Garden Sneak Peek – Notifications
Things are fast and furious here at Natron Baxter Applied Gaming. We’re in the development trenches. Our socks are wet. Our crackers are stale. But still, like a blade of grass through a crack in the pavement, The Garden grows.
An Organic Approach to Increasing Employee Engagement
The Garden is an ambient gaming overlay for corporate environments. It nudges long-term employee behavior by using an equally long-term “growing game”. The Garden’s integrated desktop interface simulates a playful natural environment (a garden, tada!) designed to evoke an emotional connection with employees (an effect proven by recent psychological research studies noted below).
The following screenshots showcase the notification system prototype. In line with the gardening theme, vigilant player responses to notifications provide the flora with water, sunlight and fertilizer; inaction brings wilting, drought and pests. The garden responds to attention with new plants, critters, and special events, and cleverly and subtly unifies employee behavior with corporate objectives. We also happen to think it looks nice.
Click thumbnails to view full size.
The first screenshot presents a level-up response to employee achievement. The notification reads: “Your team has just surpassed the company record of 425 referrals in one month, set by CLICKCREW in 2009. Enjoy your bonus PTO!”
The second displays a behavioral reminder that unlocks a butterfly. The notification reads: “Butterflies in the garden mean that someone has replied to your blog post. Post a follow-up to make this butterfly a permanent resident.”
The third screenshot displays a response to employee inaction. The notification reads: “You haven’t logged your hours in three weeks. Log them now to bring your garden a much needed rainfall, plus unlock special rejuvenation powers.”
If you’re thinking “When can I see more?” …
Stay tuned for more posts in the coming weeks. The Garden will be available for enterprise configuration and deployment in Q1 2010.
If you’re wondering “What is a digital game overlay?” …
Digital game overlays apply game design features and principles in the workplace with minimal interference with employee tasks. Overlay features include scoreboards, level-ups and achievements (to name a few) that engage employees in a fun way. Each feature is thoughtfully applied with a personality that is appropriate for your company culture.
If you’re the type who needs to see supporting research …
… so are we. Researchers at the University of Rochester reported in fall 2009 that exposure to natural elements, even virtual ones, makes people nicer.  Work by Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab, supports the Natron Baxter approach in his Behavioral Model, a framework that is designed to explain how to use technologies to get someone to actually do or contribute something. And Donald Norman, professor emeritus of cognitive science at University of California, San Diego, explains in his book Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things that human decision making is dependent on both conscious cognition and affect (conscious or subconscious emotion), and that enjoyable interfaces put together emotion, heart and mind.
(Incidentally, we are endlessly grateful to the big brains that unknowingly influence the philosophies of Natron Baxter Applied Gaming.)
Weinstein et al.
Pers Soc Psychol Bull.2009; 35: 1315-132