Friday 28 February 2014

Gamification of Life

After a long time with no time to post, I find myself posting on Gamification whilst listening to a talk by @Yukaichou from Enterprise Gamification Consultancy at Hult International Business School organised by a student @NKakuev. He has been listed a 'top-5 gamification guru' on a UK Leaderboard apparently and having been to other talks about gamification, here is someone with 10 years' experience that appears to actually know what it is about.


One of the examples he talks about is how to create a game called 'FoldIt' to help create a protein structure for the AIDs problem. The problem existed for 15 years and was solved in 10 days.

Another example listed is SAP Community Network where they added game elements into their system and managed to increase their Active Users by 1300% and Activity by 2300%. As Yu-Kai says, this is not a start-up - that 1300% growth is significant when one is talking about SAP.

Example 3: Autodesk - where people go to different countries and people solve different problems. It might be fixing a bridge (etc.) and you have to use a free trial of Autodesk - the trial use increased 54% and Sales Revenue increased by 29%.

Yu-kai wrote a list of Gamification stats that are useful to help show ROI.

He then went on, through this whistle-stop tour of Gamification, to talk about the Schopenhauer Truth Hype Cycle (compare to Gartner's Hype Cycle)

  1. Ridiculed 
  2. Violently opposed 
  3. Regarded as self-evident

Which sounds like the process people go through with feedback... which brings us to Gartner saying that 80% of gamification attempts will fail due to bad design.  So how do you get better design?

Good Game Design asks the question "How do I want my users to feel?"

Yu-kai went on to talk about 8 core drivers that make games fun (do check out his blog for the meanings behind the headlines), but that also make us want to hang out with friends. These core drivers are:

  1. Epic Meaning & Calling
  2. Empowerment
  3. Social Influence
  4. Unpredictability
  5. Avoidance
  6. Scarcity & Impatience
  7. Ownership
  8. Accomplishment

Yu-kai gave a great talk about what gamification is and what works, what does not work and how people who want to use gamification should focus on engaging users rather than just causing addiction.  He has a framework called 'Octalysis' based on the 8 core drivers above.  He plots a matrix showing Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding and Endgame against Achievers, Explorers, Socialisers and Killers.

What surprises me is the number of people who still don't know what Gamification is, let alone whether or not it should be for them.  This is the same noise people made when social media first came about: 'it's for kids' or 'it's not relevant for my business'.  If you can make people enjoy engaging with your business, they will.  It should be obvious... I'll watch with interest how much people continue to treat this as 'new' over the coming years.

So why the title 'Gamification of Life'?  Is life a game?  There is an end-point.  There is a level of competition in every aspect of life: key points of the game (school, university, grad-school, relationships, marriage, children, jobs, careers, career-changes, recognition, fitness, beauty, wealth, longevity, popularity, altruism....) can cause people to compete and compare themselves with others (favourably or otherwise).

A lot of apps focus on this to help people eat less, do more exercise, spend more sensibly... so it would be interesting to see how this could be used to help individuals 'improve'.  Essentially, I'm thinking of how to gamify therapy: we all need that!

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