I posted that I had completed the wonderful Gamification course on Coursera. Ryan Rutan suggested it might be worth sharing a couple of key learnings, and I would love to.
First off - Gamification is not about turning everything into a game (as is commonly assumed). Jive is gamified, but is not a game. The idea is to look at the elements of gaming that engage people so much, and then apply those to other arenas. The working definition in the course:
Gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts.
There are three parts to that definition.
A huge purpose of gamification is to motivate people to engage in certain behaviors.
Next - you really need to do a good design if you want to gamify something (well done, Jive designers!) - you need to understand your purpose, what you want to motivate people to do, and have a sense of the underlying pyschological/neurological mechanisms involved (fascinating stuff!). There are plenty of caveats here - it is often not well done, and gamification thus can get a bad rep.
It's a fascinating and emerging field. The Coursera course is very well done and I enjoyed it. The Prof has a book For the Win (Werbach, Hunter), which I am reading as follow-up and reinforcement. There are other great resources as well, but I find this well thought out and useful.