On July 4th 2013 I attended a conference on Gamification at Facultat d’Informàtica de Barcelona (FIB). I was really interested in this, I thought to myself “is this just hype?”, “how can it help me?”, “what is the difference between gamification and game storming?”, “how can it help coaches?”. And I must say, I got answer to most of those questions.
The presentation was performed by Oscar García Pañella, an expert in the area. I really enjoyed the conference and it helped me understanding the purpose and the essence of Gamification.
After the conference I really feel this is something worth studying and incorporating into our lives and jobs, something more than just hype.
So, what’s all this about? My definition would be:
Gamification is the art of applying scientific game design principles to solving real world problems.
In other words, Gamification allows you to solve real world problems by moving into the context of “The Magic Circle”, where everything is possible, and work out a creative solution by using both hemispheres of the brain at the same time. Most of the science behind game design is related to human motivation, creativity and fun. Game designers apply solid principles of psychology, neuroscience and other areas to develop awesome products, the same concepts that are also being studied in areas such as modern Human Resources, Management, Agile, Lean, Leadership, Coaching, etc.
What do I mean by real world problems?: product design or ideation, organizational transformation, individual and team coaching, strategy, marketing, etc. For instance, simulating the spoon is an airplane and making that stupid noise with your lips is gamification applied to feeding your children. Thinking about what kind of fun your product generates on users would be another example.
If you analyze great products such as Twitter, Facebook, iPad or Monopoly, you’ll find most of them generate in humans many of the following types of fun identified by Marc LeBlanc: Sensation, Fantasy, Narrative, Challenge, Fellowship, Discovery, Expression and Submission.
There exist also taxonomimes of players, pleasures, other types of fun, extrinsic rewards like trophees and points, intrinsic motivators like mastery, autonomy, relatedness and purpose, story telling and many other concepts applied to game design that can also be applied to areas such as coaching, organizational transformation or marketing.
It is said that gamers demostrate certain behaviours that would be desirable in school, work and life, but they are constrained by social conventions and education. Those behaviours are persistance, risk taking, attention to detail and problem solving.
By applying game design principles to real world situations we can overcome the harm that Taylorist education has caused in our society. It’s another tool that can be used to improve people lifes and jobs.
I don’t know any techniques or how to apply them, all this stuff is new to me, but I have the insight that Gamification is going to be something important the next few years. You just need to have a look at the figures of Gaming Industry as well as understanding the basics of human motivation and fun.
Below you will be able to find a poll and some interesting resources, please take some time to go through them, it’s worth.
Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing.
- Infographics: Gamification of Education and Gaming is Good For You
- Conferences & Congresses: Gamification World Congress (GWC), GameLab BCN, Gamification Summit
- Serious Game Classification – A collaborative classification of serious games
- Math Blaster – Cool Math games for kids
- Jesse Schell, “Art of Game Design” – book from one of the gurus, you can also download some cards …
- Niccole Lazzaro, “The 4 Keys 2 Fun”
- Pamela Kato – Internationally recognized expert on making serious games for health.
- Marc LeBlanc’s “8 kinds of fun”