Published on March 5, 2014
GAMIFICATION THEORY AND PRACTICE WHITE PAPER Addressing the Challenges faced by Business and Society Gamification is a process designed to shape the world (achieve goals/objectives) by influencing the actions, behaviours, characteristics and state of entities within the world (through the use of games strategies and/or enabling technologies) 3/5/2014
GAMIFICATION THEORY AND PRACTICE WHITE PAPER Addressing the Challenges faced by Business and Society Gamification is a process designed to shape the world (achieve goals/objectives) by influencing the actions, behaviours, characteristics and state of entities within the world (through the use of games strategies and/or enabling technologies) Executive Overview This White paper is intended to provide an understanding of gamification and its growing importance and relevance for addressing some of the serious challenges faced by business and society in the modern world. It argues that gamification is a vital and ubiquitous practice for our continuing sustainable development and is a life skill that individuals and organisations need to master in order to be successful. The paper explains the implications and results of the dramatic shift from a hierarchical society to a networked society brought about by digital technologies and the kinds of challenges this has caused in business, education, politics and healthcare. The paper offers some solutions and enabling technologies that can support the development of gamification skills and strategies and outlines the benefits of adopting best practice ethical gamification strategies for the individual and the organisation. Introduction and Background The words "Game" and "Player" are embedded into our everyday vocabulary with meanings that go far beyond the context of sports or entertainment. We speak of people being in "the Insurance game", people playing "mind games" and use the descriptive noun to describe someone as a "Major Player". The use of the words in these contexts is an implicit assumption that being a player means having some influence or control. Sadly, the perception of being a "player" or playing "mind games" is all too often seen as being a negative influence, using manipulation of behaviour for selfish or unethical purposes, but the fact is that success in achieving any objective necessitates influencing the actions, behaviours, opinions, attitudes and motivation of other human beings. Whether consciously or unconsciously, everyone uses games strategies to manage their lives. Parents use game strategies to persuade children to eat food or be quiet, husbands, wives and lovers use games strategies to attract and bond with their partners and politicians use games strategies to get support etc. “Reality – The Worst Game Ever” In fact, our whole lives and our existence can be regarded as a massive multiplayer complex online game in which we constantly use Gamification and games strategies to manage our world on a daily basis. I believe that Gamification and the ability/motivation to Gamify is embedded in the genetic make up of every living creature. From the moment we are born, we instinctively adopt gamification strategies in order to make
sense of and ultimately shape our world. Therefore the ability to consciously or unconsciously use games strategies to achieve goals and objectives is an essential part of everyday life. “Animals play with humans to influence our behaviour” Gamification practices are not unique to human beings but are frequently observed in the animal world. Those living creatures most skilled and practised in Gamification have the greatest potential to shape their environment. Many animal species use Gamification as an essential skill for survival. Intelligence and Leadership are linked to the ability to Gamify. Why is Gamification so important today? If Gamification has been a universal practice since the dawn of time, why is an understanding of Gamification theory and practice so important and relevant today and why should Gamification skills be so critical to the future of business and society? “We live in a very sophisticated and advanced society and technology infrastructure” Look around any city at the buildings and infrastructure. Reflect on the technologies we take for granted in our daily lives. These are the manifestation of the collective and cumulative efforts of our civilisation.They are born out of the ideas, dreams, passions and abilities of generations of individuals who have been able to influence and motivate the actions of other human beings on a massive collective scale. No individual working alone has a fraction of the physical and mental strengths needed to develop the world we live in today. From Ancient Greek philosophers through Religious Leaders and Renaissance geniuses to modern day business moguls and politicians, it has been the efforts and abilities of generations of citizens to use
game strategies which has led and motivated other citizens to follow or learn from them.This has been responsible for the wonderful and incredible world we live in today. “Dramatic Shift from a Hierarchical structure in society and business to a network structure” For the majority of the thousands of years needed to develop today’s world, we lived in a Hierarchical Society in which success, authority and influence were measured by our position in the hierarchy pyramid. Our lives were controlled and influenced by those above us acting as our leaders and instructors who had the necessary authority, knowledge and experience. Today’s technologies, especially the internet and Web 2.0 have created a networked society based on peer to peer influences instead of top-down leadership. Because knowledge is so accessible via the internet, the authority, status and influence of knowledge professionals such as managers, teachers and doctors has declined. “Children empowered by technology become teachers”
As the dependency on our knowledge professionals declined, traditional relationships that sustained society for thousands of years have been fractured. This process is often referred to as disintermediation or the removal of intermediaries who are no longer needed when we have the power to be able to deal direct. Our dependence on those above us has diminished.The result of this is a decline in leadership and an increase in individual power without the associated responsibility for the consequences of that power. Gamification processes and strategies can develop leadership and influencing skills within a culture that encourages partnership building and responsible citizenship.The development of these skills and cultures is vital to a sustainable future both for business and society. What are Gamification Strategies and How do they Work? How does Gamification work and how can we develop Gamification Strategies to build a sustainable future for business and society? Gamification strategies influence the actions and motivation of both others and ourselves and consequently help us to better manage our lives. Every human being needs to achieve objectives in their daily lives whether they involve trivial daily tasks or longer term strategic goals. Our ability to achieve an objective that involves other people is heavily influenced by a number of factors which I call the “A Team” The "A Team" Gamification Factors “Develop your own A Team for Success” The A Team is a set of attributes that can determine how well we can affect the actions, behaviours, opinions and motivation of others :- Authority “Our Authority is a reflection of the relationship we have with those we seek to influence”
Building our actual (or perceived) Authority or status makes it more likely that people will be influenced by us. Authority can be represented or influenced by many factors such as a uniform, job title, age, or appearance. Aptitude “Aptitude is a real or perceived level of ability or competence” Aptitude can influence our perceived authority and/or relationship with others, especially when there is a real or perceived high level of difficulty or risk of failure. Developing or strengthening our actual or perceived Aptitude for gamification makes us a better “player” in the game of life Ambition “Ambition is what drives us to achieve goals and objectives” Strengthening our own Ambition gives us the will to succeed and overcome barriers. Strengthening and developing the ambitions of others brings support for our objectives.
Alignment “Alignment is a measure of how “in tune” we are with those we seek to influence” Creating an Alignment with the motivation and aspirations of others helps to build support for our objectives and creates more effective “win-win” relationships Adjacency “Adjacency refers to our physical or emotional closeness to those we need to influence” Getting physically or emotionally close to those we seek to influence increases the chances of success. It builds and strengthens relationships and trust. Associates “Associates are entities that can align with our objectives and become part of “win-win” collaborations”
Developing a network or community of Associates who share the same vision is key to building win-win relationships especially if those Associates have power and influence. Awareness “Awareness reflects our level of sensitivity to the world around us and situations we can influence” Strengthening our Awareness of situations and building Awareness of a need for action in others is important Affectedness “Affectedness is a reflection of the relevance of a situation to those we need to influence” High levels of physical and/or emotional Affectedness are major drivers for action in ourselves and others Activation “Activation is the level of motivation and commitment to a goal”
Change can only take place with the Activation of the key influencers of outcome. If there is no motivation or determination to succeed, objectives are more difficult to accomplish Attractiveness “The Attractiveness of a proposition can act as either a positive or negative incentive for action” Focusing on the Attractiveness of our objectives and our proposition drives motivation. The opportunity to realise an attractive goal can build our interest and the prospect of being damaged by an unattractive outcome is equally powerful. Accessibility “Accessibility is a reflection of the level of difficulty or complexity and the barriers to success” Improving the Accessibility of critical tools and resources makes success easier to achieve and can also influence motivation Affordability “Affordability is a measure of the commitment of individual resources such as time and money compared to the availability of those resources” The level of Affordability both in time and money will have a big influence the actions of others
Personalisation and Gamification “The Gamification process is a highly personalised activity” Every individual is different. We all have our social, cultural, educational, locational and genetic backgrounds which make us the people we are and also influence our responsiveness to gamification strategies. Whilst we have humanity with all its strengths and weaknesses as a common factor that provides opportunities to influence behaviour by focusing on characteristics such as kindness, generosity, intelligence, greed, lust, jealousy etc that are common to us all in different degrees, the fact is that personal relationships are critical. “My Amazon is an example of using technology to develop relationships” Personal relationships based on trust, respect, admiration, dependence, status, love, fear etc. determine the ease with which we can be influenced. Focusing on the “A Team” list of factors is critical to the development of our gamification skills and enabling technologies can support this.
The Gamification Cycle “The Gamification Cycle builds understanding of the role of strategies and enabling technologies” The Gamification Cycle explains the processes involved in the development and implementation of Gamification Strategies. The Gamification Cycle is a continuous development process without beginning or end. It shows how we respond to challenges by adopting gamification strategies to successfully respond to life’s challenges. Challenges are an essential part of life and our continuous development. Without challenges there is no motivation or necessity to shape our world. How we respond to challenges and the strategies we use to engage resources to help us meet challenges determine our success. Just as in any sporting game we need to know the score not only to judge how well we are doing but also display our aptitude, we need feedback from the results of our responses to challenges. Therefore, a critical component in the effectiveness of Gamification strategies is the ability to measure and visualise change or impact. Measurement and visualisation of change provides this essential feedback. Responding to the feedback from our actions is an essential part of learning and development. The Gamification cycle fuels Learning and Development and continuously creates new situations and new challenges. Our genetic make-up motivates us to continuously repeat this cycle until we achieve our goals. The paradox of the Gamification Cycle is that we constantly need challenge and motivation in our lives so in striving for success, we are potentially in danger of sowing the seeds of apathy and loss of motivation.
Gamification Strategies, Empowerment, Technology, Success and Motivation “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive and the true success is to labour Robert Louis Stevenson” The developed world we live in today has been shaped by our continuous desire to be masters of our own destiny. The technologies, artefacts and infrastructures we make so increasingly accessible and intuitive reduce the level of challenge in our lives and make us increasingly dependent on them on a daily basis. Our growing reliance and dependence on technology and infrastructures which empower us and make life easy for us has an impact on our motivation, development and “locus of control”. “The Locus of Control Concept” The paradox of the impact of technology on our lives is that the empowerment it brings to give us more control over our lives also makes us more dependent on others. This phenomenon is one of the most serious challenges to the future of humanity in my opinion. Technology brings power without responsibility for the consequences of our actions. This means that instead of accepting personal responsibility for key areas of our life such as health, governance, income and education, we expect others to manage things for us with minimal cost or inconvenience to ourselves. In areas such as obesity and diabetes where there is an impending demographic timebomb arising from our lifestyles, society will not have the resources to deal with the consequences unless the locus of control shift created by technology can be reversed. Gamification strategies offer a way to achieve this. The Gamification Lens Concept “The Gamification Lens Pyramid” The moment we are born, our genetic makeup motivates us to find ways to become master of our own destiny by learning to take control An ability to be in total control of our destiny is the defining characteristic of the “Games Master” In a hierarchical structure, the Games Master role is the leader.
Gamification strategies help us to develop the Games Master skills necessary to manage our environment. In our early lives, our actions are initially instinctive and our senses alert to their effects on our world. The feedback from the consequences of our actions shapes our learning and development. Positive feedback can reinforce behaviour and negative feedback cause changed behaviour. As we develop and adapt to our world, the challenges and levels of awareness, affectedness and activation weaken. We become more comfortable with our lives.The consequence of this reduced level of challenge affects our motivation and, without challenges and the necessity to act to shape our lives, we become spectators rather than active players. Our locus of control is shifted from internal to external. Since the instinct to manage and shape our world is embedded in our genes, we instinctively seek out other outlets for gamification. Primarily it is leisure activities which provide those challenges and motivations. Immersive technologies such as video games, social media and virtual worlds are the manifestation of this basic human need for Gamification. In today’s society, this trend is not dissimilar to Roman times where “Bread and Circuses” were key to social order. The problem today however is unique in human history because of the level of individual empowerment that technology brings and the growing disconnection between power and responsibility is creating serious social and economic challenges. Ethical Gamification strategies which focus on win-win relationships can provide solutions to these problems through the intelligent application of Enabling Technologies for the benefit of society as a whole. Gamification Enabling Technologies Gamification Enabling Technologies are those technologies which support the process of gamification by developing, enhancing, amplifying and/or augmenting those factors which help facilitate changes in actions, behaviours, characteristics or states - the so-called “A Team”. It is the emerging measurement and feedback technologies which hold the key to Gamification Strategies which reconnect society and combine empowerment with personal responsibility. Measurement and Feedback technologies based on the “Internet of Things” and increasingly powerful immersive technologies that engage our senses and emotions can help shift our locus of control from External to Internal, give us more responsible control over our lifestyles and transform us from spectators into fans, players and even games masters. “Enabling Technologies and Gamification can have a major impact on our personal health” My own personal experience of using Gamification strategies to take control of my health provided me with an insight of the potential of the latest emerging technologies to have a major impact on important societal challenges. The use of a lifestyle monitoring device with its iPad applications empowered me to dramatically improve my wellbeing by adopting a Gamification strategy that influenced my actions, behaviours, characteristics and state.
The Way Forward for Gamification and Enabling Technologies The ability to take control of our future and continue to develop throughout the whole of our lives depends on how successfully we can influence those entities which shape our world. Gamification strategies which are ethical and are based on genuine win-win relationships supported by enabling technologies can contribute to our future. My own view is that Gamification skills are essential and that the best way to develop those skills is to begin with “personal gamification” strategies focused on developing our internal self-management competencies. If we are to be successful in developing the skills to influence other, we must first hone those skills within our own lives by using technology to influence our own actions and behaviours. Conclusion Triggering our basic human need to shape our world by influencing the actions, behaviours, characteristics and state of entities within our world is vital to our future. Developing Gamification skills is an essential part of creating modern leaders in all aspects of business and society. GAITSS is committed to the use of ethical Gamification practices to shape the future of business and society and we offer a variety of services to clients and partners wanting to adopt or develop Gamification strategies including consultancy, workshops and networking. See www.gaitss.net or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright GAITSS (David Wortley) March 2014
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