Originally published on August 15, 2017

47th in a series of 50 Knowledge Management Components (Slide 61 in KM 102)

Gamification applications: tools that use game mechanics to motivate desired knowledge management behaviors, such as awarding and tracking points for sharing and reusing knowledge

Digital badges: validated indicators of accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest that can be earned; badges are a visual, short-term reward for completing an action, given to users for performing a certain number of actions of a given type

Feedback and recognition for contributing, reusing, and sharing knowledge can help encourage people to continue to do so. Financial or other tangible rewards can be used in conjunction with recognition, but are not required to motivate the desired behaviors.

You can use a points system with or without rewards. An example of one without rewards was HP’s IT Resource Center (ITRC) Forums which offered a points tracking system to recognize those who shared their knowledge. The “Submit Points” option allowed members to rate replies to their questions by assigning points to those members who provided replies or solutions to problems. On the web site, the Top 25 members and the Top 10 new members were listed prominently, and this helped encourage members to help each other and award points as a result.

From the old web site: “This is the gathering place for IT Professionals to solve problems, exchange ideas, and learn lessons from fellow peers who also use the IT Resource Center. HP engineers participate in all of these forums to share their advice, however, HP does not guarantee a response as these forums are intended as a peer-to-peer resource.”

Another example was the KM Stars program which was used at HP to track points and create rankings (see details on the program). Other companies, including Accenture, Cisco, and IBM, have implemented similar programs.

An example of a former commercial tool (no longer available) was Enterprise Knowledge Incentives (EKI), Knexa’s proprietary reward system for knowledge sharing. “EKI embeds into knowledge sharing technologies a specialized reward and recognition system that awards a score for activities ranging from contributing documents to answering questions posed by other employees. It provides a sophisticated way to track, measure and reward a myriad of knowledge sharing activities.”

Commercial tools currently available include (see links to more lists and comparisons under Resources section below):

You can also develop your own web-based application to keep track of KM points. These points can be earned by contributing reusable content to an approved knowledge repository that is later reused by others, reusing content from an approved knowledge repository and submitting user feedback for that content, or assisting in a KM initiative approved by a member of the KM team. KM initiative activities can include regularly answering questions in a threaded discussion, serving as an ask the expert contact, actively moderating a threaded discussion, presenting on a community call or at a community event, participating in a pilot, or anything else that helps the KM program to succeed.

In order to receive points for contribution, all required metadata must be completed as part of the submission. In order to receive points for reuse, users must click on “I reused this content” or “I found this content useful.” Doing so triggers points being credited to both the re-user and the original contributor.

These ideas give you a starting point for designing your own system. You can choose to include any or all of these concepts, or think of others which are more suitable for your organization. The key is to try something simple to see if it works. You can try giving financial rewards to those who earn the most points, or recognize them in some other way. Publishing the leaders on the KM home page, in newsletters, and in special messages from the senior executive will help reinforce the importance of the program, spur a friendly competition between users, and recognize those who excel.

One lesson learned was to ensure that the incentive points tracking system automatically detects all desired actions and doesn’t require manual entry. When we first launched the HP KM Stars program, points for reuse needed to be requested by submitting this form:

We quickly found out that people were unlikely to do this. So we eliminated all manual entry of points requests and simplified the system in the process.


1. HP: KM Stars leaders featured on KM home page

2. HP: KM Stars points displayed on me@HP personal profile

3. Deloitte, Yammer, and LinkedIn profile completion indicators

4. Deloitte: Yammer Leaderboard

5. Accenture: Badges

6. IBM

7. Jive: Badges

8. Badgeville


  1. KM Incentives and Rewards
  2. How to motivate knowledge sharing using gamification, goals, recognition, and rewards
  3. Incentives
  4. Webinar: Gamification Accelerates KM Adoption
  5. KM Gamification — Holy Grail or Child’s Play?
  6. Using Gamification Techniques Can Accelerate KM Adoption — Elements of Gamification
  7. Using Gamification Techniques Can Accelerate KM Adoption — Frameworks
  8. KM and Gamification Techniques: Examples of Tangible Rewards
  9. KM and Gamification Techniques: The Circle of Excellence
  10. APQC: Gamification in KM
  11. Gamification: Making Work Fun, or Making Fun of Work? by Stephen Dale
  12. Steering User Behavior with Badges by Ashton Anderson, Daniel Huttenlocher, Jon Kleinberg, and Jure Leskovec
  13. Why gamification apps are playing out badly for business by Toby Wolpe
  14. Top Gamification Software Products by Capterra
  15. Best Gamification Platforms by TechnologyAdvice
  16. Gamification Software Reviews & Comparisons by FinancesOnline
  17. Compare Gamification Platforms by SoftwareInsider
  18. Top 25 Best Examples of Gamification in Business by Robert Stanley
  19. Top 4 gamification apps by Maria Korolove
  20. Gamification Applications and Gamified Business Systems by Processim Labs
  21. Badge Issuing Platforms by Badge Alliance
  22. Online Course by Coursera
  23. REAL Gamification: No Points, No Leaderboards, Just Results by Tom Short


  1. Digital Badges by Shauna Masura
  2. Digital Badges in Education: Trends, Issues, and Cases by Lin Y. Muilenburg and Zane L. Berge
  3. Foundation of Digital Badges and Micro-Credentials: Demonstrating and Recognizing Knowledge and Competencies by Dirk Ifenthaler and Nicole Bellin-Mularski
  4. Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards by Yu-kai Chou and Scott R. Smith
  5. The Gamification Toolkit: Dynamics, Mechanics, and Components for the Win by Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter
  6. Gamification by Design: Implementing Game Mechanics in Web and Mobile Apps by Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham
  7. Gaming to Innovate -The Innovation Game: How to Leverage Gamification to Unleash the Breakthrough Beast in Your Organization and Create an Unstoppable Innovative Culture by Curtiss Witt
  8. Business Gamification For Dummies by Kris Duggan and Kate Shoup
  9. The Gamification of Work: The Use of Games in the Workplace by Emmanuelle Savignac
  10. Gamification and Game Mechanics Made Simple by Patrick Chapman
  11. Gamification: A Simple Introduction & a Bit More by Andrzej Marczewski
  12. Gamification in Education and Business by Torsten Reiners and Lincoln C. Wood
  13. Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software by Janaki Mythily Kumar and Mario Herger
  14. Enterprise Gamification: Engaging people by letting them have fun (Volume 1) by Mario Herger
  15. Gamification in Community & Innovation Management (Volume 5) by Mario Herger
  16. Gamification for the clueless: How you can make the mundane more exciting by using Points, Badges and Leaderboards, and what this can do for your business by Josh Halliwell
  17. Gamification: Using Gaming Technology for Achieving Goals by Therese Shea
  18. Serious Games for Business: Using Gamification to Fully Engage Customers, Employees and Partners by Phaedra Boinodiris and Peter Fingar
  19. 42 Rules for Engaging Members Through Gamification: Unlock the Secrets of Motivation, Community and Fun by Shelly Alcorn and Willis Turner
  20. Gamification for Business by Lewis Harrison
  21. The Effective Use of Gamification Techniques in the Practical World by Jurgen De Smet
  22. Gamification: The Industry’s Biggest Secrets Revealed by Tom Raycove
  23. Gamification: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications by Information Resources Management Association
  24. Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things by Brian Burke
  25. Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification by Rajat Paharia

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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