Gamification has become the hot topic of the day and knowledge about it has been in increasingly high demand. We created the The Gamification Workshops in order to educate business owners on how to successfully utilize game mechanics in a deep and meaningful way. Our focus is on the player’s journey- making the user’s experience engaging, enriching and rewarding, whether it be through social connection or personal accomplishment (or both). Our events in San Francisco and New York were completely sold out and both went off without a hitch! All participants walked away with a new understanding of gamification and with inspiration for their own business projects.
In our workshop in New York City yesterday, Gabe Zichermann opened with introductions about the power of game designers as creators. He warned that the games we make have to have substance or it will not hold a player’s interest. He compared good design to a delicious chocolate cake – and bad design to simply a circle of foam with frosting on top. Amy Jo Kim continued on this idea with her opening presentation. She made the distinction between real gamification and “badges on a platter” – her term for the more superficial aspects of adding gaming techniques to activities. We can’t thank Amy Jo Kim enough for running the workshops. As the CEO of Shufflebrain, expert game designer and a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience, she was an amazing instructor and helped participants get real insights and opened their minds to the benefits of gaming. As the day progressed, she clearly defined major concepts in game design and explained how to identify player types and social styles in order to make them work for your business model as well as for the player. She utilized a number of her own games and hands-on exercises to illustrate her points and to have the workshop participants look at gamification not as a quick fix for business, but as a a philosophy and way to connect with people in the long term.
Patty Buckly from FriendFactor – whose mission is developing a fun and easy way for straight Americans to help their LGBT friends gain freedom – volunteered to share her workshop exercise results with the group as a model for success. George Matthew, from CareProsper – a site dedicated to helpiing people manage their personal health – also shared his ideas about desired social actions for his site.
Once participants were able to articulate what they wanted to get out of gamification, it was important to understand ways of reaching these goals. We invited Keith Smith, CEO of Big Door Media to discuss incentives and engagement strategies. He also explained how Big Door’s new Minibar system can be used as a route towards successful gamification and demonstrated how quickly and easily an account can be set-up and activated for your site.
There are many different legal issues that can come up when dealing with gamification and the online world that many people don’t always consider until there is a problem. We invited Sean Kane from Pillsbury, Winthrop to give a presentation about some of these issues and how to avoid common pitfalls. He recommends staying away from calling points “currency” unless they have a real-world value. When it comes to site user agreements and user-generated content, Sean says you have to ask yourself as the owner “What can I give to my users to provide them with something, that will then justify getting something from them?”
The day was filled with helpful insights, insider knowledge, new ideas and ended with face-to-face networking. It really was a fun and invaluable experience! If you’re feeling left out, there will be another opportunity in January to get enlightened about gamification. Come register for The Gamification Summit, January 20-21 2011 where you can hear presentations from Gabe Zichermann, Amy Jo Kim, Keith Smith and many others! The second day will have yet another comprehensive workshop filled with important, practical information that for your business. Don’t let yourself miss out this time around!
Need help with behavioral science and gamification? Get in touch with our boutique consulting agency Dopamine.