Previous posts have covered some of the issues that have come up. What I want to do here is summarise where we have got to and park the subject until some of these issues have been addressed.
So here we go on the issues;
- Is collecting badges really a game? Why will people bother collecting them other than some of us OCD types who will collect any old rubbish - who will be energised to collect? The answer to this will need to be addressed within the company. The initiative will need some serious backing from the most senior management and will need to be followed up with 'proper' marketing. Leaving it to 'organically grow' I don't believe is an option - see comments on LinkedIn below which is much more visible to people but still has had difficulties.
- Extensive research, i.e. me just watching what has happened to my LinkedIn skill endorsements, has shown that there are some who are just 'too cool to play'. Some people - engineer-techno-scientific'y types I must add - seem to find it impossible to click the endorse button. Probably some deep psychological reason here which I wont even bother tying to understand. Possibly throwing some confusion into the badge construction and selection arena?
- How best to make visible the badges, internal company-only sites or external visible to all, a la LinkedIn? External is good for infrastructure - its all in place and maintained for you. In fact using LinkedIn skill sets would be a very easy way to start to roll out the badges. Using specific badge collecting sites would impose too much of a burden on people as it would involve everyone signing up for yet another site whereas almost everyone in the company has a LinkedIn account. However, these external sites are subject to the whim of the designer and we have seen recently unilateral changes to functionality of these sites and the removal of some facilities. Do you really want to rely on these sites for what would be a key business function? Internal sites would of course be under full control of the business but would require quite a bit of 'maintenance' - which would of course also costs money and is therefore at odds with my primary directive! I think the answer lies in both internal AND external recording. An internal central record could be kept but using the external site to advertise - if the external site goes pear shaped then at least there is a backup. Internal - simple record and authorised rating body for the skill - external - visible and rateable by community - is the best way forward.
- Others outside the business could mess up the ratings? However, I have left an internal training badge (AMP badge) on my LinkedIn site for a few months and nobody has tinkered with it. So the chances are this route for advertising badges will work - people tend to only rate skills that they are personally aware of - which of course is what gives credibility to the community ratings. but also means that they are less inclined to rate and therefore muck about with internal training course badges.
For further reading on the upside, check out;
and the downside
So in summary, it looks viable to select a set of badges for internal skill's and make attainment of them visible on an individuals LinkedIn site. The mechanics are therefore fairly straightforward for getting something running. The difficult part will be raising the profile of this initiative within the business and in getting buy in from senior management.
Which is the next step in this journey!