The Game of Knowledge | with Stephen Kaukonen & Thomas Hsu of Accenture [Transcript]

by Joe Sherwood on September 5, 2013

Link to podcast episode: The Game of Knowledge | with Stephen Kaukonen & Thomas Hsu of Accenture

Jesse: Welcome to the show, Game Changers! This is the show for CEOs, HR executives, and other business leaders to learn about internal gamification. Over the course of this series, you’ll hear examples and pitfalls, discover how to assess when it’s an appropriate strategy, and learn to evaluate gamification partners in game design ideas.

I am Jesse Lahey, and our guests today are Stephen Kaukonen and Thomas Hsu of Accenture, the management and tech consulting firm with over 260,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Thomas is a social collaboration and knowledge management expert as well as the certified gamification expert leading Accenture’s gamification community of practice. Steve is the culture change lead for Accenture’s social learning team. They’ll help us unpack the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations specific to enterprise social collaboration and share lessons learned and results from Accenture’s journey to gamify their own social collaboration capabilities.

Stephen and Thomas, welcome to Game Changer!

Stephen Kaukonen: Thanks for having us here, Jesse. Great to be here.

Thomas Hsu: Yes, thank you, Jesse.

Jesse: Can you guys share with us your personal history about how you came to be involved in gamification?

Steve: Yes, I’ll start. This is Steve Kaukonen. I think it goes back a number of years. Thomas and I sit on a team within Accenture focused on social collaboration about how people are able to connect to other people and the information they need to do their jobs. As such, I would say within the area, they help strive the culture within this collaboration space. For awhile, I’ve been taking a look at how do I engage people, how do I get them to come out here and collaborate and share. Just over six years ago, we did a study, got involved in a space about how to motivate people, how to get them to adopt these tools and capabilities, and so it started back then.

More recently now, gamification’s become more of mainstream term, we continue to deepen our skills in the space, and so just from having some firsthand experience of what we do here at Accenture as well as continuing to engage and understand what’s going on externally, and just figuring out how it all applies, I think, has really been driving my interest and my time in this space. Thomas?

Thomas: Yes. For me, it started with a video by Gabe Zichermann on YouTube. It was a Google talk he gave. I watched that. It was about an hour long, and I was hooked. I just found the topic really fascinating. From that point on, I basically tried to become as smart as I possibly could about the topic and really immersed myself. I read a lot of books about it. I took the online class taught by the Warren School Business on Gamification. I tended GSummit and just really got involved.

This past April, I actually spoke at G Summit and have been involved with Steve in creating a community of practice within Accenture on gamification and leading that community of practice in helping facilitate and run that. We have calls within Accenture to talk about different gamification topics to talk about examples both internal and with our clients. That’s kind of the history of where I came from. I really just found the topic to be very interesting and engaging, and so that’s how I fell into it.

Jesse: Just out of curiosity, how long ago was that that it hit your radar screen?

Steve: I think from a conceptual perspective, it’s been out there for quite some time. The whole idea behind driving a program is to engage people, to help them understand how well they’re doing within a collaboration knowledge sharing space, how to motivate them. But from the term gamification, it’s only been within the last year and a half or two that that’s come more to light, and I think using that term in and of itself is a bit newer.

Thomas: Yes, I mean I think Steve’s been doing it since 2008. That’s when he started up our recognition program which has a lot of concepts. It’s similar to gamification. It has a lot of the same roots, and it’s using a lot of the same techniques. For me personally, it was around 2010 when I started to get really into this topic.

Jesse: Yes. Really, it’s not been very long that it’s been even in the public consciousness at all. But one of the topics that is part of gamification has used a lot (and it goes along with recognition, as you just mentioned Thomas) is behavioral economics. Can you talk about what that is and what’s difference and overlap between that and gamification?

Thomas: I think of gamification—I mean there’s a couple of good definitions of gamification, but it’s really about learning from games to solves problems. It’s taking the essence of what makes games so compelling and interesting and applying those in non-game context to engage people and solve problems.

Part of why it works is because of the science behind gamification. There’s actually quite a bit of science and research behind it. You talk about psychology with some of the early work around behaviors, and that’s quite old. More recently, around self-determination theory, and that drives a lot of the motivation science behind gamification.

There’s a lot of neuro-science behind it. We’re learning new things about the brain all the time, and we’re understanding better how the brain works and some of the chemicals involved in terms of dopamine and epinephrine and how those play into pleasure, and motivation and the reward system in your brain. There’s been research around habit formation. Charles Duhigg wrote a book about that, that looked at how neuro-science and the brain functions as it develops and starts engaging habits.

And the behavior economics as well in terms of how people make choices looking at reward schedules and how people’s brains interact with that and how they made different choices. There’s choice architectures, how you design choices to get a more desired outcome.

I think there’s actually a lot of rich science behind gamification, and I think the exciting thing is that the book on human behavior’s still being written. We live in a golden age of behavioral research, behavioral science. Now, we’ve got analytics that help us to analyze and decipher behavioral patterns, and we’re better at placing electrodes in people’s brains and recording wavelengths. All of those things, I think, is really exciting because this area is still evolving. We’re still learning. We’re still experimenting in this space. I think there’s a pretty exciting future for gamification.

A lot of people say it’s a fad, but every time they say that, I say, “I don’t think it’s a fad, because there’s a real science behind it, and that science is continuing to evolve.”

Jesse: Yes, that’s interesting. Some of the science is finding some potential downsides or pitfalls in gamification. Can you tell us about those?

Steve: Yes. From the downside or pitfall of gamification perspective, there are a couple of things in this space. One is really around, first of all, the fact that gamification in and of itself is not easy. Just go out there, and I think a lot of times, people put this up in a very simplistic perspective. They throw something out there and hope it sticks. They throw together some points, badges, and leader boards which some companies do that, and it’s only about points, and leader boards. It’s about pointsification. It’s not really truly looking at the design elements of gamification to see how it can work in there. I think it can most really be seen in many instances as a flash in the pan, and very quickly, people can become bored with it. “I’ve earned the badges I needed to earn. I’ve got enough points. I’m good to go. I’m on to the next thing.” I think one of the downsides is just from the design element of it.

I know that perspective is really around being focused on activities. So as people look to gamify a program or a space within their organization, they look at how they can track that. A lot of times when you look at the activities that they track, they get so focused in on the activities that they forget about the behaviors that they’re trying to drive.

Within Accenture, within the social collaboration, social learning space, we talk about three different behaviors that we focus on. One is around connect. It’s around how people connect to people and to content. One around contributing – how are they contributing their knowledge to Accenture. And cultivating – perhaps they aren’t the originator of the thought or the idea, but how can they interact with and grow ideas others. So it’s around connect, contribute, and cultivate so that the focus is around the behaviors, not just around the activities. If we are focused on activities, the downside is that people get busy doing activities, and at the end of the day, they’re not really driving that behavior, don’t have the right attributes to be able to be a strong social collaborator.

The other downfall too within gamification is around people who try to gain the system. Ironically enough, the term gamification has the term game in it, and people like to play a game or something for their own personal good. You have to be very careful in the design of the overall program to make sure that you’re able to address that type of people who want to go out there and in-game the system. Because if you kind of reveal your cards to them, let them know, “These are the behaviors that we want to encourage. Oh, by the way, here’s here’s how we’re going to track that to these types of activities,” how many people will try to go to figure out, “Okay, how can I quickly get the most points by doing the least amount of work.” That’s something that we try to prevent.

Thomas: Yes. I would also say that the design aspect is really important. A lot of the critiques of gamification, a lot of the critics out there, they’re not really saying that gamification doesn’t work. They’re saying that poorly designed gamification doesn’t work, and that’s what you see a lot out there. You hear that statistic all the time that go in there and says 80% of gamified applications will fail, and I say it’s because of poor design. It’s because designing gamification is not easy. You really have to understand motivations: what motivates your audience, how do you create rewards that are actually meaningful within the context of what you’re trying to do.

I think really the primary pitfall for me is around designing it well and putting in the time and effort to design it well and to think of it as more of a long term commitment. If you launch gamification, you’ll have to feed it; you have to cultivate that. You can’t just launch something once and expect it to last forever. You’ve got to keep thinking of new ways to engage the user, to keep them engaged overtime for more long term engagement. I think that’s one of the primary pitfalls.

Ironically enough, one of the big critics Ian Bogost created a game called Cow Clicker, and he created the game to specifically demonstrate what bad gamification looks like and how it doesn’t work. The funny thing is, ironically, the game actually went viral even though he’s trying to prove gamification by pointsificaiton is bad.

Some of it doesn’t work because of the our brains are wired, but I think as we go along, that novelty is going to wear off. People will start to see through that. That’s when the good design will really stand the test of time and will separate themselves from all the folks who are doing basically bad or poorly designed gamification.

Jesse: At Accenture, you have implemented different examples of gamification that, I think, can probably highlight some of the learnings that show how you’d mitigate some of the risks of these unintended consequences or pitfalls. Can you share an example or two with us?

Thomas: Sure. I think it’s helpful to think of gamification as a spectrum. It can be very subtle and something that people don’t always notice. For example, on our portal, our internet, we’ve got this little global travel widget that tells you, for example, how many flights you’ve booked but also how far and advanced did you book them, are there any missed savings in terms of not booking the cheapest flight to help try and drive people’s behaviors around exhibiting the proper travel behaviors so that we can reduce cost for Accenture and for our clients. That’s kind of on one end of the spectrum.

Another example is our A3 Program for social collaboration. It’s all about how you motivate people to collaborate socially, and it uses the mechanics around points, and badges, and those typical types of mechanics as well as thinking about what motivates people to collaborate.

Further up the spectrum, we’ve got things that get into more actual game. We’ve created games for our clients and also internally that help people learn, for example, a new business strategy that can help track people’s attitudes and behaviors as it goes it through a system implementation. We created a game for a large global bank that did this, and internally, we’ve created game that people played to get them engaged with one of our business strategies.

We’ve also been doing things like virtual simulations and virtual reality for our clients for a number of years.

I think it’s important to think of it in terms of a whole spectrum of examples or a whole spectrum of what gamification can look like. It doesn’t always look the same.

Steve: Kind of to build a little more deeper example there that Thomas is putting out with our A3 Program. A3 stands for Addo Agnition Award which, loosely translated in Latin, means to give knowledge. Again, Accenture is a knowledge organization. We don’t have a product beyond our people and their knowledge, so how we take that knowledge, and make it reusable, and be able to deliver those solutions to our clients because of our people’s knowledge is critical to our survival and to our ability to function in the marketplace.

I think for the A3 Program, again, it was all focused around this collaboration, sharing element of how do allow people to understand how effective they are and the impact that they’re having when it comes to collaborating and sharing. We created this score based upon about 30 different data points. Again, focused around the three Cs I talk about before: connect, contribute, cultivate.

As we do activities such as post a blog, or as other people are viewing their blog, or are interacting with their blog, or someone uploads a document to our knowledge exchange, or engages to a community of practice, they joined a community of practice, or they post a simple marketer blog post, we track these activities and tie them back to these three behaviors of connect, contribute, and cultivate and generate the score. The score is currently a quarterly score, and at the end of each quarter, we tally up the scores for everybody, and we do some recognitions for the top people. The top 25 people are recognized with what are called Celebrating Performance points. A similar one point would be equal to $1.00. They’re also receiving that recognition from leadership with e-cards and recognition being called out through postcards and newsletters within the organization.

We also have Honorable Mention Award. The top 25 is brought our exclusive club when you’re an organization of a quarter million people. We also recognize, in addition, about 1,000 people per quarter who we refer to as the Honorable Mention Award. They get very similar types of recognition. The only thing that they do not get is 100 Celebrating Performance points.

Again, we use this program overall. There are many different elements to it that we can talk about later on as well as we give these examples to really drive engagement around collaboration and knowledge sharing to really help them understand the value that they can get from it, to help build their skills, to help grow their knowledge and help you be able to deliver solutions to our clients at the end of the day, because again, that’s why we’re here. Again, we’re here for our clients, and the more efficiently we’re able to do that, it not only makes our employees more engaged, it also helps drive better solutions for our clients.

Jesse: What can you tell us about the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations specific to enterprise social collaboration?

Steve: Yes, I can start that. Often, Thomas can interject this as we go along here. From an extrinsic perspective, I think this is a way to get people connected initially. There are different ways that we, from our A3 Program, use the extrinsic motivation to drive adoption, to drive these behaviors.

First of all, I think it is around understanding articulating that impact through social collaboration. We have a program here to the A3 Program that a lot of people see the impact that they’re having. We actually give them some data points to say, “Hey, listen. As you’re posting a blog out there, or as you’re uploading a document, or as you post your micro blog post, here’s how much other people are interacting with that.” What that does is it actually creates this extrinsic motivation for them to say, “Hey, listen. I wrote that blog last month, and I’ve seen 500 people have viewed that blog. That helps motivate me extrinsically to say, ‘Listen, this is a pretty cool thing.’”

Also, being recognized and rewarded for it, again, through our A3 Program, we send out e-cards, Celebrating Performance points, notes from leadership, leadership recognition. Again, these are other extrinsic motivating factors that can help drive that adoption, help drive those behaviors, and even tying it back into performance management.

At the end of the year, as we’re all evaluated and as it factors into being promoted, factors into pay raises and so forth, being able to tie this back in, again, that’s another extrinsic motivating factor. At the same time, that gets us so far up that curve, up that adoption curve. If you’re not careful, that extrinsic motivation can eventually tail off or flat line or become even just slightly downward trend.

How do you build that long-term engagement? That’s where I think the intrinsic motivation comes into play. When we talk about intrinsic motivation, it’s around mastery, autonomy, and purpose. At the end of the day, we’re really trying to help people do their job more effectively. From a mastery perspective, being able to master a skill set. From autonomy, being able to make choices about what path you want to take. Or the purpose of the greater good. Again, I’m here doing my job, but when I’m able to see a broader impact that I’m having or how Accenture’s influencing the world, again, that gives me a greater sense of purpose.

Thomas: It’s interesting, because from an extrinsic perspective, we thought Accenture being a very type A competitive culture that everyone with less competition and status of being the primary motivator. It was actually more about, as you’ve mentioned, understanding and articulating the impact they’re having through social collaboration so that they can be recognized and rewarded for it.

I think it’d be helpful to talk about an example when we talk about extrinsic and intrinsic. We’ve got this person in our company. Her name is Claire, and she’s a blogger. She’s got a huge following on her blog. In one activity she ran through her blog, she was able to positively impact about a quarter of the company just because of the wide readership she had. The activities that those folks were doing as a result of her blog were impacting others in a positive manner.

You look at Claire, and she’s actually motivated by both sides of the coin. From an extrinsic perspective, for her, actually, in particular, competition is something that motivates her. She sees these other guy, Bob, in an Accenture who’s also a blogger, and her competitive nature makes her want to beat him in terms of the number of blog views and how many she’s impacting.

On the other hand, because the blog has become so important to her in how she does her job, if we completely took away the A3 Program, if we didn’t give her any points, there’s no recognition, there’s no leader board that said where she was in relation to Bob, she would still blog because of the impact and the influence she’s gained through blogging and just the intrinsic rewards that she got from doing this. I think it’s important to look at both.

Again, a lot of the poorly designed gamification initiatives or projects, they only look at the extrinsic motivation, and again, as you mentioned, that’s creating for the sort of short term rapid adoption. If you don’t quickly get people to a level of mastery where they can start to become really good at collaboration and therefore start to realize the intrinsic benefits of it, it’s going to tail off. If you can do that, if you can get them to that intrinsic motivation place, that’s where you get the sustained engagement.

Jesse: The A3 example is really in a field of knowledge management and collaboration. That has obviously proved to be a good area, at least at Accenture, for gamification. What are some signs that a certain area is not a good candidate for gamification?

Thomas: I think there’s a couple of ways to think about it, and part of it is a bit introspective. I think you shouldn’t be using gamification if you don’t have a solid understanding of what motivates people. If you’re not thinking about what motivates people, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re thinking about gamification as just a technology that you have to implement, it’s going to fail. If you’re thinking of gamification as sort of a short-term commitment, you’re not thinking about what’s going to happen with it long term, about how you sustain long-term engagements, about how you keep people engaged, you shouldn’t be doing gamification.

If you’re working in an area where the underlying product doesn’t offer value, if you are creating a knowledge management system and you’re still sort of in the foundational stages; you’re not really mature yet, the tools aren’t that great yet or they’re not that easy to use, you want to put off gamification. You want to get your core product in a good state before you apply gamification. Part of it really just looking at yourself, your specific project, your initiative and saying, “Am I ready for this?” because it’s not an easy thing. It’s not something to be taken lightly.

In terms of the subject area, I think that’s a bit more subjective, but what you need to be careful of is if you’ve got a certain behavior or activity where the existing motivation is already there and is more than enough to get people do something. Especially if it’s intrinsic motivation, you want to think twice about using gamification.

There’s been plenty of studies. Let’s say, if someone is intrinsically motivated already—let’s say you’ve got a kid. The common example is a kid who likes to play the piano. He just loves to do it because it’s fun for him and he gets enjoyment out of it, and then you start to add these extrinsic motivators: you start giving him ribbons for winning awards, and you start adding all these other stuff to it, it can crowd out the intrinsic motivation. Then you take it away, those points or those ribbons, and the kid no longer wants to play the piano anymore. You’ve almost removed that motivation for him. That’s the other thing to think about: how much are people going to want to do this on their own? And you have to be very careful about not replacing that intrinsic motivation.

Jesse: Do you take a program, like at Accenture, with Value Pursuit? How did you decide whether or not that was a good area to gamify?

Thomas: That was something where we had a business execution strategy that leadership had decided was going to help us to grow. They wanted to drive that down into the ranks. They wanted people to understand the strategy and to execute on that strategy.

I think it’s something that is kind of similar to social collaboration. If you were to ask someone, “Is this a good thing to do?” they would probably say yes, “Yes, I should be collaborating. Yes, I should be executing on this business strategy. It’s a good strategy.” Is there a value in doing it? Yes. Do you want to do it? Yes. But getting people over that hump to actually start doing it is actually very difficult.

Another example to compare to is exercise. People know they should exercise. They want to exercise, but they find that hard to kind of get going and to motivate themselves. In those cases, I think gamification can be very good at changing those behaviors, providing some of the extra motivation, helping people form the right habits and behaviors. That’s kind of the angle we took with the Value Pursuit Game, and we use that game to both, again, help people to learn the content but also to demonstrate specific behaviors that they were then rewarded for.

Jesse: How did that game work? How did that feel like as a participant?

Thomas: That was further up the spectrum, so it wasn’t your typically points and badges. There were point mechanics in there, but it was an actual game. It’s basically what’s called a serious game where it’s a game that they play to learn to demonstrate certain behaviors. It was a game that Accenture actually cooperated with Stanford University to build it, and Steve and I both tried it out. It was actually really fun. It was very well designed. They had these different mechanics like filling out a crossword puzzle or filling the blank, and they had different quiz elements, and you had a way to unlock certain rewards. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was really just a well-designed, well thought out game looking at it.

Steve: It’s robust. It was very well done. And so, as Thomas was saying, it’s just not this very basic thing: a few points and they go home. It was very engaging, very robust. Again, [unintelligible 00:25:41] whole design element from before is when it’s designed well, that’s going to engage your employees.

Jesse: So that type of more immersive game is probably more expensive to create, and it’s highly customized, but if it has the right fund for the right business problem, it’s probably well-worth all that time and effort.

Thomas: I think so, and I think there’s more vendors in this space, in enterprise space, that are doing more than virtual reality and immersive games. It’s becoming more accessible for companies to apply this in the enterprise. I think the challenge in that space is that if a vendor is creating this immersive reality environment and it’s really good, typically, they can make more money selling as a game as opposed to selling it to enterprises. There are a number of emerging vendors who are doing this stuff.

Of course, there are also the vendors who are more on the pure gamification side, like Bunchball or Badgeville. Again, in that case, the technology’s coming along, so that is easier. It’s being industrialized. It’s being offered as a cloud service or as a cloud product. I think in both ends of the spectrum, clients and companies are able to do this more easily and more cost-effectively. The simulation side, the virtual gaming side has been around longer, but I think, in both sides, it’s starting to become easier for people to take advantage of this.

Jesse: Even the gamification side of things where it’s more streamlined than the serious games or the more immersive games, there’s still going to be a cost to that. When you’d look at making a business case, beyond the anecdotal evidence, do you have data that you can share with us to support whether gamification is making a meaningful difference?

Steve: Yes, this is a tough space to be in when it comes to metrics, and tracking ROI, and so forth, and the value that it drives. We’ve been tracking this activity or this course over the past five and a half, six years, and we definitely seen an optic in the role adoption and the behaviors that we want people to have.

Now, the question that becomes is how much of that is attributed to gamification versus how much of it is contributed to other things. The technology’s gotten better, or (we did a communication campaign around this) there are other touch points within the employee lifecycle process where we bring people to speed on this through enablement. It’s a tough call to say, “Directly attributed to gamification, here’s the impact that we’ve had.”

But as we look at over the course of time, we see a constant upward trend of these behaviors, upper trend of these activities to say, “Hey, yes. How people are engaging and collaborating continues to increase here at Accenture.” That is a tough call to say how much of this, besides the anecdotal evidence from the feedback that we get, which I think is terrific. We have some really great quotes when we talk about direct correlation between what we’ve done between our program around A3 versus the data that you have that supports the longer, the broader spectrum and say, “Okay, what impact are you having here within Accenture?”

But we do see an upward trend. Again, you can take a look at average scores, average activities. Both had trended up since 2008, 2009.

Thomas: For us, as Accenture, we really think of gamification as part of the larger behavior sweeping framework. We don’t think of gamification in a silo, but we think of it as one tool in a tool set, and we combine it with, for example, proven change management techniques. Of course, we pay a lot of attention to sponsorship, enablement, communications. We also look at what research tells us about social influence and how social dynamic can shape behaviors, and we pulled that together into a whole. We think of gamification as part of something bigger. We do it in lockstep with our communications campaign.

For us, it’s more about tying the ROI of our overall behavior shaping and cultural change approach.

Jesse: That makes a lot of sense. There are many vendors in this space offering various technologies for gamification. Besides looking at those, should an organization consider designing their own programs?

Steve: This is a very good question. I guess, now, we’re doing it for about six years, and we’re still doing this in-house. I would quickly default to say no. Look at external vendors because they are specializing in this space now.

I think initially an organization can take a look at more of a simplified approach and can do that in-house just to kind of see the impact that they might have here before, perhaps, going out and spending money on external vendor. I think pretty quickly I wanted to, four or five years ago, go down the path of automating this process that we have. We took a couple of false starts trying to develop it internally, and now, we’re to a point where we’re looking to work with an external vendor and driving our overall gamification program probably because it’s matured a bit more.

At the same time, if you have the money, I won’t hesitate to engage a vendor within the space, because again, I think if you don’t have expertise in this area and if you try to just throw elements of gamification at a business problem, you could be one of those 80% of gamification initiatives that fail just because it’s poorly designed. I think a vendor can most really come in and help you with the design element, help you with the execution of the overall process to make it much more easier and much more impactful for your employee.

I would, now, after six years of running this program, even though I think we have a great knowledge in this space, just even the technology that can support it, that’s readily available through a vendor, is very strong. For us to try to develop that to that level now internally, even though we, as Accenture, develop systems for own clients, I would say be careful as to designing it on your own. If you do, perhaps some baby steps in that space, but once you really look to evolve it much more broadly and engage it in external vendor, I think it will be money well-worth spending.

Thomas: I would echo that. There are a lot simple things you can do with gamification that don’t require technology that are pretty motivating. I heard one company where within their sales workforce, the manager or the leader would just send out an email with sort of a manual leader board on it, and it actually turned out to be very motivating for that particular context. Again, as you mentioned, as you want to get more sophisticated, as you want to get into real time feedback and on-boarding missions and progression to mastery and dynamic leader boards that are contextual to you, that’s certainly where you want to start looking at technology.

Our CIO, when we talked with him, initially was thinking that the more sophisticated gamification technology was something that we might be able to do, but when we started to look at some of the technical demonstrations and overviews of some of the products out there, we quickly realized that this is not something we want to get into the business of building. There are some really sophisticated technology out there, administration consuls that let you define new rules, and badges, and initiatives, and challenges on the fly that have built in analytics. There’s just a lot of investment that’s gotten into these products, so I think when you get more sophisticated, you want to go with some of these pure-play vendors. That’s all they do, and they build some pretty good products out there

Steve: I think by looking at the size of your organization as well and how much the activity that you’re trying to track. Again, some of this stuff can be almost—we started out with a basic Excel spreadsheet tracking. We’ve run some reports and track it that way. I think when you have a smaller population, I think you might be able to do something within your own organization, but once you scale that up, and once you try to evolve it and expand it. Again, when we talk to this, we talk about starting small and scaling up. But once you started to do this, scaling up, you quickly realize that it can very much become a headache when you try to design, and develop, and administer it within your organization.

Jesse: Steve and Thomas, where can people find out more about you and your work and also potentially get to know who some of this solution providers that are available are?

Thomas: We’ve actually done a number of talks and presentations. We presented at GSummit in April. We also talked about this at the APQC KM Conference in Houston, and that was actually this past month.

Steve: June or May, first part of May.

Thomas: A couple of weeks ago. We published an article on KM World, and on, there are a couple of points of view on gamification that different parts of our organization such as tech labs and our Accenture practice have put out. There are a number of things you can find online. I think APQC also published a research pack on gamification for KM that we recorded in. There are a couple of things out there.

In terms of looking at buying gamification technology and where do you start there, there’s one site,, that Gabe Zichermann runs. They got what’s called a Gbase, which has a listing of a lot of the vendors in this space. Mario Herger, who is an Enterprise Gamification SME, he’s pretty visible in this space. He’s got a website, I believe, and he’s got sort of a vendor matrix as well on his site. I think there are some resources out there that you can use if you want to get familiar with what the marketplace looks like and who the vendors are.

Jesse: Steve Kaukonen and Thomas Hsu from Accenture, thanks for joining us today on Game Changer!

Thomas: Thank you, Jesse. It was a pleasure.

Steve: Jesse, it’s been great talking with you, and my best wishes to everyone else out there who’s exploring this area of gamificaiton.

Jesse: We’ll provide links to the resources that they shared as well as the LinkedIn and Twitter handles for both Steve and Thomas in the show notes for this episode which you can find at, as in Game Changer Episode 10.

If you’re working on the Game Changer Series Puzzle, our clue for Episode 10 is the letter L as in Larry. You’ll find other clues in each of the first 14 episodes in the Game Changer Series as well as in Engaging Leader Podcast Episode 38 featuring Kevin Werbach. As soon as you think you know the secret phrase, email it to me at

Link to podcast episode: The Game of Knowledge | with Stephen Kaukonen & Thomas Hsu of Accenture

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