Gaming will become as important to businesses as social networking and e-commerce by 2014, according to analyst firm Gartner.
The company also argues that by 2015, more than 50 per cent of organisations that manage innovation processes will "gamify" those processes – and employ game mechanics to non-game environments.
Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner, said that "gamification" is expected to become important for innovation, marketing, training, employee performance, health and social change.
"The gamification of social networking and location-based services as exemplified by [location-based social networking and gaming services] Foursquare, Gowalla and SCVNGR are probably the most recognisable with badges, mayorships and rewards offered for check-ins," he said in his blog.
He added that game mechanics has also been applied to engage people, change behaviours and innovate in a variety of fields including innovation management, health, training and employee performance.
"Enterprise architects, CIOs and IT planners must be aware of and lead the business trend of gamification, educate their business counterparts and collaborate in the evaluation of opportunities within the organisation."
He cited the Department for Work and Pensions efforts in creating a game called Idea Street, saying that it decentralised innovation and generates ideas from the 120,000-strong workforce.
Idea Street is a social collaboration platform with the addition of game mechanics, including points and leader boards. Within the first 18 months, Idea Street had about 4,500 users and had generated 1,400 ideas, 63 of which had gone forward to implementation.
"Leveraging the collective to drive innovation is just one of the many areas that gamification is being applied. Customer loyalty is the primary application that is driving this trend," Burke added.
"Enterprise architects must be ready to contribute to gamification strategy formulation and should try at least one gaming exercise as part of their enterprise context planning efforts this year."