How to: Digital Engagement in Digital Transformation

digital engagement

The Need for Digital (Engagement in) Transformation

Most companies need to create digital experiences for their customers. The days are gone that we have large front desks that take care and guide people on their customer journey from ‘cradle to grave’.  Now companies like banks, insurance providers and telecoms need to inform, sell and cross-sell to their clients online.

Fortunately, most companies are quite good at creating bug-free websites and applications for their user base. Valuable functionality and content is available on these vehicles. So all is good, from a Function Focused Design perspective.

Unfortunately, though, this is not enough. Just because functionality is present in an application, doesn’t mean that people actually will interact with that functionality. Most applications are confusing and not optimized for human motivation. They certainly do not get people to use applications over time and in-depth. In short, there is no lasting digital engagement

Enter Human Focused Design: design that is optimized for human motivation.


Gamification: Human Focused Design backed by science

To engage users in the digital experiences you offer, you need to know how to design for their short and long term motivations. We call this Human Focused Design: design that is optimized for human motivation.

Good games have perfected the art of Human Focused Design. A good game needs to excel at engagement. Since you never ‘have’ to play a game, the moment it gets boring you drop out and do something you have to do. Like filing your taxes.

In Octalysis we have looked at how successful games motivate people. We have discovered the powerful Octalysis framework that explains our inner motivations. We used behavioral science to back all our findings up and now we are using this knowledge to create truly powerful gamification design. 

The results of well designed Gamification are stunning. Here are some sample ROIs:

Sales up 712%

Daily Active Users 94%

KPIs up 60%

Gamification is defined as the application of lessons learned from successful games to  non-game experiences. The sector is growing at 35% a year, and companies like CitiGroup, Credit Suisse, eBay, Microsoft and Volkswagen have all used the Gamification Design services of companies like The Octalysis Group ( 


So how to design for Digital Engagement with Gamification?

But what is Gamification really? And how can we use it to further digital transformation in companies? How can we ensure true digital engagement?

Good Gamification is not just about adding game elements, like Points, Badges, Leaderboards to an application or experience. We know that is too simplistic and doesn’t work: the engagement needs to be embedded in the experience itself. Not in the elements as such. ALL games have game elements, yet most games are not successful. So just adding game elements is not what successful gamification is all about.

It is also not about “making something into a game”. There are many games that nobody plays, so just making something into a game is no formula for success at all. You have to discover why certain games are successful and why others are not. It is trying to gather the motivational power of (what we call) gameful design and apply it to real life, boring issues. 


Digital Engagement

And how do we use this for Digital Transformation

In order for long term Digital Transformation to equal true digital engagement, Gamification needs a thorough business processes approach so that the design impacts key long term indicators for companies.  

Gamification needs to connect to companies’ business objectives. We also need to design for the full user journey, Design that changes over time, from a focus on extrinsic rewards (prizes, points, badges) to more intrinsic experiences (create autonomous choices, strategy, social collaboration, and non-linearity).

Every digital transformation is different. Every company is different. And so are user groups. Gamification cannot be a plug-and-play exercise, but needs to be specifically designed for each transformation separately. For examples of some of our work, please see

Contact me if you want to know more about how we can create lasting digital engagement for your company as well.


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