"Gamification Pitfalls and Staying Scrappy: A Recipe for Success"


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 14, 2023

4 min read


"Gamification Pitfalls and Staying Scrappy: A Recipe for Success"


When it comes to implementing gamification strategies, businesses often encounter pitfalls that hinder their success. In this article, we will explore some common gamification pitfalls and how to avoid them. Additionally, we will delve into the concept of "scrappiness" and its significance in achieving goals and navigating setbacks. By combining the insights from both gamification and scrappiness, businesses can unlock the full potential of their growth strategies.

Understanding User Needs in Gamification:

One common pitfall in gamification is not aligning the gamification flow with what users actually want. For example, Google News badges focused on social influence, relatedness, and a sense of accomplishment. However, a more effective approach would have been to tailor the badges to reflect how often users read articles. Understanding user preferences and building gamification flows around them is crucial for success. The key takeaway here is to prioritize user needs and design gamification strategies accordingly.

Keeping Gamification Simple:

Another pitfall to avoid is overcomplicating the gamification process. Zappos faced this challenge when they aimed to motivate users through badges and social inclusion. However, they failed to provide clear information about what each badge symbolized and how users could earn them. To prevent such pitfalls, it is essential to keep the gamification process simple and easily understandable for users. By doing so, businesses can increase engagement and motivation among their target audience.

Building Habit Formation with Loyalty Programs:

GAP, Inc. faced a specific challenge when they launched a one-day-only event where customers could win a free pair of jeans by checking in on Facebook Places. While the intention was to encourage check-ins, customers were primarily driven by the desire to obtain free jeans. This highlights the importance of habit formation in gamification. To build a loyal customer base, businesses should strategize and implement loyalty programs that encourage repeated engagement. By focusing on habit formation, businesses can ensure long-term success in their gamification efforts.

Motivating Users through Multiple Statuses:

Foursquare encountered a pitfall in their gamification strategy when they only offered the "mayor" status as a measure of achievement. This lack of variety resulted in users losing motivation after achieving the highest status. To avoid this pitfall, businesses should consider implementing multiple statuses or levels that users can strive to achieve. Providing users with a sense of progression and varied milestones can keep them engaged and motivated to continue participating in the gamified experience.

The Power of Scrappiness in Achieving Goals:

Moving beyond gamification, the concept of scrappiness plays a vital role in achieving success. Being scrappy means having a strong, determined character and a willingness to fight for what you want. It involves pushing through roadblocks, embracing failures as learning opportunities, and adapting quickly to setbacks. The scrappy mindset is crucial in any industry, as it allows individuals and teams to stay focused on their vision and navigate challenges with resilience.

Redefining the Approval Process:

Institutional memory and fear of risk-taking can hinder scrappiness within organizations. The approval process can become a hindrance if it allows anyone to say no, preventing ideas from taking off. To foster a scrappy culture, organizations must reconsider who has the final say and who needs to step aside. By empowering the right individuals to make decisions and minimizing unnecessary roadblocks, businesses can foster a more agile and innovative environment.

Embracing Failure as a Learning Opportunity:

Failure is often stigmatized, leading to a fear of taking risks. However, in Silicon Valley, failure is celebrated as a stepping stone to success. Despite this, organizations still struggle to embrace failure as a means of learning and improvement. Instead of assuming that missteps indicate the wrong direction, businesses should recognize that occasional failures are natural and use them as opportunities for adaptation and iteration. By embracing failure, businesses can cultivate a culture of continuous learning and improvement.


Combining the insights from gamification pitfalls and the scrappy mindset can pave the way for success in any industry. To avoid gamification pitfalls, businesses should prioritize understanding user needs, keep the process simple, and focus on habit formation and motivation through multiple statuses. Additionally, embracing the scrappy mindset allows individuals and teams to navigate setbacks, learn from failures, and adapt quickly. By incorporating these actionable insights, businesses can unlock the full potential of their growth strategies and achieve long-term success.

Hatch New Ideas with Glasp AI 🐣

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)