Narrative is very, whether that narrative is given to us or our personal experience gives us a narrative to use. Think about this the simple game of battleship. The rules are simple, place some plastic ships on a board and randomly choose a square to call, in hopes of hitting the other guys ship if you sink them you win. Really put that way is not very compelling, what if in narrative of the game is about two opposing nations who have sent there fleet out to invade your country, in defense of your country you must stop the other fleet by sinking each ship and therefore saving your country and become the hero of the hour. Now you have put some context around what you are doing.
Narration can be both part of the game as well as what a person may interpret into the game through their own knowledge of the world around them. I believe people like context and that there actions means something and adds value, a narrative can help drive that out. Narrative helps build what I like to refer to as “What In It For Me” (Whif-em).
In games, narrative can be simple such as our battleship game, or it can be complex as in games like World of Warcraft where the story is well developed and can drive players to take one of many actions available to them to play within that narrative (story), but what about businesses, business are not games they are serious. But, yet I think there is narrative that businesses have that can be used to help build Gamification efforts.
Where could we look to find the narrative of a company, first place I would look is to the culture of the company that is the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviours shared by people within the organization. Culture is typically represented by the language, decision making, symbols, stories, legends and daily work practices. Gamification efforts need to fit into the existing culture of the company, and should be addressing a business need or problem that already exists.
How can we measure Narrative, through the companies stories and legends, not something that we measure easily, Hubbard, whom I just discovered wrote a book about how to measure anything, often businesses measure what is easy, not what is important. Measuring narrative, may be difficult, but how this type of thing can be invaluable when building a strong narrative to add Gamification to someone system.