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How gamification can be used to improve driving behaviors

The application of game mechanics, such as rules of play and point scoring, to non-game contexts is changing the landscape of B2B applications, which have traditionally been used to formalize processes within a business.

Gartner’s prediction in 2012 that 40% of global organizations will be using gamification as a primary mechanism to transform business operations, is fast being realized. Furthermore, M2 Research projected that the worldwide gamification market will grow from $242 million in 2012 to $2.8 billion in 20161.

Despite the popularity and widespread adoption of gamification in business, there are still organization that are not using it because they either simply don’t understand it, view it as a passing trend or don’t know how to implement it in order to achieve the desired outcomes. On the flip side, organizations that are adopting gamification are seeing significant results; from improved engagement to work transparency and the connection of employee actions to business outcomes.

Why ‘gamify’?

Human psychology plays a pivotal role in the use of gamification. Individuals respond well to rewards and incentives because they elicit positive emotions which makes working towards a goal a more positive experience with the added benefit of engaged (more satisfied) employees.

Other benefits include:

  • Giving employees control of their part in the journey towards a goal
  • Letting employees know where they are and where they’re going (a sense of purpose)
  • Reinforcing good behavior through rewards and incentives
  • Giving them a sense of achievement and pride
  • Encouraging competition (both with themselves and others)
  • Driving them to participate in teamwork and collaboration (which satisfies the human
  • need for socialization)

The negative effects of bad driving behaviors

Before we look at how gamification and telematics can be combined, let’s look at why it’s necessary to use it in the first place to improve driving behavior:

  • Risky driver behavior affects safety. A lack of safety not only has a human cost, but also results in driver and vehicle downtime and ultimately affects the bottom line.
  • Fuel economy also suffers as a result of improper driving behavior. Aggressive driving such as speeding, harsh braking and acceleration, and excessive idling lowers gas mileage by roughly 10% to 40% (depending on circumstances)2,3.
  • Aggressive driving, such as harsh acceleration or braking, puts unnecessary strain on vehicles and negatively affects their performance. This translates to more frequent maintenance trips and subsequently underutilized vehicles.

Marrying telematics with gamification

According to Professor B.J. Fogg of Stanford University, who developed the “behavior change model”, there are three elements – ability, motivation and trigger – that must converge to elicit a desired behavior. An individual must have the ability to carry out a task and be given a trigger to complete the task. Alongside this there must also be a motivation.

If you take this model into account, telematics is ideal for implementing gamification effectively. Drivers already have the ability to complete the task of driving safer and better. Telematics solutions can provide driving behavior triggers in the form of in-cab alarms or notifications. Driver apps and engagement platforms, like MyMiX, can be used to showcase scores obtained through telematics solutions which can then be used to provide motivation and develop incentives or rewards.

Gamification is best done in peer groups. A fleet usually consists of a team of drivers so it qualifies in this instance. In a group situation, drivers can compare their scores with others (stirring up friendly competition), which provides the needed motivation for drivers to keep doing better and ultimately for gamification to succeed.

Sources

  1. (2012, October 24). Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2013 and Beyond [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2211115
  2. Thomas, J., S. Huff, B. West and P. Chambon. 2017. Fuel Consumption Sensitivity of Conventional and Hybrid Electric Light-Duty Gasoline Vehicles to Driving Style, SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 10(3):2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-9379.
  3. Shoemaker, S. (2017, September 28). Sensible driving saves more gas than drivers think. Retrieved from: https://www.ornl.gov/news/sensible-driving-saves-more-gas-drivers-think

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