Gamification has generated a lot of excitement and hype over the past 3 years. It promises to motivate both employees and customers to do things they might otherwise resist or ignore. With gamification, salespeople will compete to be the first to update Salesforce every day instead of needing to be nagged to do it. Well, that's the theory anyway. Like all elegant theories, the reality is not quite as wonderful.
eMee CEO Siddhesh Bhobe lays out 3 myths about gamification that have not survived the real world:
Points, badges and leaderboards encourage competition and enhance performance
Points, badges and leaderboards motivate top performers, but can have a deeply negative impact on the vast majority of “players”
Gamification is simple – assign points and badges, and you are done!
The real challenge and benefit of gamification is in providing an alternate mechanism and mapping of boring and difficult tasks into a gamified, virtual world
Gamification increases participation and productivity of employees in boring, mechanical tasks
Gamification is an excellent mechanism to improve engagement around tasks and workflows that are necessary as part of the job responsibilities, but fails to visibly increase adoption of non-essential initiatives
Bhobe goes into a lot of useful detail in his post, and I recommend that you read it if you're interested in a realistic approach to gamification.