The Mashup of Gamification and Collaborative Consumption

by Dan Robles on 03/27/2011

I found an interesting article by Kim Gaskins at titled: Where the Game Layer Really Counts: Sharing & Peer Communities.

I sensed some resigned frustration from her as she reflected upon a somewhat trivial nature of current innovation in this new social genre called “gamification”. Predictably, in the end, Gamification amounts to little more than feeding the advertiser’s insatiable addiction to that extra dose of personal data coursing through the veins of unbridled consumption capitalism.

She is not alone.

In reading her article, I was, however, stuck with a particular stroke of clarity. Kim provided the following diagram showing the intersection of Social, Economic, and Environmental reality that she calls the best gaming opportunity for business and societal benefit.

This is a very important observation. Kim identifies the intersection of three “communities” and suggests that a game opportunity may exist.  Even though the article appeared in community blog, she stopped short of saying “This is where you put the shared asset”.  So I’ll say it for her:

This is where you put a shared asset.

At the Ingenesist Project, we developed something called The Value Game that we are testing in several different business models. The value game is very simple: Three communities are brought together to interact around a shared asset.  Each community interacting with each other, while also acting in their own best interest, would be acting in the best interest of the asset.  The result, we expect, will be the preservation for optimum utilization rather than forest-to-dump consumption.

Meanwhile, the fact of interaction between these communities creates “social currency” that articulates the true social value of the asset. Where social currency is readily convertible to financial currency, the paradox of market capitalism is broken.

Kim’s observation is important – she is talking about a marriage between collaborative consumption and gamefication.  People need to watch this mash-up very closely and we must innovate in this domain very rapidly.  We will need millions of value games playing out in communities across the world if we are to hedge the inevitable implosion of financial currency while also preserving our most valuable shared asset for future generations.

Thanks Kim – you are on to something very important.

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