When I consider how to make complex subject matter resonate, I think back to a US TV program I watched as a child called “School House Rock.” While I didn’t realize it at the time, these brief cartoon commercials – which explained topics like how bills are passed in the government – taught me lessons in a memorable and engaging way. If the investment industry builds on this behavioral approach, gamification could be invaluable in educating clients.
By engaging clients in a fun and intuitive way, gamification has the potential to help investors overcome financial and investment challenges, making complexity simple. It can empower users, giving them the tools to navigate the investment jungle and succeed in their own, personal financial quest. In fact, it could prove to be a great way to explain concepts such as risk and reward, or compounding, that firms often find so hard to communicate.
These are bold claims, but they’re backed up by the way that gamification influences human behaviors. At the interactive level, it can “teach” complicated goals and techniques without even seeming to try, in the same way that computer games use incentives and rewards to keep us wanting to “move up a level”. And at the investment level it takes a page from nudge theory and behavioral economics, guiding us towards decisions that are aligned with our long-term interests.