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QuizWorks' brand PlayDay using gamification to accelerate enterprise growth Raj Dam shares his entrepreneurial journey of building an inbuilt game mechanics to engage employees with content and maximise performance.

By Swadha Mishra

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Entrepreneur India

Do you think playing games at workplace is unproductive? Think again. Nowadays, more businesses are using gamification tools to train employees, promote creativity and improve their performance.

Just few years back, the scenario was not the same. But today, growing seriousness about gamification marks a dramatic change in the way enterprises engage and motivate their employees.

PlayDay, a brand of QuizWorks, is one such startup using gamification tools and techniques to help companies connect with its stakeholders such as customers, communities and employees, and at the same time motivate them to engage and learn more about the company, processes, policies, products etc. It is an online gamified platform that enterprises use for on-boarding, training and assessment, and improves sales productivity by helping sales representatives gain product knowledge, marketing skills and win more business.

Raj Dam, an interactive learning evangelist and a serial entrepreneur based out of Bangalore, left his well-paid job at Dell in 2010 to pursue a living out of his hobby – "Quizzing'. He was quick in capitalizing on the opportunity emerging due to the explosive growth in social media, mobile gaming, quizzing and contesting space. He realized the need of building a quizzing company, which would solve the content engagement issues for HR and Marketing teams' at large enterprises.

Reminiscing about the past, Dam shares, "We are solving learning challenges in organisations through quizzification and were using game mechanics long before the term "gamification' was trending. The learning we had doing such projects paved the way for PlayDay to be born."

PlayDay is aimed at providing solutions for the common problems faced by today's organisations like – Go-to-market time of new hires, Lack of uniformity in representing the company, Difficulty in building sales skills and product knowledge in globally spread workforce, millennial with low attention span, training dependency and measurement of sales reps' performance.

It uses structural gamification tool such as badges, medals, certificates, quests, community and leaderboards to enhance intrinsic employee motivation and engages the user to propel through the given content and also content gamification techniques like narrative driven immersive game experience depending on the learning objective and the desired learning outcome. The product has recently won Tech HR Spotlight Awards from People Matters under the category "Futurism in Talent Management'.

Success Saga

In a span of just 4 years, Dam has successfully collaborated with business leaders from Fortune 100 companies and have consulted leading organisations like Puma, Oracle, IBM, Dell, Microsoft, Wipro and many others spread across India and globally through their offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.

Speaking on the same lines, Dam says, "We have very innovatively used quiz and game principles in a vast array of industries right from Technology, Manufacturing, BFSI, Retail, and Government etc. At one end, we helped IBM and Microsoft quizzify their product features and take it to the CIO community, while on the other, we were helping companies like Mahindra and Ultratech create a preferred employer brand among college students."

"We also worked with the International Justice Mission to create awareness on bonded labour, with CII on Environment, with WWF on wildlife, with New Zealand High Commission on the destination and with marquee brands like Daimler Benz, ACC Cements, EXL Service, Genpact, Birla Sun Life, Johnson & Johnson, Puma, Wipro, Adobe and many others in using quizzing and gamification techniques in sales and enterprise learning," he adds further.

In a tete-a-tete with Entrepreneur India, Raj Dam, Founder, PlayDay, shares his entrepreneurial journey of building a SaaS (Software as a Service) based system with inbuilt game mechanics to engage employees with content, maximise performance and track learning:

What's your vision related to gamifying content in today's world? To what extent do you think a particular issue or content can be gamified?

Practically, gamification principles can be used in learning design of any type of content. In the consumer space gamification has been used for learning a new language (Duolingo), learning finance and accounting (The Accounted), graphic design (Level Up by Adobe) or learning mathematics (Khan Academy).

At an enterprise level, game mechanics are being used to make sure that employees are able to learn traditionally "dry' subjects like Compliance Policies in a fun and engaging manner – be it Information Security, Data Governance, Privacy Policy, Business Compliance Guidelines, Environment, Health and Safety or even sensitive issues like Policies on Sexual Harassment at workplace, Inclusion and Diversity, etc. Gamified learning systems are transforming how employees are being made aware of such topics worldwide.

How do you view the changes in the gamification industry in India over the last 10 years?

Gamification in itself will not be an industry, but application of gamification principles in consumer and business domains will see huge growth. Gamification as a strategy will be part of "Excellence' or "Innovation' centers in most organisations. Since gamification basically relies on psychology and motivation, there will be some collaboration among industry and academia in understanding the best use cases. The gamification market worldwide is estimated to grow from $421.3 million in 2013 to $5.502 billion in 2018. This means a CAGR of 67 per cent from 2013 to 2018 and India will be a large player in this pie.

Has it become easier to convince organisations, big or small, about the advantages of adopting gamification tools? Or do you feel it's more difficult to convince small organisations than the big ones and why?

There is a lot of interest today among large and medium Indian enterprises on how game mechanics can help them in enhancing business impact – be it in Sales, Marketing or HR. A lot of companies are using some kind of gamified systems built internally or bought externally in the areas of customer engagement and education, on-boarding and enterprise learning.

I don't think that there is any difference between large and small organisations in terms of convincing them to adopt gamification tools in their day-to-day operations. What is important is to find out the exact enterprise pain point that the gamification solution will cater to and the return of investment therein, and whether a gamified initiative is the best solution for such a pain point in the first place.

What do you think are the reasons behind the sudden surge of investors' interest in gamification startups?

It's because of "gamification'. If done correctly, it can hugely impact engagement and adoption of products and services thereby, creating a direct business impact among customers/users. And money will automatically flow in, if one could convince investors about the business impact.

Are you looking to raise any external funding in near time? What are you growth/expansion plans for the next 2-3 years?

We are currently funded by our business revenues and we have been making healthy profits from our inception that has allowed us to expand our product portfolio and team. We know that the problems we are solving are global problems and we have just started out North American operations out of Canada. The priority for 2015 would be to scale up our North American and Indian operations. We might seek external capital in the next 2-3 years, but more importantly, we intend to enhance our growth by establishing a channel partner programme for PlayDay and on-boarding more partners/resellers this year.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to venture into the gamification space?

My only advice to aspiring entrepreneurs will be to – "Build, Sell, Collect and Repeat'. The market is huge and way bigger than what we can fathom.

Swadha Mishra

Former Staff, Entrepreneur.com

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