You want to use gamification as part of a solution you are building, but resources are limited and you can’t take a fully gamified approach. What is the one gamification element that you would insist was included, no matter what?
For me, it would be progress.
Start with Goals
This is not a single element, so this may be a bit of a cheat. Progress is linked to two main concepts. Goals and Feedback, something I spoke about at length in Part 5 of my Introduction to Gamification (which I will return to writing very soon!). So to include progress in a design, I need to be able to create goals for the user. As I mention in the linked article, these can be large goals that are then broken down into smaller goals: