Achieving a State of Flow Through Gamification

Writer: Suvi Hirvi / Photo: Shutterstock

Gamification has become a key trend in business management. The aim is to help employees achieve a sense of autonomy, find internal motivation, and achieve a state of flow. Gamification has become popular both in business and leisure.

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular in the working world, in online services, as well as training and education. Gamification is an important part of management activities that can be used to improve motivation and performance. In practice, gamification in the context of management refers to the use of applications and systems that steer the activities of employees and increase efficiency. For example, companies may implement an hourly registration system to record the time spent on each task. Game-like systems encourage employees to work efficiently and systematically.

– Modern management thinking borrows a lot from games and gamification: work should offer employees the same experience as games: the aim is to achieve a sense of self-determination, find inner motivation and feel a sense of accomplishment and belonging, says Professor of Gamification Juho Hamari.

The study of gamification is relatively new. The research into gamification undertaken by Hamari in Finland is ground-breaking internationally. Juho Hamari approaches games and technology from the perspective of psychology, information systems, and economics. Hamari leads the Gamification Group that studies several phenomenon related to games and online economy such as gamification, virtual realities, the YouTube culture, internet and technology phenomena, and electronic sports.


Various workplace applications can strengthen the internal motivation of employees. A workplace can, for example, have an exercise campaign where everyone’s scores are combined together in one system. This is a good way to encourage employees to enhance team spirit and personal performance.
From the employer’s point of view, gamification engages employees in their work and increases work productivity. The idea is to support the progress of employees. Employees can better analyse their work when it is gamified.

In everyday activities, gamification can be used, for example, to improve athletic performance and motivation by using an app or fitness tracker that measures distances travelled. Gamification, that is, the creation of game-like experiences to increase motivation, has become an umbrella term for various applications and systems used in the workplace.
Gamification is inspired by games. Gamification commonly refers to the application of concepts and techniques from games. The aim of gamification is to help employees achieve a state of flow and progress in their work.

– Instead of gamification, we can already talk about a gamified culture and society, as everything is measured in today’s world, says Hamari.


The fanatic and time-consuming role-playing of young people and adults can also be seen as an asset in the changing working life.

– Teens today lead groups of 50 people in online role-playing games, for example in World of Warcraft. They are likely to become leaders in the real world as well, as playing teaches them gamification and leadership skills. People who lead groups in games possess good organizational and management skills. Game elements such as points and levels provide motivation to the user. In role-playing games, players have to walk in someone else’s shoes, so they also learn empathy, says Hamari.

Pioneering research

D.Sc. Juho Hamari (born in 1984),

Information Systems Researcher of the Year (2017)

The world’s first professor of gamification at Tampere University of Technology and University of Turku (2016)

Doctor of Economic Sciences, Aalto University School of Business (2015)

Juho Hamari leads the Gamification Research Group at Tampere University of Technology, University of Turku and the University of Tampere.

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Writer: Leena Roskala / Photo: Veera Korhonen