As Gabe Zichermann defines it in Q&A: Gabe Zichermann on gamification, fun and metrics:
"Gamification is the process of using game-thinking and game mechanics to engage users and solve problems. Many gamified systems are designed like updated loyalty programs."He envisions it creating new jobs and opportunities in organizations. In that article above, he mentions a "Chief Engagement Officer" in an organization. "..it represents the motivation and emotional state of the consumer. Part game design. Part psychology. Part marketing."
Examples I Have Used Personally:
- Zombies, Run! demonstrates adding an adventure to motivate one to run
- Nike+ - Another fitness example
- You can even apply it to personal goals as demonstrated in this video - Goals Become Games: Gamification for High Achievers
Done correctly, one can motivate a person towards doing something intrinsically valuable and good with game mechanics. This is done so they are more likely to do that action and have fun doing it.
Example: Exercising is a good thing to do. However, it is boring for some. Apply some game mechanics and you are more likely to exercise!
Where to learn more?
A free gamification course by Kevin Werbach is done at Coursera More general information is located at http://www.gamification.co/
There's even a gamification summit and this presentation by Gabe Zichermann is inspiring http://fora.tv/conference/
So there is the brief glimpse at gamification!