Gamification Nation Gamification design for business results Fri, 16 Aug 2019 09:07:55 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Gamification design for business results Gamification Nation Gamification design for business results Gamification Nation Podcast 22: What can we learn from our environment for gamification design? Tue, 13 Aug 2019 08:00:38 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I am the Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation, and this week’s question of gamification is one I have. I suppose it’s in light of all the global politics that are going on...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 22: What can we learn from our environment for gamification design?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I am the Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation, and this week’s question of gamification is one I have. I suppose it’s in light of all the global politics that are going on everywhere. It made me question, are we just all part of one large strategy game by a certain amount of players? Before I go into that, I want to draw analogies to strategy games, and what’s happening around this, both in the world of politics and the world of business, because that’s how, A, I see business but also, B, I think there’s a lot we can learn from it. It also encourages you, and that’s my hope that I can inspire you to think critically.

Okay, if you were in charge of that game, how would you play it? What cards would you play, and what would winning mean? What’s the win condition? Is there a win condition, or are we just heading for a zero sum game where there are no winners, only losers?

I guess it’s probably out of I would say frustration or desperation. I don’t know. It’s a blend maybe of the two. As you know, I’m a European working a business in the UK, and with Brexit looming we have a workforce that’s all spread over the world. For me, being a global business was always the way I wanted to play the game. I never thought of my business as being just a British company. I actually always felt it was a company playing on a global scale, but now currently the strategy of the politicians is potentially pushing a major, I suppose, spanner in the works, let’s just say. It’s making me adjust my strategies in order to still continue to play the game I wanted to play.

Then I also wonder if I’m only part of the larger playing field. I mean, we’re a tiny company in comparison to some of the big names in industry, but in the end of the day we all have a role to play in the strategy game whether we’re a low-end small business or a high-end major player like an Apple, an Amazon, an IBM, a Google, whatever. We all have a role to play, but also politicians have a role to play because their sense of government’s lack of or insights and wrongdoings can have major impacts. I mean, trying to grow any business in war-based countries is no mean feat. Trying to do business when your company or country is at war with other countries is not so simple.

Very realistically, I’ve had one client refused a platform I advised to use because of the company or the country they were from. They said, “Well we can’t possibly, as a Muslim nation, do business with a company from that particular nation.” It’s real, and I would say an oversight by maybe or maybe not politicians in the UK is that EU companies will choose an EU company to do business with as opposed to a British company unless the British company is the cheapest one on the market and offering lower values, which if you think about, I suppose the EU as a governing body, it has a lot of good to offer. It offered the whole continent of Europe peace for nearly 50 years. It brought about lots of rules that are actually good for business, good for humans, and good for the planet.

Do we like them all of the time? Of course not. That’s the nature of rules. Just like in any game, we don’t like having to stick to rules and having some ways they may impede us from doing how we wanted to do certain things. Yeah. I mean, in a strategy game you will always pivot and choose a different strategy based on the feedback you get from the market, the feedback you get from the game, the choices that are left to you. In the current political climate, I’m having to make choices, and the first choice I made was to wait and see. Now with an impending leaving the EU or Britain leaving the EU after all, unless a general election comes up, which is also still a possibility, it may mean having to set up the group entity, increasing the cost space by having to do double accounting and double offices and double everything.

It’s a realistic choice, and until we have to, we won’t action it, but it is something we are researching. It is something that we are looking into. Why? Because I wouldn’t trust the UK government to get it right. Especially in the last three years, they haven’t got much right. It would need a drastic change for my mind to be changed on it. Hey, that’s me, just one person.

If we think about politics as a strategy game, then the question is who are the winners, and who are the losers, and at what level or how much dissatisfaction do you need to raise in order for the top to change their minds and adapt their strategy? I have a place I’m going with that.

If you look at the situation in Hong Kong, that’s one scenario. People are very unhappy and protesting consistently to change rules that they don’t like. Government so far hasn’t changed their minds. The question is how much dissatisfaction does there need to be before governments change their minds? If you look at the UK, the people are split on leave, remain, and anything in between. Some people are much more leave oriented than they ever were. Some people are much more remained than they ever were. Some people have switched sides, and it’s nearly like there is no such thing as a middle ground anymore. It’s like you’re either one side or the other side, and it’s effectively very polarizing. If you see what’s happening in the US, similar boats.

You know the leadership is very polarizing, and when we look at it from a strategic perspective, who are they playing with, and are they playing for personal gain, or are they playing for game and must, must win? Because right now it looks like politics is an ego game where there can only be ever one winner, and maybe that was where we made the rules, and we’ve made them wrong. It could be politics were politics way back in the day, and they’ve always been there, so there’s always been some influence or other that was good, some influence or other that was bad.

I would say having a think about, “Okay if you were playing politics…” One of my favourite games was Sim City. I played it a lot in college where you have to become the mayor and build up a city. Now, one of the things in the game, and it’s a resource management game so you have to manage the various resources from trade to natural resources to people, and if you didn’t do and build certain things, then your people would get unhappy and would actually start riots and would be damaging to your particular city.

I think in society we see the same thing happen, but a lot of people have lost, I suppose, the spirit of fight because nothing has changed for quite some time. Politicians for the world over haven’t proven that much that we need to believe in what they say, for one. For two, we still question if they’re in it for the greater good of all of us or rather for the greater good of themselves. I suppose that’s the fundamental question. Is politics just an ego game or is politics something that we need in order to manage companies, in order to manage countries, in order to manage the world? Have we maybe become, as part of globalization, maybe national governments are obsolete? Maybe it is a different construct that’s needed, but by having a different construct, we may have even less people in power, even more ego tripping.

Maybe there is a fundamental, I suppose, question we can’t answer, but it does raise the question at the same time. Where am I going with this? What does it have to do with gamification? Well, actually a lot and a little on both sides. Personally for us, see, or for me as a business owner, it has a lot of implications. For gamification design, I’m looking at this and sort of seeing, “Okay, so what game are politicians playing?” If I look at the Boris Johnsons and all his friends in cabinet right now, I see a whole bunch of self-serving and often not fair players in the game. If I look at the opposing party like a labour, I see player that haven’t really got a strategy. If I look at then maybe some of the green shoots that are popping out, you have extreme strategies. On one side, you have a Farage on the other side or Brexit party better. On the other side you have a Liberal Democrats who are very clear that they are a remain party.

You have I suppose some political parties have been forced to take a stance, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Then it’s up to us as people to choose, “Okay, who do we want to elect for us to be representative of our own ideology?” Now our own ideology, if you think about it, is always based on limited inputs, limited information. Just like in any strategy game and just like in business, you make the best decisions with what you know at any given time. You look for as many inputs as possible, but you’re not going to make the best choices all of the time. You will have some mistakes. You will have some wrong choices, but if I look at that in a leadership context, having a clear strategy in my view, and that’s my personal view, is probably better than to have no strategy at all.

If I look at the game Johnson played is, he had two strategies before going into either campaign. He could have gone remain. He could have gone leave. He went leave, and now he’s used it to self-promote, and he ran a very successful strategy. You have to give him that.

Is he going to make it? I’m not convinced because unless he makes it for the greater good of everyone including the EU, then I think he’s on a losing streak. But, hey. That’s only history will tell us that, and that’s not up to me to decide. I think there’s so many factors at play that I couldn’t possibly figure that one out.

But, if you look at it from a strategy play, he hedged his bets. He had two cards, and he chose one, and then he completely stuck with that strategy and went for it. You have businesses that do the same. They pick a strategy, they stick with it, and they execute.

I think where the previous government went wrong, they didn’t execute. One way of another, any maybe they didn’t have enough of a tactical plan to back up the strategy. Because in the end of the day, strategy on paper is only idealism in any case. But, strategy and execution and tactics, that’s where the games are played in a strategy game unless you take your team to battle and you actually battle.

The best theory is always on the sidelines, same with any soccer game, with any tennis game, with any card game. Unless you play the cards, you’re not in the game. So, we have to keep playing. We have to keep adapting and pivoting in order to stay in the game, and I think that’s only natural. It’s, I think, how it works.

But, yeah, in the gamification design perspective, a long-winded way of getting there, I often have to ask many strategic questions in order to crystallize why do people want gamification. Why do they want to use a game? What is the benefit in it for them, but also the benefit in it for the people? What does it enable? Do we do some gamification designs for marketing?

I always have to keep asking the question, what’s in it for the customer? Why would they want that? Does it help them, or does it impede them? Most organizations actually do genuinely want to have their customers feel that they’re being helped, that they’re getting places, that their goals are being met. Most companies are not ripping off people on purpose. And I say most companies. There are always outliers, just like in politics. You always have outliers who are in it for themselves and not for the greater good.

I think, as gamification designers, we do have an ethical obligation to ask those questions. We signed up to a code of ethics, which I’m very thankful for that Andrzej Marczewski put together. The code of ethics is to always be as inclusive as possible and to have good ethical thinking behind that.

Now, some companies drive that further than we do, or they refuse business of certain industry segments, et cetera. We take a commercial approach to most things, but at the same time, we wouldn’t do something to harm people. But we won’t also refuse companies unless they don’t pay us, for example.

So, there’s different strategic choices you always have to make. You can change your minds, of course, on most things. Maybe not as often as some of the politicians in the U.K. have done in the past three years. But, it’s interesting.

And I guess, from a corporate gamification design perspective, imagine your company setting a vote for a particular benefit or a particular rule or a particular practice that you want to introduce. You need to have a cut off point. Is it the 50-50 or 51% votes in favour? Do you take if 50, or should it be a 60-40 for it to be a clearer majority?

In university in Belgium, you passed at 40, but you got honours only from 60 onward. So, there is different grades, different rules. In some schools, you only pass with 50%. In some schools, it’s 60. So, you set the rules. We’ve worked on gamification designs where the pass rate was 70% because of the highly critical nature of what people were having to do in the role if they were pushing a job.

So, although politics is a bad analogy or maybe something, as a business owner, I shouldn’t engage it. But, if you follow me on social, you know where I am on that. So, I guess there’s no place to hide.

But I did want to draw it out to showcase, actually think about it. If politics is a game, then who are the winners and who are the losers and who are they winning for? What are the rules? Are they sticking to the rules? Are they just making the rules suit them some of the time and not some of the time?

So, if you think about it, the U.K. as an example, they were actually quite instrumental in drafting up a lot of the rules that the EU currently lives by. A lot of the great legislation has actually come from the U.K. as well. So, to then turn around and say, “Oh, we hate the EU because they have bad rules.” Well, that was quite a percentage that you proposed, and they accepted.

If you take away all of EU legislation out of the U.K. law system, you end up back in feudal days, so that’s quite a roll back. Do you really want that? Equally, if you take away the joint of nature of performing like a block of nations, in no game do I see a collaboration of 28 nations being less strong than one nation on its own.

Any gamer would tell you that. If you collaborate with a bunch of people, surely the sum total of everything gives you better buying power. It gives you better deals around. You also have more clout against certain individuals who want to rip off your society anyway. So, yeah, it baffles me that this is not seen. But, hey. That’s just me thinking out loud, I guess.

From a small company’s perspective, I join up with associations like [Ayuki 00:06:50] and Atiga because they represent our industry as in the wider gaming and digital enterprise industry and stand our ground in front of politics. Why is that important to me? Well, actually I don’t have a voice as one individual, but if I group together with all of the other small businesses in my space, we can hire someone that then represents the whole lot of us, and that, I do value, and I would encourage all of you to make sure that the associations that you’re a part of know what you want globally. And if there is an association that represents your industry but doesn’t actually lobby at governmental level, then question what they are doing for you because it’s usually much more of a self-serving scenario. So, question it.

So, from a strategy design perspective, politics is teaching us a lot right now. I would say look at it, think about it, learn from it, and then decide, okay, for my business, for my company, for my people, what would I want? If I’m doing a vote, should it be a 50-50 split, or should there be a bigger majority? If it is binding or not binding as a vote, is it just an opinion poll because opinions can be sought at any given time in employee engagement.

It’s one of the most favourite tools. People get asked the employee survey once a year or maybe more often. In some of the employee engagement tools, you get asked every five minutes. Mood analysis is a thing. So, I sure wish politicians would use that more rather than self-serving interests, but hey. Maybe they are using it. What do I know? I’m not a politician.

So, what I’m trying to say is we live in a very interesting time. I hope that as governments go and as businesses go, that we don’t turn back the clock so far in time that we end up in that horrible situation where we become worn torn nations battling because the generals of our societies have decided that that was a good idea. And for those countries already living in these conditions, speak to anybody that comes from there, and they will tell you the story.

I would say in the last number of weeks, I’ve had the honour, I would say, to sit in cars with people from nations where war is basically a fact of life, and people say, “Well, actually, there was no point. There was no future.” Is that what you want? Most of us actually don’t want that for our people. We want to give them a future. We want to give them a step up.

In our business, we have one gentleman who is a former refugee who escaped, but his family is still in danger. So, it makes you think. It makes you really appreciate what you do have, and yeah. I would wish for all gamification designers, game designers, and people in business and politics, to always think about the greater good of all of us as opposed to the greater good of me.

We all have ego talks at some point. We all do things that probably are more self-serving than self-serving for the greater good, but is that the right thing? And maybe it isn’t, and maybe that’s where we then need to pivot back and strategize for the majority as opposed to for a small minority, and in some cases, even a minority of one.

So, a bit of a reflective question of gamification. It was my question in the first place. I hope that you can appreciate where I’m coming from. I’m not aiming to transform your visions or your thoughts on which side of politics you should take. I’m just merely saying observe politics and observe what’s going on around you, and think of it, and I suppose take the higher level view. And so, okay, okay, if this was a strategy game and I was a player in it, would I play the same way or would I not? And because you’re actually impacting real consequences for real people, and if you’re a manager deciding to spend budget on gamification, this should be on your agenda too.

Then, consider deeply, who are you serving? What is in it for the people you are serving? Can you lift them up to their next level of greatness? In which case, great. If you can’t, then you need to question, is this the right step forward? Is this the right thing to do, or am I just sticking to a strategy because I chose to polarize, or I chose to go down one route and one route only because it suits me and my objectives?

So, I leave you with that thought. I hope you can enjoy the spirit in which it was said, and I hope to talk to you, probably a bit more business-focused next time. And I thank you for listening to A Question of Gamification.




The post Podcast 22: What can we learn from our environment for gamification design? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I am the Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation, and this week’s question of gamification is one I have. I suppose it’s in light of all the global politics that are going on... Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I am the Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation, and this week’s question of gamification is one I have. I suppose it’s in light of all the global politics that are going on... Gamification Nation 23:45
Podcast 21: What are kids learning from games? Tue, 06 Aug 2019 08:00:45 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. On this question, I get asked a lot by parents, “What are my kids learning on video games, on computer games, on mobile games?” “Should I limit their time on it,” is typically the second question. “I am...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 21: What are kids learning from games?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. On this question, I get asked a lot by parents, “What are my kids learning on video games, on computer games, on mobile games?” “Should I limit their time on it,” is typically the second question. “I am worried about my kids playing too much.” It’s a very frequently asked question by managers in many organisations with children at home. They see that their children are playing and playing a lot, and I suppose with the World Health Organisation, you’re marking gaming as a disorder as well. There’s a need to explain why and what the case may be with games and what it brings or doesn’t bring to your children or young people that you know.

The first thing I will say is as a person growing up, my parents were quite protective and we were not allowed games at all in the house. So when I was growing up, I was always borrowing somebody else’s games in school in order to play. In fact, I think at one stage my dad thought that Pong was going to blow up the television. And if you don’t know Pong, look it up, it’s a very basic game with two balls knocked to the side of the screen and you have to sort of play table tennis on the TV screen. So my uncles had to uninstall it quite quickly after it had launched.

What we did do, however, is we had a lot of board games. We had a lot of card games. We were all involved in sports. Although computer things were banned, we still got to play. Actually all of my children’s parties were sets of games. Most of them I dreamt up. I was lucky to be born in June, and often then the weather in Belgium was quite nice and quite fun. We typically had really fun things in the garden, in our house.

The little puddle pool was used as the hinderness that you had to overcome or the obstacle that you had to overcome rather than the hindrance, which is nice Flemish word for that … it’s an obstacle. One group of the party people had to defend the obstacle and either make you go through it, which gave you immunity, or you had to be cunning enough to distract them and run past them super fast and get to the other side. Things like Tug of War, you name it, we did it.

For my confirmation we had this massive life-sized board where you had to roll the dice and you move forward, and based on where you landed you had to go find the clue in the woods and perform whatever task was related to that clue. If the person that was minding that clue thought you had passed you, you were allowed to continue back to the board and the dice. Things you had to do in order to get over a clue were things like dress up and take a photo, solve a riddle. Sometimes you had to find things. There were always fun, cool stuff that happened.

So although I never actually got to own a console of any denomination of sorts, I did love to play and my parents did definitely encourage that. Even though when I asked about a career in gaming, my dad was very adamant that there was no money in games. I guess it was a good … I would have been seven, so a good couple of decades ago. Let’s just say that.

Today’s kids I think have a bit more of a privilege or access ability, I think. And maybe that’s also my worldview of a relatively well to do middle class background, because gaming, let’s not forget, this is not cheap. So a lot of kids from the lower end of the market families may still not be able to access any game consoles or just purely because of costs. And if they do, they might have to work really hard to earn access to it. So I think if your kids are gaming, you’re already in a nice place and you probably have enough money to help them do certain things. So that’s one thing.

But what are they learning? So think about it this way. If your children are playing as a team with other kids in their class, in their neighborhood, but even with other kids online that they have never met, like is the case in the large games like World of Warcraft where a whole tribe comes together, forms a team effectively, they learn how to work in a virtual team with remote coworkers following instructions. In some cases the 12 year old or the 14 year old or the 16 year old is the leader of the tribe. So they’re leading people, they’re giving instructions, they’re giving feedback. If you think about it in the workplace, essential skills, right? So if they’re engaged in that sort of play and they are really good at it I would say encourage them.

What I would also say if they do that to the detriment of having any friends in real life, then yes, pay attention to that. That’s when it is potentially an option. So anything in moderation is relatively good. But if for example, the friends online are much more important than their friends in real life, then the question needs to be raised, are they going down the line of ruling everything else out in favor of play. And that’s when you’re entering the realm of addictive behavior.

Now, most games come and go. So you’ll have children go through phases of today, Fortnite is the big thing. Fortnite has become mainstream. I saw it on the news yesterday that there’s the Fortnite world championships coming on. There’s world championships in most games. My partner plays in European championships and world championships in Othello, a board game, I used to play when I was a kid.

There’s world sports and world games for pretty much anything, and maybe not enough in management. Maybe there should be such a thing for the workplace. Maybe there should be games to prove who’s the best manager based on resources. And maybe in some way we do that because we do measure companies based on their performance. If, let’s say, the stock exchange is how management teams are rated, then you have leader boards and you have indicators of resource management because whatever money you have left, whatever money you have in the bank is at play in the world of business success.

There’s a number of things that you could draw analogies with. What else are kids learning when they’re playing games? They’re learning to solve problems. They’re learning to overcome obstacles, and they’re learning that winning is not always a guarantee. And in today’s society I think that that above all other things is an essential skill. Resilience is something all of us that have made anything with our lives have had to learn the hard way. We’ve had to probably come through some knock-backs, some setbacks in order to make it to where we are today.

I see failure. I see losing a game as feedback. Yes, not nice in the moment, but very essential for us to grow and to become a bigger and better person and to do better next time. Winning first time round and winning all of the time is for only a lucky few the way things work.

If you look at any major sports person, whether it’s a Venus Williams or a Federer, a Messi, a Hazar, whoever you interview, these guys and girls have had to train hard, they’ve had to take failure and they’ve had to be resilient in order to keep moving forward. Yes, they may have come with a talent, but unless they nurture that talent and focused in on it and became better at it with coaching, with training, with probably researching how they could get better, with analyzing how they could improve, they would never have made it to the top. And I would argue that the gamers of today, the kids that are rocking it on Twitch, the kids that are rocking it in e-sports, have actually got very similar traits. They are learning the hard way to take hits to take knocks. They practice a lot and they are also applying analysis on strategy and often have coaches to get them to play at top levels.

A few years ago I spoke at South by Southwest in Texas together with two of my fellow gamification ladies. I went to a seminar on e-sports, and about the team and how team managements are structured, how the progression is, I found it fascinating. So at age 12 that’s when you enter professional e-sports or e-sports that are going places. By Age 14 to 16 you’re at your peak. By age 18 to 21 you’re actually losing the flexibility in your muscle responses. Your responses become slower and that’s when these kids become coaches.

Now a pro-team that’s at the top of their game in e-sports, plays probably eight hours a day. The rest of the day they do exercise, very specific exercise to keep the body going but also exercise that helps them to enhance their reflexes in a game. They also have to look after nutrition, sleep, etc. So it’s not just a very one track sport. It has to be seen as the global person.

They know from research unless you are physically fit and switched on that you wouldn’t necessarily make the top level in e-sports. Which I found fascinating as well, because a lot of the thinking about parents who have this fat kid sitting up in the dark room playing video games until the night is over basically, a lot of parents have this really negative image of what gaming is and what gaming can be. And actually I think there is a lot of very good things happening as well.

Yesterday on the news they showed the first female gamer with disabilities doing well. The fact that she can play in a level playing field because of an adapted system I think is amazing. She doesn’t play in a different league. She plays in a regular league against the boys, just purely because her disability didn’t matter anymore. Her console is adapted to her playing to the best of her abilities. And she’s rocking it. And I thought, “You know what? Kudos to the gaming industry because that is also something that it provides. That is something that us in the workplace have not cracked yet.”

So I think there is a definite case for inclusion and a definite case for showing up as who you choose to be and being the best you can be in that role, that’s coming through kids in gaming. I guess I’m slightly passionate. I’m also slightly biased and you could say that.

But I suppose the things to watch out for when is it an addiction? When is it not an addiction? Well, it’s an addiction if a kid doesn’t play with their own friends anymore. It’s an addiction when actually the game becomes more important than everything else in life. Just like comparing it to alcohol or drugs or anything, if the fix becomes bigger than living, than everything else, than people, than looking after yourself, then it’s time to probably look out, “Okay, let’s tone this down. Let’s have a conversation, seek professional help and look into it.”

But the reality is for a lot of kids, the game of the month will be a different game next month or three months from now. For most kids, it’s part of growing up. It’s part of learning. It’s part of just socializing. So if you can afford it, let them engage, let them play. If you can’t afford them, let them go to the friends that have the games and they can play and see what you can do. I think games today are becoming more economically viable for most of us, so it doesn’t need to be exclusive. Even though e-sports may still be for the privileged few, just like elite sports on any level in any game is probably much more for the elite few than for the masses.

But games, they have rules. Kids learn to behave according to rules. Strategy games and multiplayer games encourage them to learn about teams, sometimes even teach them to manage teams. In all games there’s communication. In all games there is learning from losing, learning from winning, thinking of, “Okay, how can I do better next time.” And focused attention for long periods of time is what we say young kids don’t have anymore until they sit down at a computer game. They show that they actually do have it. So pushing them in other areas in work to engage in really good engaged work is also parts of the realms of possibility. A good book can do the same, a good movie can do the same.

Kids haven’t lost that ability. We just have lost the ability to encourage them to do it. And maybe that’s our fault as adults to not engage at the right level with the right bits of feedback. The one thing that games do do is give instant feedback. Learn in the moment. So learning is becoming much more rapid in a game, then for example, three or four months down the line or weeks down the line, you get feedback on the work you did two weeks ago. So there is something to be said for that.

Being a manager myself, it’s not always easy when you’re juggling many tasks on your to-do list, but also many tasks for your team and many priorities for your business, for your work, etc. And as a parent that’s no difference. So where can you use games and gamification to make their lives better is what I would say. But then I have a vested interest in that.

What can your children learn from games a lot? So let them play. Play with them, because for some kids that’s the only interaction they have with you. If you’re attached to your smart device, attach to their smart device. Learn their game, or at least engage in a game that you have in common, because they may not appreciate if you’re totally bad at Fortnite, don’t go playing Fortnite with them because they’ll only laugh at you and consider you a nuisance. But there may be other games.

We always had board games in our family and we still do. There’s nothing wrong with that. I used to always be delighted if we could play a little game and weren’t told to go play by ourselves. So engage, engage at their level and find the common game that’s yours and that makes it family time so that you can engage.

So yeah, will people learn? Yes, absolutely. Do Kids today need games? Totally. Just like we did. We’re no different in the end of the day. Motivations have actually not drastically changed over time. We all still want to be loved, respected, and appreciated for the talents that we bring, and encouraged when those talents don’t reach far enough or we got it wrong. We need second chances.

Either way I would say don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. What did you learn when you were young? What did you play with when you were young? And yeah, if the symptoms are not drastic and not in any way negative than just let them play. Let them learn. Ask them on a regular basis, what are they learning? Who are they playing with? What are they playing? What’s the best game on the market today? And look it up. There’s always kids doing live streams of the games they play. So that you understand what they’re dealing with. So that you understand how the game works and what potentially they could learn from this game. I would say, yeah, let it be, let them play and play with them. Join them. If you can’t win, join them.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s question of gamification, and I hope to have you back on the podcast very soon and talk to you in a couple of days. I love it if you would give us some positive feedback. So if you like our podcast, absolutely give us a good rating. If you don’t like it, let me know. I’d prefer if you let me know personally as opposed to publicly. And also if you have a question that you would like us to answer, by all means send it my way. Thank you for listening.


The post Podcast 21: What are kids learning from games? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. On this question, I get asked a lot by parents, “What are my kids learning on video games, on computer games, on mobile games?” “Should I limit their time on it,” is typically the second question. “I am... Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. On this question, I get asked a lot by parents, “What are my kids learning on video games, on computer games, on mobile games?” “Should I limit their time on it,” is typically the second question. “I am... Gamification Nation 18:16
Podcast 20: Should gamification be part of a larger strategy? Tue, 30 Jul 2019 08:15:30 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. I’m An Coppens, I’m your show host, and I’m also the CEO or Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. This week’s question is asked to us from a variety of clients, and it typically goes something like this,...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 20: Should gamification be part of a larger strategy?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. I’m An Coppens, I’m your show host, and I’m also the CEO or Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. This week’s question is asked to us from a variety of clients, and it typically goes something like this, is gamification or should gamification be part of a larger strategy?

When we get asked that question, it’s typically because people have heard that gamification is a thing. They like the concept, they like the fact that we can bring some of the game and play-like feeling into an organisation. But often it also means that they haven’t thought through why they want to implement gamification in the first place.

Start with why

I would say or answer that question with, yes, gamification should always be part of a larger strategy. In fact, I would even say strategy comes first, as opposed to gamification comes first. Now, gamification can be the strategy. I mean, that’s also possible. But in the end of the day, you need to have a reason why you are engaging in gamification, why you are even going there. You need to understand if it fits for your culture, if it fits for the type of problem you’re trying to solve.

Although I feel that gamification has a lot of power and a lot of benefits. It doesn’t fix every single problem that you may encounter in an organisation. Sometimes it’s simply a case of revising benefits, revising employee rules, or even very simple things as changing things around in an environment. It could be interpersonal related. The one thing you can’t gamify is your boss, typically speaking. At best, you can gamify the process, but gamifying people is another story altogether, and gamification in the best form should always be voluntary.

Make it voluntary

If it’s imposed, then as soon as that becomes known, it also causes a backlash of why people don’t want to engage or they rebel against it, or they game the system, etc. When you’re looking at gamification as a part of your employee facing strategy, I would definitely say it needs to be part of a well thought out strategy, whether that’s employee engagement, whether that is a very specific onboarding call, an onboarding strategy, whether that is showcasing how your organisation is a leader in the field. There’s a variety of reasons and a variety of things you may want to do as part of a strategy, and gamification could be one.

What we see gamification do and where it plays in and ties into strategy, is that it enforces or reinforces the message of your strategy.

Gamified on-boarding strategy example

Let’s give an example. Usually examples work better than me talking about the conceptual side of things. Imagine you have an organisation where people thrive when they’re self-sufficient, when they’re self searching for answers. Now, when people join the organisation, they didn’t always know that. Gamification was introduced to help them through and teach them from day one, “Actually, in this organisation, it’s up to you to make your career what you want it to be.”

What did the organisation do? Actually, they looked at staff turnover and they saw the ones that thrived were the ones that had adopted and became self-sufficient. The ones that left, and left quite miserable in some way, felt that they were left to their own devices and didn’t know what to do. They were never taught that, actually, self-management and self-sufficiency is the way to success. That was the strategic input then, that basically made the company decide, “Okay, we want to apply a gamification strategy to solve this.”

Now, they did test out other strategies as well. What they came up with was, from day one, and I think it even started before, the person joined the company, they were sent access to an app. In the app you received instructions, a little bit like a treasure hunt: “On day one, please find X place in X building, and meet person Y.” When they met person Y, person Y scanned their app, and basically they were given the next clue, the next instruction.

That way, they figured out that actually in order to succeed and in a very subtle way, they were being trained to say, “Actually, to get places in this company, this is what you have to do. You have to find your way. You have to find where things are, who the people are I need to speak to,” and sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it was a little bit harder, sort of hidden encryptic clues and all of that.

From a design perspective, that’s an ideal scenario to design with, because we have a very clear strategic objective, we can measure the before and the after, and you can set very clear indicators. Having people go through the onboarding adventure or quest or whatever you call it, gives you an idea of whether they’re able to make it to the very end because some of them may struggle. The ones that struggle are the ones you can immediately flag, “Okay, we need to mind them a little bit more than maybe the perfectly self-sufficient ones.

The perfectly self-sufficient ones probably got there anyway, and would have made it regardless, but they also give you a good indication that they might be that high potential person that’s going to thrive in this environment, because we know from previous analysis, that that was the kind of person that would. In some sense, making gamification the tactical approach to the strategic objective, I think is where it works best.

Gamification in learning should have choices and consequences

As a trainer and coach, I often used games and gamification as a tactic to bring more difficult concepts home, and to make people realize actually how you behave in a certain situation will have an impact on how you’re perceived later on. Strategy games, role playing games, so many on the market, will guide you through a whole number of dilemmas choices, and in the game they always have consequences. I see the same happen in a work environment. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have consequences in a workplace-based gamification for onboarding, for promotions, for learning, you name it.

There should be choices in it, some that are more ideal, some that are less ideal, and some that are outright not desirable. Those chosen ones, if choices are made, there should definitely, by all means, be a consequence. Whether that’s a loss of a life in the game, or what it does, actually, deduction of some points or privileges, those things should be there. I think in today’s society, a lot of young people get nicknamed with old, under-privileged, et cetera, but think about it the other way.

Most of the kids that are entering the workforce today have played games at some point in life. Whether they’re actively playing online games, computer games, mobile games, or they’re engaged in sports, in my view, they all qualify. In each of those scenarios, they have learned to deal with failure, they have learned to deal with consequences.

Yes, they may have come through a softer part that they got to, where they needed to go with less struggle than maybe their previous generation or back in the good old days or whatever you call it, the war story that’s being bandied around, but they also have learned through the play that, in some cases, bad decisions have bad consequences.

Don’t, I suppose, put them in cotton wool, don’t hold back. If there are desirable behaviors and undesirable behaviors, let them know which is which. Because in the end of the day, we’ll only ever learn if we fail, and maybe that’s too harsh a statement. Some people learn from others very well, and learning from their role models, but a lot of the firsthand experience has given us insight because of the things we did wrong. Usually, it’s not because of the things we did right, because there, we don’t know for sure if we actually did it right or we were just lucky. Consequences feedback should be part and parcel of it.

Is gamification part of a strategy?

To answer the original question: is gamification part of a strategy? Yes, it should always be, and where possible measure it. Any good strategy usually comes with some element of resource management, some element of choices, that you’re weighing up. Then, if you weigh up, that gamification may be a good strategy to follow or a good tactic to follow, then it should have been made because the culture was right, people are open to play. The thing in the work environment, gamification will very often just look like nudges or an app that encourages you. It may not look like a Full On World of Warcraft or Monopoly or whatever other game you can think of.

It’s always way more subtle than that. It’s often just a simple guidepost through a process that gets you places. When you think of play in the workplace, I would say, don’t drive it too crazy. I saw one thought leader recently mention on LinkedIn, “Nobody comes to work looking to play.” Well, maybe. I would say, most of us come to work to do a good day’s work. If that can be done in a fun and an exciting way, that’s so much more appealing than if it has to be done in a really boring and non-exciting, non-motivational way.

Where I see gamification fit into that equation, is that it can actually make a process more interesting and encourage behaviors that you see as useful for the organisation. I mean, yes, we borrow concepts from play, does that mean it’s a Full On game? No, it doesn’t have to be. It can be, but absolutely, it doesn’t have to be. It has to be fitting with whatever culture you have going, has to be fitting with the people that you have, and it can be collaborative, it can be competitive, it can be any which way.

Those are the strategic choices you should be making when you’re deciding that gamification is part of a strategic mix, and when it’s part of the strategic mix, which of the things are you enhancing, which of the things would you like to put lesser focus on, how are you going to roll it out? There’s a whole strategic set of questions that comes with implementing gamification. It’s part of a strategy, usually an overarching strategy, that’s bigger than gamification itself.

Then you need strategic decisions at gamification level also, which are more choices around, “Okay, do we go collaborative? Do we go competitive? Do we go inclusive? Do we go specific groups? There’s a lot, a lot of choices that need to be made when looking at a gamified process delivery and gamification in the workplace.

I hope that answered the question, and I look forward to our next question. If you have one as burning and that you haven’t really dared to ask, by all means, send it our way, and I will do my best to answer. If you like our podcast, by all means, give us a great rating on whatever system you listen to us. Thank you for listening to the Question of Gamification.

The post Podcast 20: Should gamification be part of a larger strategy? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. I’m An Coppens, I’m your show host, and I’m also the CEO or Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. This week’s question is asked to us from a variety of clients, Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. I’m An Coppens, I’m your show host, and I’m also the CEO or Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. This week’s question is asked to us from a variety of clients, and it typically goes something like this,... Gamification Nation 12:18
Podcast 19: How to use our Gamification Card Deck? Fri, 19 Jul 2019 13:40:59 +0000 0 <p>Rough and ready transcript of the podcast to date, just to get it out. We will improve it in the coming days with a bit of human touch. Welcome to this week’s a Question of Gamification. And this week’s question is a question from Remco...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 19: How to use our Gamification Card Deck?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Rough and ready transcript of the podcast to date, just to get it out. We will improve it in the coming days with a bit of human touch.

Welcome to this week’s a Question of Gamification. And this week’s question is a question from Remco one of our clients who bought a gamification card deck. It’s our physical card deck that we designed a while ago, to help us to explain what game design is all about. For those people that don’t like games don’t play games don’t understand the beginning or the end have anything to do with game design. And also for an awful lot of people who just basically want to level up their skills and practice their game design. So both audiences buy our gamification decks, actually, to be perfectly honest.

For us, it was very much a solution to a need, because a lot of the time when I did HR workshops, and learning and development workshops, I had people in the room that actually admittedly said, I don’t like games. And I’ve never played games, or only when I had to when I was younger, did I ever play games.

In order to address that, and still bring them along on a journey, where they could actually end up doing a gamification design for their company, I needed a tool. So that’s why the gamification design card deck was born. And the first thing I always say is to find out what it is or aim your design at someone.

Now for the purpose of workshops, the other challenge was that typically, many people came with such a diverse set of audiences, that it was really hard to design something together. So I needed the card set that would address that.

So the first card sets that I would focus on is either it’s aimed at learners, in which case you have learner types. And it’s either aimed at employees, in which case you choose employee types, or the gamification is aimed at customers and then you aim it at customer types.

So let’s imagine we are working on something for our employees, which means we have the green cards in front of us. And we just decide, okay, which of these are most likely to be the employees that work for me in the company or work with me in the company. So let’s say we have the corporate career makers that work in the company. So I’ve chosen one card.

Now, typically, I say, you can choose however many that apply to your audience, and apply to the people that you have working for you. Now, so because we’re dealing across customers, learners and employees, one is ideal to start with. You can choose more than one, if you’re already a bit confident. Once you have three different types all playing together, what I would say is consider having specific experiences to suit each and every one of those audiences, because what you need for each of them for them to make sense and for it to be good and useful, maybe quite different.

So for the purpose of today, we have a corporate career climbers, so that’s our target audience, then every game needs to fit in a category. So that’s where the type of game cards come in. Now, I’ve listed 13 different kinds of games. But there are more and you know, mashups can work. So what I would suggest here is that you can pick up to maximum two of the type of game types.

If you’re an absolute beginner, you can pick only one, reason for that is you want to keep it simple when you start out, because the game mechanics once you start mashing them up makes the game more complex, makes it harder to create, makes it harder to do many things. So imagine that for this purpose. For our career makers, we have a resource management game.

Now, a resource management game is a game where you have to collect items, nurture items, and you have to make sure that you have enough resources to do everything that you need to do. So things like Sim City, things like Farmville are the types of kind of resource management games that we’re talking about here.

Now, for a corporate career maker, what could be the types of things that they would love to collect? Maybe it could be experiences, as in, you know, experience to do different types of things within the organization’s, level steps up on the ladder, because if they want to go from A to the top dog over the top position, you basically need to help them get there. And by giving them things to collect along the way, you may actually provide them that path to get you there. So once you have the game type, you know who you’re aiming it out, the next thing you need to choose is the win conditions.

So effectively, every good way game has win conditions. Now you don’t have to stick to the ones that are completely fitting to your game, you can be creative with that. And that’s why there’s a whole lot more than 13 of win conditions.

Let’s say I’ve picked winning streaks as one of my win conditions. And the second win condition is control. So I’ve chosen control. So again, up to two or three win conditions are manageable. Anything way beyond that becomes hard. Effectively, you only need one target audience, one type of game and one win condition. And you you have the bare bones of a game. So effectively, you could stop here. And you could say, well, actually, I have resource management with winning streaks and control as the leverage points and that’s enough. So in this case, what we would have is a game where if they have enough winning streaks and winning streaks are things that you get through regularity through consistency. So for example, showing up on time, every every day for six months, practicing a bit of learning every day for an expected an amount of time for an employee could be delivering all your projects in on time, on budget, etc.

So whatever the case may be that’s relevant to your end user. So always pick tied back to your end user. So our corporate career climbers will want to know what are they measured in terms of the winning streaks so that they can climb the ladder so they want transparent, so we need to be able to show, okay, if I do that I get done. So that’s something they definitely want. Now, the other wind condition I chose here was control and control is an interesting one. So it basically tells you the power to control the territory of the game or power over others. And the virtue of leveling up in the corporate career actually would mean that, you know, you gain that element of control. But it could be a lot more trivial. It could be you can deliver karma to other people as in some something good. Or you can take away some things or negative, you know, you can again be playful around that. So they do these are game mechanics that give the feeling of progress that give the feeling of achievement. That’s why they’re called win conditions.

Every simple game from a puzzle to Candy Crush to World of Warcraft, to Fortnite to Minecraft have some elements of win conditions, they may be self imposed, or they may be explicit. So for example, completing a puzzle is effectively the win condition for a puzzle game. Minecraft, it may well be that you have built a fantastic looking item and it’s you that judges and it’s built. And then you have to hope that nobody comes and crushes it. In Fortnite, it’s a lot more finite. So it’s it’s you know, you you get basically ruled out by other players being the last one standing, the one that can do the victory dance is effectively what you will want in a Fortnite situation. So as it stands, we’ve chosen a customer type. So an employee type, customer type or learner type, we’ve chosen a type of game, always chosen to win conditions. So 112 so far.

And then you have these lovely, I think it’s about 60 something game mechanics. Now game mechanics, is what makes the game interesting. It’s what makes you come back, it’s what makes you play more often, it’s what engages you to take that next level step. Typically, what I do in workshops is I say you can pick as many as you like, but imagine that each card and each game mechanic costs you 10,000 of whatever money you’re in. So let’s say we’re in the UK, we have pound, so 10,000 pounds per card. In the EU, it’s 10,000 euros in the US it can be dollars in you know, you take it to the currency and make it a meaningfully high number. So let’s say we can pick five because our budget is 50,000 with a bit of extra for setup, and you know, the other game mechanics that we didn’t count for. So let’s say we have played Joker, bit of a treasure hunt, we have unlocking of new items, a bit of a team quest. And then let’s say we want the boss battle. So that’s my five. That’s my budget spend.

Now, realistically, you can use all as many as you like. And what I would do in a workshop with a client is we look at Okay, what are the game mechanics that are going to attract people in as an invite to come and play your game? Then the second step is what are the game mechanics I get them started. So there may be tutorial game mechanics in is your maybe little things you get them to do to have that initial boost and happiness that comes from hoo I won.

So what is the first first next step? Then there are game mechanics in the deck here, keep people engaged and coming back for more. So you know, you may have a couple of those. And then you need to decide if there is an end game.

So for example, in Minecraft or in Lego, there is no end game unless you choose there is an end. But in games, like Fortnite, there is a winner. So there is definitely a winner or loser. So if you are designing games for work, also look at what’s the part of the loser can they play again? Is it serious? Is it just trivial? Or is it just a game that keeps refreshing every quarter every month every year. So you know, there are more than one consideration to take into account when you’re using this for business. But let’s say we have the player Joker. So in a corporate career, you may have moments where you’re so busy, that you may have to play Joker not to lose your place. And because we had these winning streaks as part of our game, it might be really important to have a joker so you can keep your position in the control sense of things.

So the player Joker is to keep your standing in the ranking as it is, then I also picked unlocking of new items. Now these can be hidden, they can be unlocked through the things you do so imagine and it’s you know, you’ve succeeded at 10 winning streaks in a row or you have achieved 10 consecutive days of achievement. And you know, guess what, that works quite neatly with the control game element that we already had as a win condition because the unlocking of new items can actually give you the control over an area for example. The same with the treasure hunt. So I like treasure hunts, I think they’re they’re kind of cute. You can do them with augmented reality, you can do them in reality with clues, you could do them on email, you can do anything any, you know, completely digital. So they actually suit a lot of good things. So if you have a new communications campaign coming out treasure hunt, could be great fun. But a treasure hunt may also be a way of earning that control in your game. And in resource management. It’s a tool that unlocks may be special effects, special boosters, because effectively you are collecting treasures on some level, because we have a resource management game. And that could be competencies, or could be very job related items that unlock more responsibility, more abilities as such.

Because we’re dealing with corporate career makers, I added in a bit of a competitive element of boss battle, who knows most or who is best. And that’s where you invite maybe a colleague to be in a duel with you. And you decide on, you know, how you battle it out how, who’s the better of the two of you in a chosen area. So it could be about consistency, it could be about control. It could be about knowledge, it could be about projects, you know, you can set it as the game master you you set the controls. But you can also leave an element of freedom to the players where you can say, well look, you know, within reason you can have a boss battle once a quarter on, you know, who knows most and it could be a tournament style.

The one I usually include in game designs for companies is a team quest, where some of the achievements that you earn to win control or to have a winning streak is that you do something for the team. Most organizations I know depend on the team to deliver and to achieve the results. So therefore, team quests work really well. So that’s my five, that’s my budget spend. So now it’s off to design studio to make the game.

That’s how we would use the gamification design card deck. I hope that explains it a little bit, what we’re going to do is we’re going to create a challenge. And once a week, we’ll post three cards or maybe more to have you decide on what kind of game would you create for those cards. That way you’ll get the flex the muscles will take part in this we’ll get my team to take part in it. And what we’ll do is we’re going to get you to post ideas, and worked out game play based on the different cards that we choose.

In this case, we would have chosen the card called the corporate career makers, we would have chosen a resource management. And we would have chosen a win conditions of winning streaks and control. And then the five game mechanics, and one was to play a joker the other was boss battle team quest, treasure hunt, and unlocking of new items.

Based on these cards, what would you make? What kind of game? What’s the gameplay? What’s the narrative? How would you make that out? Where would you use it? Your call. So each week will set a different challenge. And you can join us in our group to give your version of what you would do with those cards with those names. And you never know. There may be prizes. They may not be, you may just enjoy it. Anyway, thanks for tuning in on this week’s Question of Gamification. So thank you for listening. Thank you for tuning in. And I hope that you enjoy taking part in our challenge. And if you enjoy listening to me and to the nuggets I hopefully share with you. Let’s hear your questions. Let’s have a review of the podcast on the system that you are listening to. We’d love to hear from you. And we’d love to answer more of your questions. So if you have a burning question about games vacation, send them my way. Thank you for listening,


Top 5 questions to ask before embarking on a gamification project

The post Podcast 19: How to use our Gamification Card Deck? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Rough and ready transcript of the podcast to date, just to get it out. We will improve it in the coming days with a bit of human touch. Welcome to this week’s a Question of Gamification. And this week’s question is a question from Remco... Rough and ready transcript of the podcast to date, just to get it out. We will improve it in the coming days with a bit of human touch. Welcome to this week’s a Question of Gamification. And this week’s question is a question from Remco... Gamification Nation 17:12
Podcast 18: What makes gamification fail? Tue, 25 Jun 2019 08:12:43 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host of the Question of Gamification podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation or aka chief game changer. Today’s question of gamification is: what makes gamification fail? Now,...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 18: What makes gamification fail?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host of the Question of Gamification podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation or aka chief game changer.

Today’s question of gamification is: what makes gamification fail? Now, first thing, one of my mentors told me at one stage when I was saying, Oh, I don’t want to talk about failure, I think failure is bad. And I do, I do have some hang ups talking about failure. I think they’re private things I do in private. I don’t necessarily want the world to know, he said, “Yeah, but failure is, your first attempt in learning” (First Attempt In Learning =FAIL)

If we look at failure as finding ways of how something doesn’t work. Then we are also accepting that, we are learning. We are not perfect as we come out, day one, which is also a good starting point, because most of us had to learn the hard way on how to do something right and how things have gone wrong. The podcast this week, therefore, focuses on what makes gamification fail.

Unrealistic objectives

First thing, I would say is having unrealistic objectives. We sometimes get asked really unrealistic objectives. We want to have a hundred per cent increase in engagement. Oh, good. Well, and dandy, but what’s your starting point? Do you know what that is? In most cases, companies don’t know the answer to that either. So how can you then know that you are looking for a 100% increase in engagement if you don’t even have a baseline? So be real, get real and start with finding out what your baseline is before you start asking and setting really crazy objectives.

I’m all for stretch goals. I’m all for being ambitious. But I also want to say that in most cases, gamification has had a positive impact. It’s not a regular occurrence that it results in 90, 100 or 200% increase in something. I find those numbers a statistically challenging to accept. If something achieves a 200% improvement then what on earth were you doing before? Or did you exist before? There is a bit of an element of cynicism in that comment for me.

Irrelevant to the end-user

What else makes gamification fail? Well, if it’s not relevant to the end user. Now, that means that you need to get to know your end user. A lot of the time, people who start in gamification, (and we have that sometimes) we are attracted by shiny objects, we could have this and we could have that. And all of a sudden, you end up with a wishlist of ideas.

Definitely, in the early days of our gamification company, we would have been guilty of maybe adding more than we needed. Adding way too many mechanics that made it too complex. And in some of our designs, that still happens and then we take them to user testing. And we find out that they’re not responding quite as enthusiastic as we had hoped, or as we did, and that happens.

Knowing that you are probably going to get excited, you are probably going to add in more than you needed to add in. That is something to be mindful of. And that is something that is also the main reason why you need to have user research and user testing as part of your process. Because that will tell you for real, if you are hitting the mark or not in terms of your designs. So I would say make it relevant. Understand your user. One shortcut to avoid some of these things, is to actually get to know your user better from day one.

We’re currently working on a project where we are not even sure that gamification is the right answer. Because the first survey that came back from the large user base is telling us that really, they are not interested in game mechanics, they’re really not even remotely interested in gaming. They actually want the companies to stick with what it’s great at. So we are questioning whether we should even add gamification at all.

In our user research step two where we do more qualitative research, we’re going to explore these questions a bit deeper. That means having a workshop, asking questions, finding out, okay, what apps do they use? Where are there some that are already gamified? So we know that they are social media users, social media is gamified. We want to know their opinion about those things to see, okay, is there hope or scope for any gamification? And if there is not, I’m not afraid to turn around to the customer and say, Well, look, you know, we advise against it. We advise against adding game elements that may make the experience actually frustrating, because gamification added in the wrong place, for irrelevant reasons, which are not consistent with what users want, or are used to it can add a level of complexity that makes people turn away from your app. That makes people turn away from the actual process.

So consider it carefully. Relevancy is important. Knowing your users is important.

Cater for only one user

Making your gamification design in depth enough, so that it appeals to more than one user type. In all of the companies that we’ve worked with, we have found that typically, there’s more than one type of user in large organisations of up to 30,000 and 40,000 people. You will find that there are maybe two or three very clear profiles that are coming out, personas that you can build for and different things that they respond to and engage towards.

I would say always make sure that your gamification design is not stuck in superficial points and leaderboards. Because they’re is actually much more that you can do. You can do engaging storylines, you can do quite difficult treasure hunts or puzzles. You can add, unlocking of things, finding of things that you need a level of skill to do, to earn starters, as a way of earning something. But earning something that’s hard, meaningful, and that you can be proud of, is much more of a motivator for a lot of people. Instead of throwing badges around as if there was confetti raining out of the skies.

There are lots of ways that your gamification design can be much more engaging and much more interesting. So don’t shy away from doing that. You want there to be an emotional connection.

One of my my heroes in the game design world is Jane McGonigle and she in her books describes how game designers are obsessed with creating emotional experiences. As gamification designers, we should be too! If we translate that into gamification, for a company, for HR, for your employees, for your customers. The question should be how can you draw them into an emotional experience that they won’t forget? That they will find so good that they’ll tell all their friends about. That’s the type of engagement that you want to look for. If you don’t think it’s “Wow” at the end of your design, then keep digging, keep going because then you’ve probably only hit superficial and superficial can make games and gamification fail.

No clear objectives

You also want to connect gamification to objectives. Every organisation has them. You have learning objectives for learning, you have productivity objectives in most workplaces, project objectives for most projects. You have performance measures, KPIs, and many, many more measures of success, which happen time and again, for each and every organisations we’ve ever worked with.

Adding gamification into the mix, can allow people to get to the results quicker. It also encourages certain types of behaviour. And knowing what type of behaviour you want to go away from and towards is important to understand. What drives salespeople to perform is knowing how they can make the most commission in a lot of cases, and how they can be top of the leaderboard, because a lot of salespeople, in our experience have a bit of a competitive streak, especially if they can earn extra, either status, bonus, incentives, you name it, most of them have done things to achieve that. And most of the top performers have here and they’re taken a shortcut to get there.

Your best performers may also be in some cases, your worst examples. As we learned from one client on a sales gamification project, he said, don’t go with my top performers go with my middle of the road guys who deliver in each and every month close to the target. Because they have best practice, whereas my top guys, they know who to ring three minutes before the quarter end, and rack in the numbers.

You want to make sure that there is a connection to objectives, but that the objectives are not so or the gamification is not so transparent, that everyone knows what to do, and only focuses on that one thing. Because people are smart, they will find out what you’re measuring and that’s all they do, all day long, until they get what they need to get. Be aware of that and build in enough complexity, so they can’t figure it out too easily. But by all means, do tie it to specific objectives.

No consequences and no negative feedback

Gamification gives a sense of progression and a sense of feedback. And in some companies, they shy away from giving negative feedback. But sometimes that’s exactly what a person needs to hear or see, for them to actually change their behaviour. Build in consequences that are positive, build in measured consequences that are negative only when they are frequent offenders, or let’s say display unwanted behaviors.

In one situation, we saw gamification for attendance. And instead of giving praise for an unbroken attendance record, we saw people getting praise for arriving on time. So guess what happened? People asked others to log them in. There were queues to get their cards scanned at the door, whereas before you may have entered as a group, now each person was entering individually. You basically moved the problem.

You want to double examine, what is it you’re doing? What is it you want as the outcome? And how will that translate into actual behaviour? I cannot stress enough how important user testing is, because user testing will show up some of those dysfunctional behaviours. If in doubt, start with a small pilot, run it and then see if it can translate to the rest of the organisation. If the pilot is successful, go with it. If not, don’t be afraid to throw it out and start again, or keep tweaking until it does work.

Right first time and one size fits all

“Right first time” and “one size fits all” are two other things that I have seen that make gamification fail. There is, I suppose, an apprehension in business, that if we need to keep changing it, you will never be perfect. But then, if you think about it, business is evolutionary, sales is evolutionary. What sold five years ago may not sell anymore. What worked in internet marketing five years ago doesn’t work anymore. There are things that are changing, and those we should change with. There are things that are constant, such as people feeling respected, people feeling valued people feeling like they matter and that we should acknowledge and design for. And that if you can achieve that, as part of your gamification, you’re on to something.

If you’re not touching any emotion whatsoever, I would safely say you are on a road to forgettable.

It’s some of the things that we would hope to do in our designs, namely that we actually do create a connection that we do create a regular dialogue. That we provide the best possible solution for the companies we work with. Just know that each new trend, each new way of working will take time, and will take maybe more than one try to get it right. As long as you’re up for it that, then you have a chance of making it work.


One more item. One final bonus reason why gamification fails is that it wasn’t designed to be fair. If you only have one audience or one way of measuring success, you want to make sure that it is fair for your audience. Unfairness can come in many ways. In game design, you often have a situation that gives the winner more boosters, but to balance out, you may need to give the slower person easier levels, and easier ways of working.

Keeping that balance is probably the hardest thing to do in most games, but also in gamification design. Is it important for the user? Is it important for you? And is it important for the objectives are some key considerations to always take on board and evaluate because what’s important to you, as the creator or even the manager of a team may not be of value to the end user at all, but you need them to do it.

Sales administration for a salesperson is a necessary evil, but not every salesperson likes doing it. Yet, at the same time, it provides continuity for sales processes, and for sales teams to operate significantly better.

There are sometimes things that you need to balance, rewarding a person for what matters to them, but also for what matters, as part of the progress to give them encouragement can help. Make sure that if you’re rewarding or giving extra toys to those at the top, or those at the bottom, that they are not so big that they would flip the whole result around.

In one situation I saw in an award ceremony, a price flipping from the first place to the second placed person just by one game mechanic. Now that I don’t think is correct, there should have been more complex systems in place when all judges had voted in favour. There was something wrong in the basic design and the basic balancing in that sense.  If they had both played, the winner and second place person would stay the same. But because only one of them used a game mechanic and knew about it, that flipped the equation, and I don’t think then, if people don’t use what they’re given, of course, it’s a choice. But it’s also a question of balance, and a question of fairness. Is it fair and inclusive for all?

Why does gamification fail? Well, there’s a multitude of reasons. What makes it fail is trying to do things quickly, expecting crazy expectations, not linking it to what’s relevant to the user, not linking it to objectives, trying to do too much with too little. And the obvious one is superficial design. If you are superficial, and you don’t engage on an emotional level, then I can tell pretty sure that you may have a very lukewarm effect with gamification.

I hope this answers the question of what makes gamification fail. I look forward to hearing your questions. If you liked our podcast, do give us a rating. And if you have additional questions, do make sure that you send them to us. Thank you for listening,


Podcast 10: How to create engagement in your community with gamification

The post Podcast 18: What makes gamification fail? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host of the Question of Gamification podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation or aka chief game changer. Today’s question of gamification is: what makes ... Welcome to this week’s question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host of the Question of Gamification podcast and the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation or aka chief game changer. Today’s question of gamification is: what makes gamification fail? Now,... Gamification Nation 18:23
Podcast 17: What’s hot in learning? Tue, 11 Jun 2019 08:08:50 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to a question of gamification a podcast where gamification expert and competence answers your questions. Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this show and also the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation. Today’s question...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 17: What’s hot in learning?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to a question of gamification a podcast where gamification expert and competence answers your questions.

Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this show and also the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation.

Today’s question of gamification is, what is hot in learning? And I guess we should also cover what is ‘not’ as a sort of balanced approach to answering questions.

My interest in learning

A lot of our work in gamification covers learning because my background has been in learning and development, instructional design, training. I’ve been an in house trainer and in house, L&D manager. I’ve also been an external provider and external trainer, a workshop host and instructional designer, both inside and outside of companies. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I keep up to date with what’s happening and that a lot of my connections are also in this space. It’s also where we started Gamification Nation was with ultimately learning related gamification projects. It’s also why I have a learning gamification framework, and a book coming out in the space of learning gamification, based on the practical experiences, I’ve faced implementing gamification for learning in organizations large and small.


So back to the question of the week, what is hot in learning? Well, one of the hottest topics is chatbots. We see tutor bots or learner bots popping up a lot more. And some of the large consultancy companies have successfully implemented chatbots that basically find the relevant information for you, based on the questions you asked a bot. Some are machine learning based bots, which will search for information and learn to present the good material, others are just simple bots with connections to the whole database of learning material that a company may have.

Chatbots function very much like your search feature in some sense. They basically act as the Finder of all of these great materials that people may be looking for. Sometimes, these are only set to work on an internal platform, other times, they can also search online like YouTube, TedX, you name it, any learning related resources that they can get their hands on. So that’s one thing. So that’s definitely hot. I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

To make the most out of a chatbot, however, it does need to be relevant and come up with relevant information for your users. If it still doesn’t answer the question the user is trying to answer, it will just be annoying. It may serve as a database or a bank of questions of what people are asking or looking for. That’s one thing. But if it still doesn’t answer those questions, it will soon be seen as another useless tool that L&D has pushed on us and nobody is using. If however, you are a company with a large learning database and you have the trouble of many questions relating to ‘where can I find this’ or ‘I need a course on X and I can’t find that’, that’s when a chatbot can be really helpful.

Currently, in most organisations, chatbots are in written chat format, so they won’t be accessible through voice on most occasions. But for the future, that is where we are headed, where we ask our Alexa or Siri to find those things. And the voice-enabled bot then goes off and looks wherever we wanted it to look. So the tech is there. how good the tech is, is a bit debatable, depending on the company, depending on how you program that to work, it will have more or less good functionality. What I would recommend if you are embarking on a chatbot project is to make sure that it also has a little bit of adaptivity and machine learning attached so that it can find the best and better recommendations for your users.

If you can include user recognition in it, and you can link it to an adaptive platform, you’re on a winner. And that brings me nicely to the next what’s hot in learning.

Adaptive and personalised tech

Well, adaptive technology, it’s still not implemented in the majority of learning tools, which I find fascinating. It’s pretty much been standard in a lot of games, to have a track that gets easier or harder depending on the user’s experience. Coming from the gamification space, looking for adaptive tracks, that suit a learners ability is vital, I think, and personalisation as a close second.

So adaptive and personalisation, I see as the next two hot potatoes in learning. We want our learning our way. Now, that means sometimes that we personalise it based on the levels, personalised based on our preferences. I may like a lot of text, or images, and quick snippets, short snippets of learning, whereas others may want to deep dive, read a book, maybe spend an hour on a webinar, others may prefer the classroom setting. So depending on preferences, learning should still be presented in as many modalities as possible. And don’t miss out on things like audio, like this podcast. I have been blogging for four or five years, actually probably longer than that. And the feedback has always been very positive. But adding the podcasts into it has actually given us a new number of users and a different piece of feedback. The fact that people can listen and read is also been appreciated.


Multimodal is definitely a good way to think about learning for the future. And if you count on devices, like an Alexa, for example, or a Google Assistant, they are able to advise, they’re able to even give you the score, award you badges, unlock more content. Meaning that you can also gamify them. One of my favorite games or skills on Alexa is that we can ask her the question of the day and although it is a randomised question, we also get a score. It’s a family deal, we all try together to answer the question correctly. Sometimes we receive further questions, sometimes we don’t, sometimes we’re just really bad at it.  I like the question of the day concept and I feel you could set that for example leadership with a scenario of the day. You could set the topic to be anything you really wanted it to be.


Next topic on what’s hot in learning is scenarios. Now, scenarios have been around since forever. Scenarios have also been renamed now into making learning experiences. So from start to finish, we want to create an experience that’s compelling, that engages the learner, that effectively gets them going and gets them engrossed.

Now, if you look at games, that’s what they’ve been using and doing for years. To tell a story in the game though, we usually hire a multitude of skilled people. So there could be a storyteller, there would be a game designer, there will be a level designer, there’ll be an asset designer. So there’s a vast number of people that get involved. Today in the learning space, we still only see a small number of people involved in actually designing new learning, and often relying very much on the subject matter experts, or the SME, as it’s called in learning tech jargon. A learning experience has a start and beginning, a middle and an end. The experience usually should follow some kind of story arc in my view. And the story arc can be, let’s say, a hero’s journey, which is probably one of the oldest story arcs on the planet, where the hero comes to realisation that there’s a shortcoming, then he has to overcome obstacles, He learns new things, or finds new advisors along the track, and comes to a decision point, maybe more than once, and then ends up in a scenario where he has to overcome the biggest battle, namely, the battle with him or herself, to overcome that massive obstacle, and transform into a new personality or a new version of self.

So when we’re looking at an experience, you’ll recognise elements of this in it, yes, experiences can be gamified, they can unlock new challenges based on the choices made, they can cause positive consequences, and negative consequences. In the same way, as you do in life, some things help you some things hinder you. And that’s, you know, the nature of a good experience or a good story.

Most Hollywood movies wouldn’t be any fun on this, you are the major crisis at some point, something went wrong, and then you came out the other end changed with new skills, etc. and effectively, if we think about life in general, and how we operated business, we’ve probably learned more from doing things wrong than we’ve done from doing things right. So this is definitely an area I am quite passionate about and I advocated for years and years that we should focus on scenario-based learning, scenario-based development. And also to give people feedback in the moment when they’re doing it right or wrong, because that’s how you learn. That’s how you get better.

Repetition is something that isn’t so popular. Yet, in scenario-based learning, you can dress repetition up in a neat way by presenting similar scenarios and checking in whether somebody has actually changed over time. And for compliance related learning, for example, I find that really useful. You may have given a theory about one example, show it untested in another one. So that people learn that, yes, we have transferable skills here, we need to switch on our mind, our brain to you know, look out the right way of doing something.

So when it comes to learning, I think experiences are definitely here to stay. They’re here for the long run. And looking at games in the adventure, role-playing and multiplayer genre would actually help you make better scenarios. If you haven’t played any yet, my recommendations, are there’s a few, so there is one that’s quite a simple, I suppose interface, and quite simple to follow, it’s 80 Days, made by Inkle studios, which is very much scenario-based game. An adventure game where you go on a journey, 80 days around the world. Sounds familiar, right?

So and you make choices on behalf of your master. You have to resource manage, so you, you still have to arrive intact. And you have to make sure that you take your route that will get you there. And sometimes you crash, sometimes you die, sometimes your partner gets ill, sometimes you get robbed, you know. So there is many, many variations of things that happen to you. So that’s one.

Another great example from a game that I think will help scenario-based learning writers is What Remains of Edith Finch. And this is a very immersive game, where you see things through different perspectives. Sometimes you’re a person, sometimes you’re a cat, sometimes you’re a bird, sometimes you see you change the way you view things, and how you explore in the game. And that makes it interesting because that gives you many perspectives. And also gives you sometimes limitations and what you can do. And sometimes it increases your awareness of your environment, the level at which things are at. But from a storytelling perspective, it’s a really interesting story. And, you know, it really drew me in to just go through it and explore.

So those two I think would be great examples of games I liked and illustrate a scenario base choices, consequences in great detail and what it can bring to learning because they have so many different variations of what can go wrong, what could go right now you can see things that it’s, it’s fascinating. So scenarios are here to stay. I don’t think they’ll go away. They were never the cheapest option to develop or design, they need more time, they need a deeper knowledge of how people handle things. They need emotional responses. They need insights into more complex sides of an equation. So I think that is the real true reason why many companies shy away from this method of learning and favour the lazy approach of rapid altering, where, you know, effectively, we’re not going in depth, but we’re dashing out the knowledge into basically a PowerPoint on steroids, hoping that people will be able to read, grasp and adapt.

Now, if you’re in learning, you know that all the work hasn’t worked for quite some time. And still, it’s still the methods of sharing information for a large advanced group of companies. So I challenge you, step out there. Do it differently.

Mixed reality

Another thing that will help the storytelling in terms of scenario-based learning is a mixed reality. I think augmented reality, reality, virtual reality, all have things that aren’t learning. For example, the regular 2D or old school PowerPoints, or even classrooms cannot add, having an additional dimension from AR and VR, is helpful. experiencing something in a safe environment, like a simulation in a virtual world may give it that safe place without you actually getting hurt. It’s been the method of training for pilots, it’s been a method of training for people that go out on oil rigs, for teams to operate together. So it doesn’t come as a surprise. And it will be a tool that we’ll be using time and again, in a space where AD equipment is super expensive. The chance of lives being endangered, also quite big, it’s still not cost effective. So I still see you very low tech up in the corporate world of actual VR because of the pricing. But more and more tools are available that are coming down in price and making it accessible for a lot of companies.

We are playing around with a new tool called learn bright, which we hope to implement into our learning space. So watch that space basically, is what we’re saying. And it’s a VR ready platform with gamification built in, which is what makes it exciting for us. So we’re looking at playing around with some of the settings there. But augmented reality treasure hunts or mixed reality rather treasure hunts where you have some clues that you give them on paper, some clues that come in the form of an app, some clues are, you know means that they have to uncover something in virtual reality. Mixed reality has a lot of scope, can work for a lot of organisations, and especially for workers that don’t necessarily have 100% computer access all of the time. So I’m thinking of factories. I’m thinking of outdoor workers. I’m thinking people that usually are transitional or on in transit travelling a lot. So there are ways of engaging these guys in learning through mixed reality. And that obviously assumes that there is a mobile component to everything that you do. So mixed reality opens the door.

Retro gaming: board and card games

Now, in terms of gamification, and what’s hot in gamification, I actually believe that retro gaming or board games and card games are making a comeback into the classroom. It’s also very popular with authors who want to add a different dimension to their book. Namely, they have a card game now today, I bought, Dan Ariely’s book, well, actually not the book, the card game of irrational experiences. Now irrational, I think, what’s the title of his book, it’s called Rational Irrationality. And he’s got a few books on that topic. And a) I was fascinated by the books, but b) the actual card game now fascinates me, because he’s challenging us in bite-sized moments. So think about Okay, what is the rational thing you think the answer should be? And then what’s statistically the situation, and to discover it we actually probably act more irrational than rational most of the time, from a statisticians point of view.

So I think board games mean, we’ve successfully worked on a number of board and card games, where effectively we wanted people to learn true actually physically sitting around. And if you think about it, social aspects of learning social learning with a board game is ideally situation for now. A card game you could still play against, you know, yourself or a very small number, whereas a board game assumes at least four or five people around the table, and the impact it can have based on scenarios based on the boundary you have, based on the questions you may have that come up as part of the game, the decisions you have to make as a group can give you very good insight, not only in your team, but also in the types of things that we want to do. So I would say put board games and card games on the agenda if you haven’t already because they are making a comeback. And they are also seen as a less formal way of learning much more social in nature because typically, it’s more than one person and not personally against the machine.

So we’ve worked on a couple and we can see from the results and the number of retention based on the post plays surveys that in some of the cases retention of information goes up 40% higher than after an E-learning course, or even a classroom training. So there is validity in it. There is more and more research coming out to that effect. So I would say, Don’t miss out on the good old pen paper or in gaming term is the equivalent of actual board games, card games, and you know, even outdoor experiences that you do together.

So that’s our roundup of what’s hot in learning. And I hope that answers some of the questions. And as I promised at the beginning, or believe I did, we are setting up a quarterly trends webinar and report to discuss the trends in gamification in learning, in HR, and business applications, and how gamification is creeping probably into most of them as we speak without you noticing much.

So if you’re interested in that, have a look at the show notes and connect with us on our website so that you can sign up and don’t miss out on these special quarterly reports to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest of trends, and what’s hot in the space of gamification learning and HR business applications.

Thank you for listening. If you enjoy our podcast, do give us a good rating and get in touch with your questions. We would be delighted to answer them


The post Podcast 17: What’s hot in learning? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to a question of gamification a podcast where gamification expert and competence answers your questions. Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this show and also the CEO and founder of Gamification ... Welcome to a question of gamification a podcast where gamification expert and competence answers your questions. Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host for this show and also the CEO and founder of Gamification Nation. Today’s question... Gamification Nation 22:59
Podcast 16: Can gamification lead to game addiction? Thu, 30 May 2019 12:24:49 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s episode of A Question of Gamification. And this week’s episode is all about game addiction. In fact, I had a question this week, can gamification lead to game addiction? My name is An Coppens. I am the show host for The...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 16: Can gamification lead to game addiction?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s episode of A Question of Gamification. And this week’s episode is all about game addiction. In fact, I had a question this week, can gamification lead to game addiction?

My name is An Coppens. I am the show host for The Question on Gamification, and also the chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation.

Now, I often receive the question, what about my kids, they are always playing Fortnite or they are always playing X-Game. At the time of Pokemon Go, it was Pokemon Go. Today its Fortnite, tomorrow, it may be a new game. And the thing is, game trends will come and go. The one measurable that you always need to look out for is do your kids do anything else but play video games or computer games or tablet games? If they do, then you’re probably fine.

Can gamification lead to addiction? I guess it could. So the honest answer is that anything where we’re rewarding people and making them feel good, which is releasing positive chemical reactions in both the body and the brain can have the impact of achieving addiction. So I suppose the grassroots ingredients are there.

Now, when we look at gamification, most of the time, we’re speaking about business applications or applications that are not focused purely on entertainment, namely work, fitness, health. Now, I know people who are totally into using their Fitbit, and they would often come out with saying, “Oh, I’m addicted to my Fitbit” and “Oh, I’m addicted to my health statistics, etc.” But not to such an extreme that nothing else matters. And this is where I would draw the line.

The place when something becomes an addiction is when the person has to achieve beyond all else beyond all other reason. The fact that the World Health Organization has recently approved game addiction as a real ailment or real addiction is sort of to make the point that anything in too many doses or too much will be detrimental to someone’s health, be detrimental to someone’s well being, both mentally and physically. And those risks exist.

The risk with gamification is that, yes, you may do something for a certain time, for longer,  more often, you may be more committed. But so far, I have yet to come across a situation where gamification has become an addiction.

Gaming can be an addiction if nothing else exists beyond the game. That means no more social life, no more friends, no more work. In fact, the game always comes first. That’s when it gets to that point where you have to win, and would even go as far as potentially ringing the support line of your favourite game, to say, Hey, I’m about to do serious damage, if I don’t get a life, or I don’t get my points back, etc. That’s when we’re really talking about a serious situation.

In those cases, it’s important to work with the individual to make them aware that something is wrong and to also seek professional help to help them through this. This is not something you should tackle on your own or the individual on their own. Like anything, most of us do things for the greater good for and we design for gamification and for games, we want people to become better. We wanted to have every great and positive intention. We also still want people to have a life outside of what we build. So we don’t want them to play all of the time. We don’t want them to be stuck in a game. And I think if your children go through phases where one game is so all-consuming and all-absorbing if they’re still playing with friends, if they’re still enjoying, play sports if they’re still inviting friends over to come and play the same game, it’s okay.

Now if we look at the benefits of gaming, and that is something I often get asked about by parents is like my kids are always playing, and they’re always looking into this, I want to limit their time. Think about it this way. For a lot of introverted kids, gaming is a way of releasing creativity. In some cases, some of the kids manage teams, manage guilds, run missions, and basically have a whole tribe of people of all ages, from all cultures playing in their game.  I think gaming can be a very uniting factor as well.

If I could tell you, last week, we had our first official team meeting in our little team at Gamification Nation, and what was the most uniting factor was actually gaming. Everyone had a story to do with games that actually united. We have a gentleman working for us, who’s niece lives in a war zone, whose only way of having relief of what’s happening outside her door is by playing games. We have a lady working for us whose son also communicates and does amazing things in a game environment, which, if given a chance in real life, he would shy away from because he’s so introverted. One of our other team members said that, in fact, that was him was so totally him. He felt that the games actually gave him a sense of belonging, a sense of team, a sense of achieving something.

So for all the bad rap that we give games, there’s also much good it can do.

Not all games have killing, shooting with weapons and everything in it. Some are sports based, some in the casual game genre involve crushing candies or throwing pigs. Whatever the case may be, there’s always an age-appropriate game to be found for your child, for your team.

I would say, there’s always something you can still do that is fun, that is engaging, and also enriching.

What are the benefits directly even if you’re thinking of recruiting gamers?

They know about problem solving. Because effectively, games are actively seeking out opportunities to problem solve, whether that’s a puzzle, whether that’s something more complex, whether that’s a team challenge.

Secondly, they are often in team environments, they learn about communication in virtual teams because they’re not all sitting around the table in one room. They work together in a tribe. They learn about team management. They learn about managing resources. A lot of games have limited resources, things you need to nurture in order for them to grow, things for you to collect over time for you to unlock maybe new areas. So there’s a lot of very valuable skills that young people and older people learn through the means of games. In fact, it is one of the most natural things we have as a means of learning.

How do children learn their first skills? Well, actually, it’s through experience, it’s through play. So why deprive them of that, just because you may be at risk of gaming disorder. I would say, create a healthy balance. Show them that there is both life in a game and life outside the game. If they are big time into something, let them. Like all things, these things will pass.

If they’re great at it, and they can make a living out of it. Hey, it’s an option just like lots of young people want to be professional sports people. This day and age eSports is actually a viable career for some kids.  The age of cut off for eSports starts at 12 by the time they are 18 years old they are a veteran by age 21 you’re coaching, all because your dexterity your physical responses begin to slow down over time.

So think twice when you’re stopping your children from playing. Look at it from the other side and say, what are they learning? How are they playing? And what is potentially great for them in this space, because there are lots of hidden good things that also come out of gameplay.

The moment when you start to worry when it is taking over all of their life. That’s when it’s time to maybe call in some professional help to see, can you gently get them out of the habits and set them on to a new path?

So a bit of a deep question and a relatively short answer as well. But at the same time, I wanted to give you both sides of the coin, both the good and the bad. Because, like with every good thing, there’s also a flip side.

So thank you for asking your questions, keep them coming. If you like our show, do give us a positive rating. And I look forward to talking to you next week.

The post Podcast 16: Can gamification lead to game addiction? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s episode of A Question of Gamification. And this week’s episode is all about game addiction. In fact, I had a question this week, can gamification lead to game addiction? My name is An Coppens. I am the show host for The... Welcome to this week’s episode of A Question of Gamification. And this week’s episode is all about game addiction. In fact, I had a question this week, can gamification lead to game addiction? My name is An Coppens. I am the show host for The... Gamification Nation 10:35
Podcast 15: Reality in Gamification Project Tue, 21 May 2019 08:00:02 +0000 2 <p>Welcome to A Question of Gamification, a podcast where gamification expert An Coppens answers your questions. Welcome to a question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host and chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. And this week’s question is a build...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 15: Reality in Gamification Project</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to A Question of Gamification, a podcast where gamification expert An Coppens answers your questions.

Welcome to a question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host and chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. And this week’s question is a build on last week’s question of what are the processes that we use? What are the deliverables that we have? And this week is what is the reality of a gamification project? Because last week, we went through the five steps in our process phases: business specifics, user research, gamification design, development and support. And this week, I want to delve deeper into what is the reality like in a gamification project.

We just finished a major project which took us nine months to get to where we are today.  I’d love to say it was a smooth and easy process and everything worked according to plan. But hey, that’s not reality! In fact, we had from day one, a delay of a number of months, thanks to lengthy terms and contract negotiations and setup negotiations. That’s something which in a lot of cases, and a lot of projects is forgotten about. Procurement typically has a say about everything. Commercial terms, we may have a say about too. In gamification and game design, what we aim to do and how we work is that we aim to retain the IP which is what makes it a win/win for everyone. That way we’re not limited because of one game design that we used for one client, which would tie us down to never ever be able to use that again. It would be crazy for us to sign away. Let’s say the intellectual property for a crossword or an unlocking of content game mechanic, and then to never be able to use that again with future clients.

When we are looking at game design and intellectual property, obviously, anything like branding, graphics narrative that we take from the client or that the client already has, even content that the client already has,  that is retained by the client. We just put that into different shapes and formats.

Always expect to have negotiations in terms. That is one thing. The reality of a project may mean that you spend a lot longer in the procurement and negotiation of the terms phase.

Originally, we had nine months, and then that got shorted down to five months thanks to the lengthy procurement process. That meant some of our design processes had to really work concurrently and in very rapid succession.

I remember doing the business scoping phase in two weeks, at the same time, we launched the user research phase, which had already been started, but because nothing had been signed off, we didn’t have access to the client’s people. So yeah, there is a lot of factors in there.

Did it compromise the level and depth of research? Absolutely. And, you know, that’s the reality. You know, I’d love to say for every project, we do user research with 10% of the target audience, or idealistically, that’s fantastic. In reality, we may only get a fraction of that because of time, because of the budget, because of the due date.

I come from the broadcast sector and in the broadcast sector, you often have a go-live date where the promotion has already started for a program or a movie or a production to go-live on a certain date, even a channel at times. Everything else has to backwards fit into the timeline. Sometimes that’s not too dissimilar to a lot of our game design processes and project. Often the client has a very definite time.

I recall one of the board games we designed, there was a definite conference date. So we had to work backwards from there and say, okay, which printer can still deliver in what time frame? How far can we push the deadline before it has to go to print? And how quick can we work then to make sure that we deliver, so it’s fine. And it’s a great achievement when we do deliver in those very sharp deadline situations, but sustainably over the long run, we can’t do that for every single project. Plus we’d burnout our people, the client may be compromised in quality as well.

For example for the board game, although it won us awards, the first version of the game still needed to be tweaked. And I think we had, if I recall correctly, we had two more or three more iterations before the the final box that the client is now happy with. And they are still building extensions to the existing pack, which is not unusual for board games, for example. And the same with most of our designs, they go live and then new snags are spotted or new feedback comes back and we may iterate we may add on or we may take away parts. So the reality of all our five processes running smoothly and consecutively… Reality is different.

The other side of reality is that certain things come up.

I’ve had in the middle of user research the survey server go down. I’ve had, in the middle of our graphics experience the graphic designer going missing in action. I have to say, we have the graphics covered with in-house graphics now. So unless something seriously happens to our guys, at least we have coverage there. But it doesn’t always be the case. With developers, we have had developers saying they can do stuff and then finding out that they can’t. The same with platforms. We’ve worked with platforms who sold us “Oh Yeah, we have all these bells and whistles. And then when we wanted to use the bells and whistles. They weren’t actually ready yet, or they weren’t actually there at all. They were just oh no, no, it doesn’t work like that it should work like this, where we had to adapt our designs.

In any given realistic project and in any given real experience, there will be things that don’t run so smoothly. The process whilst we still actually stick to the five key headlines of business specifics, user research, gamification design, development and support, they still happen and the deliverables attached to them typically still happen.

Timeframes could vary. The level of access we get to do user research may vary. The level of time we have available to actually do the whole thing may drive, how quick things are done, and how low our good enough bar has to be set.

I’m a slight perfectionist, and people that work with me will know that, ask anybody on the team. You know, there are certain points that I’m not willing to compromise on. There are others that I would say, yeah, this is good enough, it has to be like this to be accepted. And good enough is a variation of “Will it be accepted by the client? Is it playable? Is it delivering on what we set out to deliver in the business objectives?” And then the iterations would come from, “How can we make it from good enough to better ?” And budget will decide some of that. Tools will decide some of that.

The availability of the client is another component where reality may throw a spanner in the works. One of our corporate clients asked me at one point during the proposal phase, they said, “Okay, so how long will this process take?” And I said, “Well, we can get everything you want to get them done in the space of six months. But that means you need to be ready to make decisions when we present you with the documentation or shortly after. She looked at me, and she said, “add three months.”So realistically, the decision making cycles also play a part.

For the nine month project that ended up being a five month reality, we had to fast track some of the items and also go back to the client and say, Well, sorry, we cannot accept any further input for now, because we have to move forward. We had to set deadlines like if there’s no feedback in that, we move forward with what we’ve got. Because some of the time, the feedback loop between client and design and development is also where a lot of time is lost.

One thing I’m always recommending against is designed by committee or development by committee, because the more people that have to look into something, the more I suppose, variety of inputs you have. What I do recommend in most projects, is to have a core project team that has access to the decision makers who can then decide “Yes, we could work with this or no there, there is a bit more to do”. “Or this is not acceptable based on our influencers or decision makers.”

If you have a decision maker, one of them on the team that can group all the other decision makers ideas together, that’s an ideal situation.

Some of the time what we know is that decision makers don’t want to be part of the project team. In those situations, the person and the people on the team need to have access to them in order to confirm, validate, and make sure that you get decisions out of them. Slippage is something to be mindful of.

From day one, keep an eye out for slippage with that I mean time slippage, but also budget slippage, and scope creep.

Usually when people start to see high level concepts and storyboards, then people get excited. “Oh, could it also do this? or Ah, yeah, maybe we can use it for that too. But then it would need a little.” And that’s where our Moscow scenario comes in: it must have this, it should have that, it could have that, but it won’t have such. Those things are important before you even touch the vision and the storyboard because yes, everything’s possible. But typically, the everything’s possible happens with more budget, more people, more time. And in any given project, delivering on time, on budget and for the project to do what it’s set out to do is more critical than to have a scope that is so vast that you have no idea where it might end up.

From my perspective, I always think about project reality. In the recent project, we had a demonstration in front of the client for it one day.  The night before one of the guys pulled an all nighter, the guys in development, pulled several working weekends, bank holidays were forgotten about. I was testing. I had my family testing. You know, my partner is his core to most of our projects, bless him is he’s fantastic. He does love games, thankfully. And he’s also a very patient man.

The reality of a project, how I best best describe it, it’s like you see the duck gliding over to water and below it, there is a whole bunch of people treading water like crazy to stay afloat. Because that is often reality.

In every given project, there’s always a snag, there is always something that pops up that you said how that could have been better, or this should have been like this. But when you look back over a project, when you look back at it, and you’re satisfied to say, Wow, we pulled it off!

This recent demonstration was one, where we had 10 games in a quest for recruitment to showcase employer branding, recruitment and an experience of what a real role would look like for an organisation. When I look back and see where we started nine months ago, and where we got to, I’m actually mega proud that we got that far. And that it looked that good, given all of the constraints that we were dealing with, under the budget that we were given, because we were still working on a very tight budget to deliver the level of delivery that we made.

From one perspective, that is something to always consider.

When you’re a client, looking at the reality of the project, what you see in the proposal, yes, it is, what the phases are like and what we strive towards. Know your budget may have limitations, if you can find more, you can get more done. If you have time to start as early as frickin well possible and in the corporate world that always easy to say. But give feasible deadlines, three months from start to finish can be done. But it’s tight. Nine months for a big employer branding, recruitment exercise is doable, but take it down to five and it becomes a stretch.

Be realistic in the possibilities. And the keep on dreaming up projects and looking for budgets, we’d love to help you achieve those visions.

I hope this gives you an insight into what reality on a gamified project is like.

I love to talk to you more about our experiences. I hope you’re enjoying the show, if you do do give us a good rating and share it forward with friends and people who you think may benefit from hearing this. I love speaking to you and I hope to meet you soon in either real life or on social media. Thank you for listening!

The post Podcast 15: Reality in Gamification Project appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to A Question of Gamification, a podcast where gamification expert An Coppens answers your questions. Welcome to a question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host and chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. Welcome to A Question of Gamification, a podcast where gamification expert An Coppens answers your questions. Welcome to a question of gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host and chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. And this week’s question is a build... Gamification Nation 14:47
Podcast 14: What is involved in the gamification design process? Thu, 16 May 2019 19:00:24 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens and I’m the show host for a Question of Gamification. And this week’s question is one that on occasion crops up more from our competitors if nothing else. Occasionally, also from clients, but...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 14: What is involved in the gamification design process?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens and I’m the show host for a Question of Gamification.

And this week’s question is one that on occasion crops up more from our competitors if nothing else. Occasionally, also from clients, but it’s something we do always answer for clients in proposals. And that is: what is involved in our gamification design process? How does it work? What are the components? What are the deliverables? It may be one question split into a few elements. And I want to tackle that from the ideal project perspective in an ideal world where everything runs smoothly, where you have unlimited resources and unlimited timeframes, etc.

Because the reality of any given project may be different. And I’ll come back to that next week. The official steps in our process are understanding the business specifics. Now in this business specifics phase, we want to know, why do you want to gamify this project or this process? Why do you want to do this now? What else have you tried? We want to understand the reason behind it.  Then we also want to understand the success measures. How will you know that the project achieves what you wanted to do? How will you know that the project has been considered successful? Does that mean higher numbers recruited? Does that mean
higher numbers in sales? What is it that you want out of it? Are there soft measures? Is that increasing confidence, increasing retention of knowledge, deployment in reality? Whatever the success measures are, we want to unlock those in our business specific phase.

The other exercise we occasionally do, maybe not all of the time is the Moscow exercise and Moscow. It’s a city, but it’s also an acronym. And the M stands for: what must be included in the gamified process? What should the gamify process include? What could it include? And what Won’t it include? So MSCW and the o’s are the bits in between that make it Moscow: what must it have? What should it have? What could it have? And what won’t it have?

That sort of outlines the scope of a project, because not every project will need everything. Sometimes we also need as a measure of how we can get to good enough? How can we get to a project that will deliver but maybe not, you know, a project that has everything, all bells and whistles on it?  Often budget may drive this but also constraints of software that we have to work together with. That’s sometimes gamification tools, sometimes it’s actually existing software already in place. It could be existing constraints within a business.

We recently quoted for something where people were hired and needed to be on-boarded very quickly into service and it needed to be done remotely. People had no access to the internet, but they did have access to some standalone computers, and it could be envisaged to have maybe some tablets without Wi Fi access, with the games uploaded on it, so that they could still onboard and learn the processes. There is an example with a lot of constraints to it. So in those cases, the must have, the should have, could have and won’t have is absolutely essential.

The other measures in the business specifics are key performance indicators, the current processes and the current experiences people have, then the as-is process and the to-experience. Because if you want it to be vastly different, we want to map that out. It comes from good process mapping and process analysis.

Knowledge, I learned in my consulting days, are sort of to blame for this type of work. But we do want to understand, how does it currently work? Because if we’re going to make changes, are we making changes that are so far removed up, we are potentially hitting rejection, or are there maybe processes that could be improved, and we should just go with the process. And in those cases, we also need to buy-in, of the users engaging with those processes.

Finally, in the business specifics phase, we also want to understand the meaningful touch points. Now we’ll come back to meaningful touch points in the next phase for you in our user research, because what we consider meaningful, like, for example, in the recruitment process, how the invite for an interview sent out is a meaningful touchpoint and can give a potential wow-factor to the candidate where they say that organization really wowed me with how they invited me. They, you know, were super efficient, the whole process was smooth.

This sort of sums up everything that we do on when we’re looking at business specifics. This then translates into a business specifics document and project scoping documents. In terms of deliverables, what the client gets is usually a word based or PowerPoint based description of this is what’s included, that’s what’s excluded. These are the measurements. This is the process as we understand it.

For their review, we might iterate that document once or twice, if we missed out on parts. And then we agree well, that’s the way forward.

So that’s in the ideal process. Often this phase runs concurrently with the next phase, which is user research. So user research is the phase where we delve deeper into the users, like why do they use the process that we’re gamifying? What is it that they use it for? What motivates them? What de-motivates them? We want to have both sides of the motivational coin.

How do they perceive the current process?

What is in it for them? What should be measured according to them?

What do they like? What do they dislike?

And we often at that point, run design thinking workshops with the end users. This allows them to co-create what the new process and a new experience should look like and feel like.

From our perspective, in user research, we come out with a persona or a user profile. And that persona then becomes the basis for what we design and who we design for. And we often at this point, ask, do you want to be involved in a pilot test? Would you be available for prototyping, testing? Quite frankly, once you get people excited about what we’re aiming to do and explain the rationale. It’s rare that you then have people say, you know, what, not for me, just show me the end result. In a lot of cases, people, once they have given a little bit of input, they also have a sense of, I own a piece of this.

So they have a sense of all Yeah, I like it would like to see what this turns into, what this becomes etc. In a funny way, the buy-in process starts as early as this. And for me, that comes from my change management days in large consulting companies, the earlier you can get people involved, the higher the likelihood that they’ll accept the end result. But also that they feel a sense of ownership of the product, the process because they helped to co-create it. So I think in this day, and age, co-creation is big for corporate.

Why not do it for a gamified process, or a game that you want to roll out towards your employees and towards your users. Your customers, your potential customer. Customer focus panels could be very useful for this. The tools, we use are surveys, design thinking workshops, and focus groups. And then the end deliverable, as I said, is typically a persona, a profile, and then an ideal process in the view of the users.

Then, the next phase is our gamification design phase. And that really feeds off the previous two. If anything, the first two are non-negotiable for us, in order to hit the target audience. Because if we’re doing game design blindly, without those previous two phases, then any guarantee of a level of success is a lot harder, guaranteeing the level of engagement and getting it right the first time is also a lot harder. If we have to work blindly, we have done it once or twice, it has been hard. And we’ve had to iterate more at gamification design and production level, which is also a much more costly way of doing it.

Whereas if you do include the previous two phases, it’s actually more cost effective. And it’s actually typically also less iterative, in the sense of the design. So what do we do in the gamification design phase?

We choose the storyline or the theme of the design, whether that’s an in house theme around somebody or a ritual that’s effective in the organization. Or a completely made up one, it can be either. We choose a story arc because we know gamification, and good stories engage more, and people retain more information that way.

Then we map the journey that builds on the map from the first two phases, we add in the win conditions, we add in the game elements. And then we prototype. Our first prototype is always paper based or PowerPoint based in a lot of cases and will become a high-level concept, then a storyboard and the description of the flow.

I suppose, from a deliverable perspective, the three deliverables are a high-level concept, which is the first thing. That’s the first thing that goes to the client that we get feedback on. If we have approval and agreement on that, then we go into storyboard mode, where we go to that next level of granularity and detail.

And then we go into a detailed gamification design document, where we look at, you know, this is what x behavior gets, that’s the reward, they get. That’s the points they get, that’s the outcomes they get, the consequences and the feedback loops that need to be built.

Really, that becomes a very large Excel sheet most of the time, where, the developers can see, right in this piece, I need to make sure we have points for actions, the narrative, that’s the trigger for that’s the message they get on failed and that’s the message again on success,, it really does become a very detailed document.

What’s then also included in the user design, or the gamification design phase is a user test, to make sure that a user can understand it. Because in design, what sometimes happens is that, as a game designer and a team working on the game, you can see quite a mile off, or Yeah, this is how it should work. But you also, in some ways, become blind to the problems that it may cause for the end user. So something that’s obvious to us, because we work on the tools and we work on the game may be baffling to the end user.

You need to observe them looking at the screen as well, I really don’t know what to do here. So there are always some things like once you have a totally fresh pair of eyes looking at it, they say, no, that’s not the way it works. Or they figure out ways of using your tools that you never thought of. also account for that. user testers are absolutely essential to the process. And then we iterate the design until it is a fully working and a good enough version in order to launch.

Yes, you may still be doing tweaks in the background. We typically have issues logs where you basically define things based on high priority because it’s a showstopper, it will affect gameplay and navigation. Then medium level items, they are serious, but not showstoppers, and then the low level items are things that I would see because I know about them. Or let’s say somebody with a trained eye will see. We had one recently on a project where an emblem for an officer was wrong. And whilst that’s not a high priority, it will impact some of the players in the know. We obviously want to change that and get that right.

The development phase we work in sprint’s so that means that we usually breakdown the project in sprint format session. A number of objectives for each sprint, so that the developers are clear. Okay, this is what we need to achieve this week. We review at least once the end of the week.

How far did we come? What worked, what doesn’t work? And you know, this process is repeated. Then we test, we bug fix.

The issues log becomes from small to usually a few hundreds of lines long. And then we keep working towards up until go live, until finished. And yes, it’s iterative in its nature, because it is an agile process.

At the end of the development phase, you want to see a working model coming to life, whether that’s in board game situation, an actual physical board game that you receive, or in digital solution, obviously, the playable version of whatever process that we needed to gamify.

And then we typically have a support phase. Not all gamification agencies would do that. We include support and support means we analyze the behavior of the users, we look for feedback of the users and see if what we designed works?

Are they engaging with it as intended? If not, then what, what should we change?

I always advise the first six weeks, eight weeks don’t change too much, especially not in the first two. First two weeks, you probably get the most complaints and unless they are serious in nature, not it’s actually stopping people from performing the work and completing parts, we would hold off because there isn’t getting used to phase.

Just think of it.

If any of your social media platforms, changes buttons or adds new things, there is a bit of a getting used to involved. So that has to be covered.

People have to get used to it. But if it’s not a getting used to issue, then obviously it’s important to listen, and then look for Okay, is this the way it should be?

When we do analyze behavior and interactions with the actual systems, there is a monthly feedback forum and monthly reports. And then we tweak based on that data or design. If they’re big tweaks they’re are obviously additional costs, if they’re small tweaks, then often that could be just in the support fees.

So those are the five steps in our design process. So first one was business specific. Second one was user research. Third one gamification design. Fourth one, development and fifth one, support.

So I hope that that answers some of the questions, it gives you an insight in how we work, it mentions the deliverables that we’re after. I can’t be more transparent about our processes. And they will always be different for each organization. Because of our bespoke work  we cannot share other people’s deliverables for the very reason that they typically also include very, I suppose secretive information about how they work around there. That’s why there are non disclose clauses in place.

Saying that there are things that we show in our design tool kit course where we work with fictitious little dummy projects. If you’re interested in delving deeper that is something we are working out putting together.

I hope you enjoyed this session of a Question of Gamification, a very theoretical one, and next week, I’ll delve deeper into the realities of a real project. Whilst we have a fantastic process and I think that’s also what wins us awards. In some sense. We also have realities of process, I suppose shortcuts to deal with when it’s a real project.

Thank you for listening. Do give us a good review or a like when you enjoyed the show, and keep your questions coming to us. We love answering them and I hope to hear from you in the next few weeks.

The post Podcast 14: What is involved in the gamification design process? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens and I’m the show host for a Question of Gamification. And this week’s question is one that on occasion crops up more from our competitors if nothing else. Occasionally, Welcome to this week’s Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens and I’m the show host for a Question of Gamification. And this week’s question is one that on occasion crops up more from our competitors if nothing else. Occasionally, also from clients, but... Gamification Nation 17:59
Podcast 13: How does a gamification project compare to a big name game? Fri, 10 May 2019 07:24:10 +0000 0 <p>Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. And today’s question is: how does a gamification or serious game project stand up in cost, benefits and impact in comparison...</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Podcast 13: How does a gamification project compare to a big name game?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Gamification Nation</a>.</p> Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation.

And today’s question is: how does a gamification or serious game project stand up in cost, benefits and impact in comparison to a big name game like a World of Warcraft, FIFA,`Grand Theft Auto, Fortnite, you name it, any popular game that people are playing these days?

The first answer to this question is that it is a question of budget and resources.

Typically, the bigger name games have more budget available than most corporates are willing to pay us for a gamified process or gamification or a serious game, which is the first given. Most budgets in the corporate sector are relatively limited. And the second part is the resources available. So in gamification studios, the majority of us work in quite a lean production team, and we adopt quite a lean methodology to get to the end results. In the larger studios like Blizzard and EA who produced some of the fantastic games that we all love and would love to aspire to create someday. They work with bigger teams. They have many more stages of inputs.

We, for example, have a game designer, a graphic designer and a developer at the core of what we do.  We don’t necessarily have a story writer, a narrative writer, a level designer, several versions of graphical asset designers, several developers and in-house access to a wider skill set. So whilst it is something we’d love to aspire to, realistically, the budgets that we are given to work with don’t allow us to get us there.

Does that mean that the benefits of what we create are compromised? Well, actually, not always.  First of all the bigger studios are creating for fun and for lasting engagement and to commercially making the most out of any given game that they dream up and create. Whereas for us, the measures of success are different. Yes, it should be fun to engage in, if it is a serious game. In gamification, the purpose is always the business objective first. The benefits of a serious game and gamification is typically whether it has hit the objective that it was designed for. And the first objective is usually not, it has to be super fun.

In most cases, well, it has to attract people to join the organisation if it’s for recruitment, it has to improve sales numbers if its sales related, it has to improve skills if it’s training related. So that’s the first thing, so the objective is different. It should still in terms of fun aspects, and levels of wanting to play again be engaging enough. But some games, you will not replay over and over in a gamified setting. For example, if you’re dealing with a game for recruitment, then obviously this is not going to be repeated over and over again by the same person. The intention would be there that the person may play it for a number of times, over a short space of time, even a week, or to gain access to the highest level so that they gained interview or they gain the skills that they need to prove to deliver.

In some sense, the purpose is different. So the reusability for any one player is limited. Can it be reused for many more players? Yes, of course. That’s a given. The other thing, if, for example, and I’m thinking about recruitment games that are built for competency testing, for example, once you have the result, would you go back again, it’s different, it’s a different kind of game than a game of Fortnite, a game of FIFA or where you have levels and other types of things that you may want to create. They actually are so much harder, there’s much more to earn for so many more levels, so many more interactions and the multiplayer experience. For us, it’s back to that question: does this make sense for the purpose that we’re building?

For some learning related experience it may make sense. And that’s where simulators for quite some time have played a big part in training and for pilots, for drivers of specialists equipment, for oil rigs, etc. So in some sectors, it is worthwhile investing in something of high enough quality that can replicate reality. But that also typically means a mega investment.

So for the smaller purposes, like recruitment, like a short term intervention, even a game just to attract people to use your product, you wouldn’t necessarily need to go as far as having seven or eight or 10, or hundreds of levels. You may just be sufficient to actually have one level one simple game, and an outcome at the end of the game. It really depends what you’re after, does it stand up and look and feel as it should?

I mean, just because you’re writing or designing something for business purposes, that doesn’t mean that it should look bad. It doesn’t mean that you should compromise on a quality experience. It doesn’t mean that it should be substandard.

Recently, I was presenting a series of games that we produced for recruitment purposes. And in my view, in comparison to the game that we based the whole idea on, I think we did as good in parts and better in parts and then also worse in parts than that specific game. Pretty much because we had specific things that we wanted to test for. There was problem-solving, there was creative, resourceful thinking, there was showing the reality of life in that particular role. There were a few things that we had to incorporate, which obviously, made it more challenging in some sense to create. But also, some of the reality was grinding, in the sense that there’s repetition. For example, you will have to do maintenance on a regular basis, you will have to face up to the realities of the job, not everything is rosy. That was also something that the client wanted to convey in a game that may come across as a little bit boring.

But at the same time, a lot of games when you have to repeat levels, and especially in the casual game variety, it’s not unusual to have to do repetitive tasks over and over again, in order to reach the end of a level. Does that mean it’s less engaging? Well, we still do it. But we do it for a different purpose. We play those kinds of games for a different purpose than let’s say, a multiplayer online game where you come together at a given time to go to battle, go to war, and, you know, deploy the specific skill that you bring to the party.

In my view, it’s horses for courses, you have to always think about, okay, is this good enough to deliver for the purpose that we have? Yes. Can it be better? In most cases, probably, yes. And if it can be better done, what kind of budget do you require to make it better? Because that is the one thing that I would say most organisations don’t want to face up to. They want to buy a Ferrari on a bicycle budget. And we really do need to be realistic in what is possible? What can we do? I mean, I’m always amazed at what we can produce, even for relatively limited budgets. And, you know, that’s thanks to a great team of fantastic collaborators.

Would I love to produce the next big name game? Yeah, absolutely. I think every game designer would love to do that. Give me a budget, give me resources, give me access to the tools? And, yes, we’ll do our best to deliver.

Does it mean that a serious game or gamification should be less engaging, less fun? No, it never should. Those types of games should still be fun, they should still hit their objective, the challenges is that some of the objectives are not what we consider fun.

So getting a job is that fun? Completing a course, you know, that could be fun, because you want to learn the skill. If you’re driven by learning skills. Getting the job also can be fun if you really wanted to get that job. The hardest thing to describe is how do you describe fun?

Is it like a belly laugh fun, probably not what we will be designing for? But rather you know, a little smile a little, “Hhhmm… that was okay.” I enjoyed that. Those kinds of experiences, yes. That’s what we do design for.

I hope that answers the question, and puts certain factors into perspective, that impact gamification and game design for business reasons. Because we are not in the business of designing the next FIFA or the next World of Warcraft or the next big name game. We are in the business of delivering business results. They go with a variety of fun levels and fun experiences, and perceptions of all the things in between.

I hope that answers the question.

Do give us a rating, a like or ask us further questions. We’d love to answer them. And I hope to hear from you or meet you in real life or on any social media that we connect with. Thank you for the question and for listening or readin.

The post Podcast 13: How does a gamification project compare to a big name game? appeared first on Gamification Nation.

Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. And today’s question is: how does a gamification or serious game project stand up in cost, Welcome to a Question of Gamification. My name is An Coppens. I’m the show host, and also the chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation. And today’s question is: how does a gamification or serious game project stand up in cost, benefits and impact in comparison... Gamification Nation 11:40