Feminine gamification viewpoint: Building confidence

Feminine gamification viewpoint: Building confidence

Earlier this week as part of the “Make it digital” campaign on BBC they aired a show called “Girls can code”, where 5 girls are experiencing a variety of digital options with a view of coming up with a great idea for a digital product and to gain start-up investment. The whole idea is to encourage girls to also consider careers in technology and successful female mentors guide them along the way. The concept of the show is good, they have different challenges facing them on a weekly basis and some clear targets (sounds a bit like gamification, wouldn’t you think?). They also have support, but yet each of the individuals so far has been aired by showing major dips in confidence from tears to wanting to leave the show altogether.

I guess reality TV is not for everyone and whilst it looked like a safe environment on paper, the girls probably still had no idea what they would be let in for. Having worked as an expert who comes in to support someone going through life change on reality TV, you want to ensure people come out with a stronger confidence. Actually this is where I saw first hand the big impact game elements have with the added pressure of it being aired on national television, so I always felt it was my duty to the participants to make sure we enabled them to build confidence with their new chosen path. Having looked at the first show, I have to say personally I would be turned off by following a digital path if it was presented to me like it was in the TV show.

The same week again BBC shows another show supposedly loosely based on Grand Theft Auto and Rockstar Games, called “The Gamechangers” which effectively shows all that is wrong with the industry from long hours, to court cases and owners being on the brink of breakdowns. Again I am pretty sure it isn’t a true representation of how Rockstar Games operate. It just painted a horrible picture and caused even more debate to promote the show on violence in games. So if you weren’t a;ready put off by the previous show, this one would have put any girl (and possibly guys too) over the edge of saying “No, thanks to anything gaming related.” Whatever the purpose of the campaign is, they are sure not enabling confidence.

To gamify building confidence is to build up and stack evidence of ability and empowerment based on the skills the players come with. All the girls in the first show, came with knowledge of either social media, games, art, fashion, beauty, etc. Set a winning start for everything digital they know how to use as a starting point, then build curiosity journeys to add exploration into new fields in the mix, add bonus points for digital creative ideas and consistently build on the various steps the girls go through.

Only when the girls consider their idea to be ready enough have them pitch privately to the investor, whilst the Apprentice participants know they were going to get grilled, these girls were in it for the learning experience. Pitching an idea can send the shivers up a a grown person’s spine let alone when you have to pitch something totally unknown in an area that you aren’t comfortable with. The public showdown was actually cringe-worthy. In a game framework you would have played when you were ready to and if then you lost one of your five lives, it wouldn’t have been so important. Putting failure in the picture I do find important, but also to put it into perspective with very few times will failing with an idea cause anything more than loss of pride and potentially budget. It doesn’t kill you off permanently.

Needless to say, whilst the intentions are good with a ‘Make it digital’ campaign the execution so far leaves a lot to be desired. If the intention is to build confidence and encourage people to take careers in them, then why in the same breath question violence in game, are games bad for you, will robots replace you in work……….

Anyway, I have the start of a little confidence building gamification process above, if you care to build further confidence, why not share your additional elements in the comments to make it better again.


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