Gamifying the Workplace: Badges IRL with 3D Printing

Heartbleed BadgeWe’ve seen badges and gamificiation appear in everything from a core business plan (Foursquare & Gowalla) to navigation apps (Waze).  I’ve seen them on a user homepage at least two companies.  It helps get people engaged by bringing together groups of common interest and drive involvement in tasks that they might not otherwise be involved in.  You look up a colleagues and find they’ve done something similar to you.

The problem with the virtual badges is that they are too cheap to make (effectively free to create a new one) and only appear when you go to the employee’s homepage.  Having played with 3d printing, I realized that you could make these badges in real life and bring a bit of physical interest to the work place, applying the same rules.    With a few minutes on an online 3d modeling tool, online 3d printing services, and finally a magnet and some super glue,  you can easily end up with full color sandstone badge.

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All Projects Great and Small

Projects come in all shapes and sizes. However there is a human tendency to begin to look for consistency in the way projects are run. If there is the possibility to make all the projects look the same and be approximately the same size, then we’ll force them to the same size. In my particular domain, software projects will aggregate sub projects until they get to a particular size that warrants an organization’s standard project methodology.  This has a number of possibly unintended consequences that bear consideration.
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