Gamify Your Business Process Improvement

Nick Canfield
3 min readSep 7, 2020
Mario gets up the ladder by first 1) Finding the ladder, 2) Going up it, 3) ….

Everything is a process that requires steps, and I mean everything; however, we don’t typically take the time to step back, look at what we’re doing, and analyze how we produce things.

So what’s the hindrance to continuous process improvements?

Process improvement steps take time and are not inherently all that fun.

How can we make these boring process improvement steps better while improving our business processes for 2021, and how can we do it without it being another “oh great, another meeting to fix things” thing?

Gamify your process improvement process

That’s right. Gameify it. Everything can be gameified, just like everything can be mapped out into a process.

But how? Well… I’ve got some ideas.

Idea #1: Give your business a health bar

Right now you know how your business is health-wise, just like how in videogames players have hearts that determine health.

Talk with your colleagues about where your business stands. How many hearts do you have? Are they full?

How many lives does your business have before you meet Bowser?

Maybe they’re not hearts. Maybe they’re “lives” that you can lose when you hit a roadblock goomba.

Whatever they are for your business, just mark down your current business health status and analyze where how far you think you can improve.

Whenever you improve a process, even by a little bit, give your business an extra quarter heart or give it another Mario life. It just needs to give everyone the sense of we’re on our way to something better, even if it is taking a long time. Whatever it is, make it fun and relevant to what your business does and what your colleagues like.

Idea #2: Do short-term games

Take a lazy Thursday afternoon; take a process in need of help, and set the players to be in teams. Have them come up with strategies to improve the process.

You can do simple topics like “How to improve our Zoom calls” or “How to keep our kitchen cleaner”.

Short-term games get people into the mindset of continuous process improvements, even if they are not about the core aspects of your business.

Give prizes to the best ideas. Candy. Time-off. A nice leader board. Also, if the idea saves time & money, consider bonuses. That really drives innovation.

Idea #3: Set a Campaign Process Bar

Just like how in Red Dead Redemption 2 there’s a campaign process bar, estimate on where you’re at with improving your process.

Let people know how far everyone is on the journey to improving your process. Maybe put a trail in your conference room and a picture of your start performer on a horse, blazing the trail forward.

Arthur Morgan — He always wanted to improve his gang’s tax collection process ;)

Idea #4: Give people fun roles to play

Just like how JFK used to assign people roles to play in war simulations, assign people process improvement roles such as “The Dreamer”, “The Realist”, the “Easy Wins’er”, and “The Roadblocker”. Make it Mario-themed with Luigi as the “Why-Guy” and Peach as the “Process Mapper”.

Process Mapping is my superpower, in addition to beating Bowser at Mariokart.

Make up creative names that help people actualize their roles. Explain how their job is to come up with ideas, no matter how crazy they are. The goal is to give people a fun frame to get the idea juices flowing.

The more fun ideas for process improvement, the better the results.

Idea #5: Keep it fresh

Don’t just play the same process improvement game over and over. Find ways to change it up.

Bring out the CandyLand board. Find fun incentives to get people going on ideas. Do the process improvement session with silly accents where people have to guess the secret identities of people.

Mr. Licorice is always the “Roadblocker”

Just keep it fresh, and keep people on the mission of improving the process while having fun.

Try some of these ideas. Keep it fresh, and you’ll also create a new sense of teamwork while boosting up people’s innate desire to change and improve their work environments.

TL;DR — The steps of process improvement don’t have to be boring. Make them fun through gamification and fun process improvements.



Nick Canfield

Founder of Outsourcing | 📈Data geek. 💼Entrepreneur. 🌊🌴Digital Nomad.