What the heck is Gamification?

And how can it be applied to make for more effective and powerful user experiences?

San Francisco startup Gamify has launched an in-depth Gamification Encyclopedia. This wiki-based site covers "gamification"--the process of adding game mechanics and rewards to non-game experiences--of all kinds, from websites to the ways it’s been applied by governments and  industries like healthcare and transport.

Gamification is emerging as a powerful meme in the interactive world. No wonder, especially when you consider that CityVille, the latest game from Zynga, (the company that created of Farmville), just barely a month old, is the most popular application on Facebook, and is closing in on 100 million monthly active users.

Play is a powerful thing.

How will you apply the tenets of game design--make it fun, offer rewards, foster social connections--to make more compelling customer experiences in 2011?