Rabobank Bets on Students to Successfully Leverage Gamification in Banking. Would you? [CONTEST]

Gamification has been one of the trendiest buzz words in 2011, and it will surely remain hot in 2012. Two weeks ago, the Netherlands’ Rabobank, in the top 30 largest financial institutions in the world and one of the most engaging banks in Europe, launched the Rabobank Gamification Challenge which is aimed at students.

Interestingly, it seems like financial institutions see gamification as the holy grail, the long awaited ultimate tool which will help them improve people’s damaged perception of a banking industry and engage with people despite its untangible products that nobody wants but everybody needs…

The Participants
70 Students of the University of Twente and the Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam fighting for the exclusive use of the User Experience Center Rabobank Netherlands. Accompanied by Rabobank experts explore the potential of students this fall Gamification for the website of the leading financial services provider in the Netherlands. The best innovative concepts and out-of-the-box applications are pitched at the User Xperience team.

Using game elements outside the game context. These elements help the user in the content of your website (or other media). They are helping to unlock gamification example of complex information, making fun of boring or unattractive activities. Gamification uses the natural tendency of people to participate in games.

Gamification Jam
On January 31, 2012 the best student teams pitch their concepts to the jury Rabobank in the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht.

The jury consists of:
Floris Bikker – Formule Manager at Rabobank Private Banking
Marco Mur – Manager Nieuwe Media at Rabobank Nederland
Marieke Kamphuis – Credit Risk Analyst at Rabobank
Hans Schepers – Marketing Manager Online at Rabobank Nederland
Richard Timmermans – Lead Interaction Architect at Rabobank ICT
Martin Korz – Innovator at Rabobank 

They will reward the winning concept with a visit to and use of the UX lab. In addition, the public asked to vote for their favorite concept for the public.

Last month, Rabobank uploaded four videos on to YouTube to explain the concept of the gamification jam.  Warning, those videos may contains several contributions from highly enthusiastic students!

Please find below the first video entitled ‘Rabobank Gamification Case 1 – het Huishoudboekje‘, including an introduction by Marco Mur.


If unlike me you do speak Dutch, I invite you to watch the following videos:
Rabobank Gamification Case 2 – Startende Ondernemer
Rabobank Gamification Case 3 Private Banking
Rabobank Gamification Case 4 – Campus Recruitment

My Take
It is another innovative initiative from the cooperative banking group Rabobank.  In the last couple of years, the Dutch bank has been very engaged online leveraging social media externally with the likes of their popular Rabobank Utrecht blog aka the ‘Raboblog’, youtube sport channel aka ‘Rabo Sport TV’ or online community for entrepreneurs aka ‘Starterscommunity’, and even internally with the chatroulette experiment or their 1st Social Media Day where I delivered the keynote session in front of an engaged audience of 350+ employees back in May 2011.

It demonstrates Rabobank’s commitment to innovate, engage with their clients wherever they are, and constantly improve customer experience.  The innovation team not only have a decent budget, they also have the latitude to launch some visible pilots and initiatives.  The bank has been assessing options in the gamification space for almost a year now: I invite you to watch my interview with Maarten Korz – Innovation Manager recorded in May 2011.  So it doesn’t surprise me to see Maarten and his colleagues implement their vision.

The format of this project, i.e. involving students, is rather interesting.  I guess the bank is planning to use gamification to better engage with their future customers, hence targeting the student and graduate segments.  I couldn’t find too much information on the mechanics of the contest, so I still have many unanswered questions: how are the students organized and mentored?  Where can you find, and vote for, the current submitted ideas?  Is there no social media or crowdsourcing element to this initiative?
FYI, I plan to interview Maarten when the contest is over.

And I wonder how appealing for students the reward is.  Rabobank is a well respected, innovative, Dutch company with an international presence.  So I guess that with the amount of visibility the winning team would get internally, the contestants must believe they might just be able to join Rabo’s innovation or customer experience team and land themselves one of the most exciting jobs in banking.

Again, if you speak Dutch, I invite you to watch a video interview with Maarten on gamification.


Join the Discussion (Here or on Facebook)
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and flag the best practices in gamification from the worldwide financial services industry.  So, has your financial institution already started to implement a gamification project?  How successful has it been so far?  Are students the primary target?

The top comments and their contributors will be highlighted on the Visible Banking platform (blog, facebook page, twitter account).

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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