sometimes be lacking, particularly in the real world of work.

I work with organisations to improve levels of employee feedback through the delivery of employee social recognition programs.

Within these programs technology has improved the frequency of feedback which in turn has increased employees sense of progress and achievement.

Whilst social employee recognition programs deliver great results, the feedback they provide is rarely real time.

What if it could be?

What if work could be designed with feedback mechanisms built in.

What if employees could receive real time feedback that was immediately influenced by their actions and aligned with achievable objectives and rewards?

People far cleverer than I have asked these questions already.

Dr Jason Fox is one such person. His thinking on Motivational Design is inspired and shifts attention away from the need to motivate people towards the need to make work motivational.

For me Pokémon Go and Activity Trackers work because they are designed in accordance with motivational principles that a lot of us humans are hard wired to respond to.

If these principles can be used to design products that increase a user’s sense of purpose and progress outside of work, how can they be used to do the same thing at work?

This article was first seen on Grass Roots Australia blog

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