What has Gamification got to do with Politics?

Gamification – the concept of incorporating game-design elements into distribution channels or activities to drive engagement – has been adopted in recruitment, marketing, learning and development, and even HR practices. Politics is also no stranger to the concept, as gamification has been predominant for driving advocacy and engagement…but let us first begin with the basics.

What are game-design elements again?
gamification-1Trying to top a leaderboard or accumulating sufficient points to redeem a reward? If you identify with either of these symptoms, then you’re already familiar with game-design elements! Achievements, rewards or a sense of belonging and camaraderie are a prevalent aspect in the traditional sense of gaming. Unlocking a new level in Angry Birds, redeeming a shopping voucher or joining a guild in World of Warcraft; participating in activities that offer intrinsic or extrinsic rewards and accomplishments may very well be the reason users stay engaged.

Characteristics of competition, rewards and redemption, or even a sense of belonging can increase engagement of your audience, depending on their motivations. Game-design elements resonate with our fundamental instincts to participate in activities with such characteristics.

Ok, back to the title of this article…
Now that we recognize game-design elements, let us examine it in politics. There is inherent competition in campaigning and rallying. There is belonging in throngs of like-minded supporters. Despite the change in context, the fundamentals remain the same. Politicians compete, they mobilize supporters, and they offer perks ranging from free tortillas to free wristbands.

GOT Parody

Image source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/26/julia-gillard-game-of-thrones

From 2001 to 2012, Joe Simitian’s annual “There Oughta Be a Law” contest engaged citizens by encouraging them to propose new ideas that may be passed into law. Since then, there have been 18 proposed bills that were successfully passed into law. Gamifying the process by introducing the notion of competition into a contest, driving growth and involvement by putting up attractive rewards allowed for this concept to run well past a decade.

Growth of Gamification in Politics and its possibilities
So how has gamification evolved in politics, and how can it continue growing from here? The 2012 presidential elections in the U.S. saw the conventional form of online games: “iCivics” and “Election Special”. According to Hamari et al., 2014 in their research paper: “Does Gamification Work? – A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification”, the effects of gamification are subject to caveats that may impact desired outcomes, but the general observation is that gamification can bring about positive results. Coupled with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to understand what motivates an audience, many processes in politics could be gamified to achieve larger objectives:

  • Awareness and education of political issues: Imagine a repository of resources and information that voters can access to learn about a politician’s proposed policies and understand his vision. Now imagine that vast amount of information being developed into an interactive game in the form of bite-sized quests or trivia. Encouraging well-informed decisions through gamification of information dissemination could possibly become a motivation.
  • Engagement of users and advocacy: For the audience that is motivated by extrinsic incentives, gamification could appear in the form of perks and rewards for completing challenges related to political understanding or support. Alternatively, free snacks at campaigns may quite possibly translate into higher attendances and in turn, better odds in a numbers game.

Perhaps even ideas that are slightly more out there such as looking to recruit and groom your “top players” into potential politicians could be accomplished through gamification. The possibilities are endless and the continued growth of gamification can only bring us more surprises for the future of politics.

We have witnessed a gamut of strategies in the Singapore General Elections (GE) 2015, and we think that gamification could have taken it further. The Gametize team decided to design a quick gamified demo to simulate how politicians can use gamification for their campaigns. Check it out at http://www.gametize.com/game/ge or search for “ge” on the Gametize appOr, you can just see the screenshots below:

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Several challenges available!

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Selfie your support!

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 7.07.33 pm
How about attending a rally?

1.4 Mobile version!

Also, in the name of fun, give our GE2015 Prediction Game a spin! Find it at http://www.gametize.com/game/gepredictions or on the Gametize app by searching “gepredictions”. May the luck be with you!

//Edited by Keith Ng.

This post was contributed by Wena Goh, Project Management @Gametize
Wena Goh has just joined Gametize; she seeks to entertain us with her dark (and sometimes ironic) humour. She’s got canine companions she loves dearly and when she’s off duty, you’ll find her either buried in books or enthusiastically farming her BKB (she’s not very good though).

5 ways to design Badges and Virtual Rewards

Virtual rewards indicate accomplishing a special feat, serve as a symbol of authority or as a means of identification. How then, should one go about designing badges or other virtual rewards? Don’t fret, below we explore 5 easily-applicable ways to do so:

An easy way to motivate your target audience in a gamification exericse is to provide extrinsic and tangible benefits, such as a $100 Amazon Voucher, or a badge for 10% discount in a pub. However, in the absence of such privileges (which often requires an insane amount of business development/partnership/moolah), the gamification designer, often without the luxury of adjusting the content, would have to rely on designing excellent intrinsic rewards. More popularly known in many gamified experiences as badges (hence the title), while in Gametize, we call them achievements, to open up possibilities, such as to gifting a virtual “Magic Starbucks Mug which auto-refills itself once a day”.

For the sake of discussions, let’s group badges, achievements as virtual rewards. Virtual rewards indicate accomplishing a special feat, serve as a symbol of authority or as a means of identification. How then, should one go about designing badges or other virtual rewards? Don’t fret, below we explore 5 easily-applicable ways to do so:

1. Display Achievement

superstarbadge

Virtual rewards can be used to mark a certain level of achievement. Whether it’s completing a set of challenges or scoring a certain number of points, you want your player to be able to flaunt proof of the tasks that he/she has accomplished. Use titles! In the above example we have “Green Guru Superstar” to show that the player has successfully completed a set of challenges in the “Green Guru” quest. For the visual design, one should draw from the features of medals and award certificates. Speaking of medals, we come to the next part, which is…

2. Show Progression

Lobang-King-BronzeLobang-King-SilverLobang-King-Gold

Bronze, Silver, Gold Medals. Even if you’re not a fan of sports, you most likely know this combination of metals and what they mean. Have a set of badges that clearly indicate different levels of accomplishment and set the unlock rules accordingly. As the player proceeds through the gamified experience, they can clearly track their progress as they unlock Bronze, Silver, then Gold medals.

It’s important to give feedback to the player at frequent intervals— we call this kind of feedback “touchpoints“– so the player always has a clear idea of how far they have come and how much is left to be completed.

3. Personalization

European 2 Fanatico BadgeKorean 3 Black Belt Badge

Would you like to fight with a shield and sword as a knight? Or deliver deadly karate kicks as a black belt master?

Different types of people will engage in different types of activities in your gamified experience- sociable types will be upvoting and commenting on others’ posts and competitive types will be fired up to fight for the top spot

Create sets of badges that reward different actions. You can group your players according to Bartle’s Player Types, then each set of badges should reward a distinct group of players. Make badges for Killers, badges for Achievers, badges for Explorers and badges for Socializers.

4. Make it funny

Cafe 3 3D Latte Art

What is the cat doing in the coffee cup?

Humor can be tricky for some, but one easy way we can create humor is to combine two things that don’t normally fit together. It can be in the form of objects, such as the cat and the coffee cup above. Or you can combine a trait with an object, such as creating a “Extremely Small Elephant“. Combine cute with silly. Stop being serious!

Of course, you must have in mind your target audience’s tastes and preferences when it comes to joking around– you wouldn’t want to commit a faux pas by making fun of the wrong thing.

5. Tell a story

Virtual items should tell a story, or make them recall a story… This is where we can use Flavor Text. If you have played with 1980s toys or Magic: The Gathering, you’ll be familiar with these small chunks of story text that serve to add “flavour” to the toy/card without affecting the gameplay. This is like the descriptions of Pokemon in the Pokedex, the in-game Pokemon encyclopedia.

Emo 2 Let It Go

If you are out of ideas for stories, you can use pop culture references. For example, the above badge calls to mind last year’s hit movie “Frozen” and its female lead Elsa, shown as a cute penguin.

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After understanding these five tips, try your hand out at creating virtual rewards today! Add these virtual rewards into your very own gamified experience using the world’s simplest gamification platform, Gametize!

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This post was contributed by Quek Keng Yong, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Keng Yong has been placed at Gametize to do a 6-month internship through the iLEAD programme of NUS Entreprise in 2014. He studied Business at National University of Singapore. In his spare time, he likes to ride a bike or play computer games.

Gamification is everywhere

Ever wondered, “Where can I apply gamification?” Let us show you in this infograph. We believe that gamification can be applied to a wide range of industries and that play is an essential part of life!

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Towards a new motivational framework

We begin with a hard truth about gamification: success is highly dependent on design. Gartner reported that 80% of gamified apps will fail by the end of 2014. In fact, recent research showed that over US$50 billion was invested in Gamification programs in 2012, and most were unsuccessful due to the lack of use of intrinsic customer motivators. That’s an alarmingly large waste of valued resources. This has led to quick retorts and criticisms of the concept, and a few words such as “over-hyped” and “exploitationware” thrown around in heated discussions about gamification. If you think that just implementing a system where employees simply earn points can improve your workplace, think again.

When does gamification fail, and how can we avoid it?

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about gamification from clients is that they believe its sole purpose is to reward users with points to keep them addicted to the product. However, this may be counter-intuitive – research has shown that the provision of extrinsic rewards can decrease a person’s intrinsic motivation to do a task (also known as the over justification effect). For instance, Nisbett and colleagues (1973) showed that interest in playing a puzzle was higher when paired with a monetary reward, but when it was removed the following day participants spent significantly less time playing it.

Let me draw upon a local example: McDonalds Singapore. If you haven’t already heard of the app, it involves an alarm clock function where users are given the opportunity to win rewards, vouchers and free food.

McDonald's Surprise Alarm

In the short run, customers are incentivised to use the app (which may or may not increase consumption of McD’s products; this is highly debatable). However, customers’ perspectives experience a shift, perhaps from “I like McD’s fries” to “I am using this app because I get free food”. Eventually, when the app is discontinued, the same customers will feel that there is no incentive or motivation to continue eating at McDs (because there is no more free food from using the app), and associate this lack of reward as perceived dislike.

To ensure sustained growth and returns on investment, gamification designers have to consider factors other than rewards or complementary goods, and the best motivators are intrinsic ones. As humans, our actions are driven by several factors, such as mastery of skill, competition, and social belonging, but the importance of these factors relative to each other has been debated by psychologists over the past 50 years, leading to the conceptualisation of classical theories such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Devi and colleagues’ Self-determination Theory, and more recent ones such as Drive Theory by Dan Pink.

(See: What’s the best motivational theory?)

In this post, we will focus on the most popular motivational framework to date: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow first conceptualised the Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, and today remains a popular framework in sociology, management training and higher psychology instruction. It is often presented as a five-level pyramid, with higher-level needs coming into consideration only after lower-level needs are met. Interestingly, this theory was not developed specifically for the business context (although HR managers and management consultants frequently refer to it), but rather was developed as a behavioural explanation for why people do the things they do. Additionally, Maslow never used a pyramid to describe the levels of the framework – but the shape serves as a tool to visualise the importance of lower-level factors.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Find out more about Maslow’s Hierarchy and its constituent factors here.

Maslow’s framework was important in establishing the first steps towards the study of ‘positive qualities’ in people, during a time where psychologists were focused on treating disorders and socially perceived ‘faults’ in the mentally disabled. In fact, he basically laid the groundwork for the field of positive psychology today. However, criticisms have been raised about the framework’s hierarchal structure, as well as several lower-level factors that have been observed to be unnecessary for attainment of higher-level factors. For instance, countless individuals who have chosen to abstain from sex are still able to achieve higher-level factors, to the extent of even achieving self-actualisation.

To an extent, the hierarchy was beneficial in understanding why people chose to behave the way they do, but fails in the workplace setting due to several reasons. Firstly, not everyone is interested in career progression, and may be more comfortable with staying in the same stable environment. Secondly, some of the needs he raised are not relevant to the workplace, such as a lack of prejudice or problem solving (in certain professions). Finally, as mentioned above, there is little evidence for a hierarchal structure in management. Even in educational contexts, society has witnessed self-actualisers who have had poor security of resources or property, or people who come from extreme poverty, suggesting that some safety factors may not be as crucial as Maslow believed.

As a result, we conceptualised a holistic framework called the Intrinsic Motivational Network that attempts to capture the important aspects of motivation in the gamification context, lending key principles from contemporary theories such as Daniel Pink’s Drive, and the Self-Determination Theory by Deci and colleagues. It strips away the traditional notion of the carrot-and-stick argument and emphasises the need for focus on intrinsic factors, which will improve motivation in the long run.

Intrinsic Motivational Network
The Intrinsic Motivational Network.

Essentially, for a successful gamification system, the lower tier factors contribute more towards individual motivation. For instance, introduction of leaderboards (Tier 3: Competition) is purposeless when there is a poor environment (Need: Healthy Environment) where users can exploit bugs or cheat to reach the top, or when there is a lack of social community and belonging (Tier 1: Social Belonging). Similarly, the user should be aware of mastery content and existing badges (Tier 2: Mastery, Recognition) before they can set meaningful goals for personal growth (Tier 3: Growth). The beauty of this framework is that it is easily applied to most contexts, and that it draws parallels from the already familiar Hierarchy of Needs, taking its strengths and addressing its limitations, such as recognising the distinction between need and motivator. It also does not assume that lower levels are necessary for motivation, but acknowledges that lower levels have higher contributions to end-motivational levels.

However, like Maslow’s hierarchy, it is limited in the sense that the framework should be adjusted according to demographics. For instance, young children value social belonging, adolescents self-esteem, and young adults self-actualisation, making them of higher importance in the framework. However, this can be easily addressed by having intended participants complete a questionnaire, which will then be used to restructure the network into tiers that relate better to the target audience as a whole. Ultimately, we designed it to be dynamic in nature, where gates should be switched around and motivational factors adjusted, such that it is able to predict the best outcomes given the demographics provided.

Finally, it should be noted that this framework is a perpetual work in progress; we are constantly pitting data with and against our framework.

How does your gamification design score under our framework? Fill in the form below (takes less than 1 minute) to find out!

Form: Intrinsic Motivational Network

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This post was contributed by Jonathan Goh, Business Development Intern @ Gametize
Jonathan Goh is a final year Psychology undergraduate at University College London in United Kingdom, London. His research interests lie in mindfulness, decision-making, and applied psychology.

3 Simple steps to drive motivation

Motivation is a fundamental factor of engagement and in turn, successful gamification. Previously we have briefly discussed and compared the various motivational theories out there. For this article, we will be zooming in on Daniel Pink’s theory on motivation. According to Pink, there are three intrinsically motivating factors: purpose, mastery and autonomy. Let’s take a look at how we can enhance player engagement by applying these 3 elements to game design.

Step 1: Establish Purpose

Say Cheese!
Our Selfiely mascot, Penfie the penguin, helps you perfect the art of the selfie!

Why am I playing? Having a purpose is an essential human need – and if your players don’t understand the purpose behind completing a challenge, they may start to think of it as a chore and eventually lose interest. Tips:

Step 2: Encourage Mastery

Tutorials – keep it short and simple.

What can I do to get better? If players can’t see themselves getting better over time, they may adopt a defeatist attitude and quit altogether. You want to eliminate any sources of frustration for new players, while offering a challenge for expert players.

  • Clarify the rules of the game through a simple tutorial. Most importantly, don’t confuse your players from the start. A well-designed tutorial doesn’t even feel like one – Super Mario is a testament to that!
  • Provide quick, frequent feedback and rewards. How else do players know what they’re doing right – or wrong? Rewards can range from virtual badges and ranks to real vouchers, or simply bragging rights! However, beware of overjustification – don’t be overly dependent on rewards to motivate.
  • Adjust the difficulty of your game. Get players with different levels of mastery to test your game. If necessary, introduce uncertainty to gameplay or rewards to up the difficulty, or opt to offer unlockable levels for advanced players.

Step 3: Enable Autonomy

With Gametize, you can create various types of challenges.

How many ways can I play? Games encourage players to take charge and even test the limits of the game itself. Self-directed play gives players unique gameplay experiences and involves them at a deeper level.

  • Let players choose the task – when and what they do. Although more straightforward stages can help ease players into the game at first, change things up and let players do something different with more open-ended play once in a while. Also, a ROWE (results-only work environment) will give players more flexibility over when they complete challenges.
  • Let players choose the technique – how they do it. Players come in many forms (take the Bartle Test) and gain a greater sense of accomplishment by figuring out their own method of doing things. Even in Angry Birds, there are multiple ways to clear each level with three stars.
  • Let players choose their team – who they play with. Enable players to connect with each other and express themselves, whether it’s through profile pictures, unique avatars or friend interactions.

Of course, this article is by no means exhaustive. What other ways have you found effective for motivating your players? Let us know in the comments below.

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This post was contributed by Sarah Ong, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Sarah was offered a mentorship summer 2014 at Gametize under the IDA ELITe Programme. While her special talent is her fluency in the Japanese language, she also dabbles in a bit of design and of course, video games. Recent projects she has contributed to include the Amazing Food Race and Selfiely.

Top 5 ways to gamify the workplace


(Sight, short film on augmented reality by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo)

Ever wondered how a work day will be like with game mechanics? What if you can see yourself level up literally when you learn a new skill? Pretty Google Glass-esque yes. Well it might one day be a common reality, with augmented reality creeping into our daily lives (See the video above for a representation of life with augmented reality). And, according to Gartner, more than 50 percent of organisations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.

Till that day becomes commonplace, here are five quick and easy steps to include game mechanics into your workplace.

1) Make play part of the culture

As the Joker in The Dark Knight famously mention, “Why so serious?” No one likes a dull environment and it certainly does not breed good conversations. Conversations spark ideas. Stage a game night or have a game console in the office! It is in easy moments that people lose their inhibition and are willing to share and learn more. From there, encourage the wild exchange of ideas and accept the silliest of opinions that come out of these play time!

2) Create and share a progress bar

More often than not, no one knows what their colleagues are doing exactly. Understanding what colleagues are doing may enhance work flow. Sometimes, keeping track of others and their projects may aid in better ideas formulation and solutions. A progress bar need not be a strict appraisal tool; it can be in the form of a sharing platform, like Trello.

trelloGametize adopted Trello into its work processes as it is a good sharing and organisation application. Trello help individuals and groups to organise their work flow and tasks. Tasks can be allocated to specific groups, and they can be arranged according to their level of completion. Trello offers a way to track progress and it is very much like a player’s level in a game. The higher you go, the more you complete.

3) Foster problem based learning situations

If you have played or encountered role-playing games such as Final Fantasy or Assassin’s Creed, you will know that players need to manoeuvre past certain obstacles to attain a desired level or weapon. These are problems that need to be solved. You have to attempt till you find the optimal solution.

Taking a cue from Google, workplaces can have an “Ideas Board” for everyone to post problems which they are unable to solve. Interested individuals may then take on the project, learning and solving at the same time. It is also a form of encouraging team work and collaboration. There can even be a little friendly competition on which team can solve a problem better!

4) Give autonomy to everyone

Think about those role playing games you play again. Games promote a certain narrative and are a world for exploration. It does not strictly restrict a player’s movement at the risk of a stimulating experience. A little guidance or rules are set but players are encouraged to search and seek “special items” to level up.

?????????????????Likewise, start-ups such as Gametize thrive on flatten down hierarchy. The founders will set the direction and we are free to innovate. Ideas can be challenge and rebutted, and there is a high level of flexibility and autonomy to experiment and execute. But do not let it be limited to a physical start up, build a start-up culture in the big corporation!

5) Have iterations for feedbacks and improvement

One of the key takeaways of Gamification is the creation of intrinsic motivation. It is the ignition of a self-efficacy to carry out certain tasks. Intrinsic motivation is then translated into purpose and mastery over said task. However, in order for intrinsic motivation to be effectively induced, tasks have to be easily learned and be repeatable.

One of the challenges offered through our platform is the creation of repeatable quiz, which are good for making learning easy and sticky. At Gametize, we share a common Facebook group for internal sharing. When we have a pending design that needs feedback, it would be posted on the group. This manner of sharing would enable the agile methodology of working. Set objectives with quick iteration and you will discover your answer.

Bottom Line

gamifyworkplaceGamifying the workplace is about the building of a friendly and playful culture. Develop and foster a culture whereby creativity can peak and new ideas can blossomed. It can be tweaking simple work processes to having problem solving sessions. Build a culture so addictive that it goes viral internally. A happy workplace always does wonders for exceptional service delivery to customers. Have a go at making fun possible at the office!

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Gamification with Gametize

Gamification can bring about positive changes to your business. Scroll down to find out more.

Gamification infographic

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This post was contributed by Jonathan Goh, Business Development Intern @ Gametize
Jonathan Goh is a final year Psychology undergraduate at University College London in United Kingdom, London. His research interests lie in mindfulness, decision-making, and applied psychology.

Milgram’s experiment and Gamification

The Milgram Experiment (Milgram, 1963) is a famous series of social experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram in the early 1960s at Yale University. It was devised to answer a popular question at the time (when the trial of the German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was taking place): whether the actions of his subordinates could be considered criminal, or whether they were just following actions.

The study involved three participants: the experimenter, the subject, and a confederate who would take on the role of the student. The subject would be given the role of teaching word-pairs to the student, and by a trial-and-error method the student had to reply with the correct word from a choice of four. If the answer was incorrect, the subject would administer an electric shock to the student, with 15-volt increments for each wrong answer, up to a lethal maximum of 450-volts.

However, unbeknownst to the subject, there would be no electric shocks in reality, and the volunteer would instead play pre-recorded sounds for each shock level, giving the illusion that the student is in pain. If at any point subjects indicated a desire to halt the experiment, they would be given a verbal prod by the experimenter, such as “the experiment requires that you continue”, or “you have no other choice, you must go on”.

obedience

The experiment showed that around 65% of subjects were willing to administer the final 450-volt shock, although many were very uncomfortable in doing so. In essence, Milgram showed that people are willing to go to great (and sometimes immoral) lengths simply on the command of an authoritative figure. When subjects relinquished responsibility, they continued to administer potentially fatal shocks to the student in the experiment. Milgram explained this behaviour with what he called the agentic state theory, which argues that individuals come to view themselves as instruments for carrying out another person’s instructions, and no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions.

The essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and they therefore no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow. – Stanley Milgram (1973)

In the context of gamification, there are some lessons that can be drawn from this study. For instance, when individuals are required to complete gamified challenges or activities, the resulting sense of motivation or engagement may be reduced, or even eliminated (“I want to complete more challenges to score higher/learn more” becomes “I am doing this because I need to pass/qualify”). They are in an agentic state, carrying out challenges as instructed.

A recent study (Mollick & Rothbard, 2013) from the Wharton School at UPenn examines exactly this: even if gamification is fun and employees delight at games in their private lives, they are a lot less engaged by games that are mandated. The authors found that mandatory fun resulted in a decrease in positive affect, as well as a marginal decrease in job performance, which brings home the following point: when the need to utilise gamification systems is imposed on individuals, it becomes a chore, another requirement for employees to fulfil. Consider a time when you were forced to play a game (as part of a class or workplace engagement programme), and compare that to a time where you voluntarily joined a group (of friends or like-minded individuals) to play a game.

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Effective gamification taps onto instrinsic rewards that drive workplace behaviour, for instance personal achievement, or the subjective experience of fun. However, when the sense of agency is removed, all corresponding benefits(or harm) follows; although a well designed system can re-engage individuals when they are exposed to it. Notably, there is currently a growing amount of research interest in the role of consent and how it contributes to employee engagement (see Burawoy, 1979).

Failures in gamification ultimately boil down to two main factors: poor platform design, and undue directives by management sources. The latter, also affectionately known as ‘forced fun’, can quickly turn something enjoyable into another dreadful aspect of the workplace. So how can we avoid the ‘forced fun’ trap? Here are some tips (adapted from Darcy Jacobsen from Globoforce):

  • Gamify aspects of the workplace only where necessary: The introduction of leaderboards and badges can be effective when driving competition, such as in sales incentive programmes. However, in other departments of the organization, they can force a false (and sometimes detrimental) dimension of competition onto cooperative work, changing those programmes into something that employees may not be comfortable with. Be cautious where it is used to avoid poisoning your culture in areas like recognition and fun.
  • Make fun voluntary: Many cultures thrive on pizza parties and sack races, so don’t think you have to cancel them entirely. Just ensure that they are voluntary, and there is no explicit or implicit coercion to make employees participate.
  • Understand that engagement isn’t uniform: Engagement comes in many forms. Try not to judge other people’s engagement by your own preference, but rather by the results of their work. Never judge someone’s engagement by their willingness to participate (or not) in activities. This is the surest way to kill engagement. Similarly, make sure your culture has differing modes of fun that can appeal to different types of people. For instance, introverts have unique needs and contributions, and also their own sense of what is fun and what is not. Take the time to understand it and it will pay off.
  • Remember that choice is always fun:  When you recognize employees in a way where they can turn that recognition into whatever reward they choose, they will always maximize their fun. Consider employee reward schemes where awards can be redeemed for gift cards, items, trips, meals, gifts for others, charitable contributions, or even, yes, fun outings with (willing) co-workers. Choosing rewards for others will always backfire for someone; allowing a choice from a large pool of possibilities (or even employee-suggested ones) ensures that the fun will never be forced.
 References:

Jacobsen, D. (2014). The Dark Side of Fun | Globoforce Blog. Globoforce.com. Retrieved 21 July 2014, from http://www.globoforce.com/gfblog/2014/the-dark-side-of-fun/

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioural Study of Obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371-378.

Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority. An Experimental View. Harper, New York.

Mollick, E. R., & Rothbard, N. (2013). Mandatory Fun: Gamification and the Impact of Games at Work. The Wharton School Research Paper Series.

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This post was contributed by Jonathan Goh, Business Development Intern @ Gametize
Jonathan Goh is a final year Psychology undergraduate at University College London in United Kingdom, London. His research interests lie in mindfulness, decision-making, and applied psychology.

Creating the right value for your business strategy

Process value analysis is the elimination of unnecessary cost and the addition of value through innovation. It is the stripping down and scrutinizing of supply chain processes in order to increase the value and desire of customers. Essentially, it is used to identify the least costly set of requirements needed without undermining the satisfaction of customers. Redundancies are chuck out for a more streamline process. The key is to be cost effective, building a high visibility and being concern about the needs of the target audience (customers).

A typical organisation would see various departments and external parties in coordination. It is a long process chain that’s prone to complications. Coupled with the desire to be opportunistic, the ability of the supply chain to effectively serve the target audience would be affected. Process value analysis seek to weed out the complications and serve the target audience with the optimal, least costly set of requirements.

The processes of supply chains are planned and conducted by people. To ensure the right implementation of strategy from the top, we have to start at the people and team level. Create the right mind set and transform a weak process into a valuable chain. See each process as a means to tinker, innovate and improve. This would then foster a culture of information sharing, which creates better visibility.

Process change is not a constant but an iterative process.  Analyse each situation in process and seek the best fit, one that would deliver the best value to everyone involved. Adjust till the right value is found in the desired strategy – a strategy that would serve the target audience best.

How do we create the mind set for process change in the organisation?

1) One Table Approach – Eliminate redundancy and opportunism

openworkingPower and expertise allows people to withheld information, for fear of giving away ‘trade secrets’. Adopt a ‘one table’ mentality; treat the process like a giant start up. In ‘one table’, everyone involved in the process share a single big table. There is no cubicle or secrecy and this open policy promotes sharing. The removal of walls encourages people to voice their opinion openly. Lack of privacy translates to a more cordial environment for exchange.

2) Giant Playground – Promote interaction

playground2Take the process like a giant playground. A standard playground involves successive obstacles to be overcome. We have to select the best possible route in order to reach the end fast. Obstacles along the process can be made interactive through leadership and teamwork. Each process is like an obstacle-filled playground. Appoint a lieutenant who would bring the troops to victory (in the case, serving the customers well). The only way through it is to group up and agree on a mutual direction forward. Remove the unnecessary clutter and noise.

Typically, cost arises due to lack of communication and the poor design of delivery. Value analysis is about doing more with an optimal set of resources. Narrow down to the specific point and re-engineer. The best solution usually resides in the people involved. Have a champion and assemble a highly motivated team to weed out the redundancy.

When you have create a mindset for change, it’s time to engage the people involved. How do we do it?

Tap on the game psychology and mechanics of Gamification. Provide a completion bar as a motivational tool to completion. Set leader boards for best price offered. Promote successful collaborations through acknowledgement; give a ‘pat on the back’.

Bottom Line

Analyse the process and seek the best value for the target audience. First, we have to tune the right mind set and create the dream team within. The team have to be open to changes in the work processes or supply chain. Engage the team through methods such as Gamification. This would result in a thorough analysis of the process, which will achieve an optimal and valuable operation run.

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

Gamification in events and its impact

Gamification is the application of game mechanics and psychology to non-game context. It adopts the persuasive elements of games, tapping on rewards and level progressions to ignite the intrinsic motivations to do and share.

events-heavenly-headerEvents are staged occurrence and attendance are derived from the ability to participate and socialise. People are grouped together for a defined period of time and it’s an occurrence whereby attention can be curated and controlled. It is an ideal platform for branding and promotion. For it to truly attract and retain target audiences there has to be strong engagement mechanisms. In this post, we will look at how events can leverage on SoLoMo and Gamification to provide a positive experience.

Use of mobile devices enable better engagement

The proliferation of mobile devices has provided marketers with the tools to turn target groups into partners. As an extension of the 4Ps of marketing, mobile enables participation. Passive event-goers can be engage through the use of simple Gamification event apps, all at the palms of the participants. In the traditional sense, games in events have long been played. Merchants staged temporary promotional events at shopping malls, offering rebates or coupons for items on sale. Shoppers are enticed and encourage to shop at these events, to achieve the rewards of discounts. Merchants attain the benefits of increased sales while the shoppers get the incentive of a bargain.

Gamification brings mobility to events. Asia’s first gamified event, ideas.inc. Business Challenge, increase engagement and participation through a Gametize powered mobile app. Participants earned virtual points and items through completing challenges involving QR codes and photo sharing. Virtual points and item can then be redeemed for actual prizes. Participants are encouraged to interact and share, and this creates a more engaging atmosphere for the event. The provision of an immersive experience attracts and retains target audiences’ attention.

A promotional guide to downloading the app.
A promotional guide to downloading the app.

A gamified mobile app can serve as utility for an event. Gametize created an app for Walkabout Singapore 2014, a city-wide open house for technology startups, which allows participants to locate the various startups around Singapore. The app acts as a mobile guide, which complement the theme of walkabout.

Gamification in events creates social unity and motivation

participationGamification in events can steer participants’ behaviours and motivations. It helps achieve the objectives of the event. For instance, should the event’s objectives be about learning and sharing, a Gamified app can have inter-department challenges which require participants to tap on their team mates’ knowledge for answers. Gamification in events can create positive on-boarding motivation, interest and participation. With an app, activities or challenges can be directed at everyone, preventing alienation and boredom. Providing “something to do” at an event give participants little reasons to leave during an intermittent stage of an event’s proceedings.

Good delivery of Gamification at events

Create simple content and friendly interface design.
Create simple content and friendly interface design.

An event would have its own objectives to achieve and a Gamified app would serve as an enabler to a better experience. Delivery of an appropriate game, not for Gamification sake, requires proper planning and execution. We suggest:

1) Create good content through storytelling. Take the participants through a journey of exploration. Let them be the agent on a quest to uncover great bands at a music festival. Awards points (that can be exchange for food) when they take a selfie with the band on stage!

2) Provide an easy-to-use and intuitive platform. Create easy login through Facebook (for on-boarding), for instance. Adopt good design principles in the user interface. Do not ruin an experience due to a complicated set-up.

According to Gartner, 70% of top 2,000 organisations would deploy at least one type of Gamified application. Put your game on and create an immersive event with a simple yet attractive app. Or simply have game elements be the backbone of your event!

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This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.