The Gamification Glossary of Elements
Gamification is NOT all about Badges, Points and Rewards
Gamification is gaining inc...
Action/Reaction
One of the most important elements in Gamification is the connection of Actions to Reactions. If you
obser...
Choice
Freedom of choice is regarded as a fundamental and precious human right and it is an important
element of Gamificat...
Development
Gamification strategies should always include the potential to continuously develop and evolve as
this helps t...
component of Gamification strategies and one of the objectives of Gamification is to transform
spectators (who make little...
what is being learnt. Learning journeys which are taken in groups or teams support the building of
relationships and the c...
importantly neutral and can give a perspective which may be absent within those directly involved.
In any relationship, va...
Scenarios/Narratives
Scenarios and narratives can be a powerful influence in Gamification strategies because they define
s...
one partner is clearly a winner and the other is a loser are not only unethical but they are
unsustainable and ultimately ...
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The Gamification Elements Glossary - Gamification is NOT all about Badges, Points and Rewards

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Gamification is a process designed to create, develop and maintain relationships with people and things in our life and give use more influence and control over our future. In short, Gamification strengthens our internal “locus of control” and brings sustainability and stability to business and society.
This glossary document outlines some Gamification elements that can be introduced into any everyday activity to support relationship building and it should be read in conjunction with a companion document on “Gamification Influencers” that focuses on factors that influence and motivate.

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Transcript of "The Gamification Elements Glossary - Gamification is NOT all about Badges, Points and Rewards"

  1. 1. The Gamification Glossary of Elements Gamification is NOT all about Badges, Points and Rewards Gamification is gaining increasing amounts of attention and credibility as a concept that can be applied to achieve goals and objectives in many “non play/entertainment” sectors. Much of what is being offered as “Gamification Strategies” focuses on the use of badges, points and rewards, giving the impression that successful Gamification is about offering rewards, incentives and recognition. This document is intended to challenge that notion and to offer a more comprehensive understanding of how and why Gamification is so significant in today’s digital age. Gamification has been described as the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts. This makes the assumption that there is some differentiation between games and other everyday activities. Whilst the above definition seems intuitively understandable because it somehow implies that games allow “risk-free, trial and error” development that is missing in work or other situations, I believe that every human activity should be viewed as a game if we are to develop the skills and understanding to apply Gamification strategies successfully. The first point to make in the argument that games are an essential part of every human activity is that we frequently use the words “games” and “players” in “non-game” contexts. Examples include “BP is a major player in the oil industry” or “He/she is playing mind-games”. I have heard the expression “benign manipulation” used to describe gamification but the reality is that we all use gamification skills every day of our lives in order to have some control or influence over our lives. For me, the heart of gamification is the creation, development and maintenance of relationships, connections and bonds with other people and entities that affect our lives and the reason why gamification is more important today than any other time is because “the networked society is paradoxically both the most connected and the least connected in the history of mankind”. This means that we have the power to communicate with more people and things than ever before but the strength of those connections is at its weakest. This manifests itself in many important societal challenges that are “relationship based” such as loyalty, dependency, sustainability and longevity. People change jobs, employers, suppliers, locations and partners more frequently than ever before as a result of technology. Gamification is a process designed to create, develop and maintain relationships with people and things in our life and give use more influence and control over our future. In short, Gamification strengthens our internal “locus of control” and brings sustainability and stability to business and society. This glossary document outlines some Gamification elements that can be introduced into any everyday activity to support relationship building and it should be read in conjunction with a companion document on “Gamification Influencers” that focuses on factors that influence and motivate. The glossary is in alphabetical order rather than in importance or relevance
  2. 2. Action/Reaction One of the most important elements in Gamification is the connection of Actions to Reactions. If you observe young children, you will see that their whole world is a game in which they try things in order to get a reaction. This is how we all learn so it is important in any human activity to create the connection between action and reaction. If there is no connection between action and reaction, there is no learning and development and no relationship building. Shaping reactions is very important. It can be something as trivial as smiling at someone or it could be a more complex design of a computer application that responds in ways that encourage or shape behaviours. Badges / Certificates Badges are a form of recognition which can potentially serve a number of purposes. The first of these is a reward for achievement that can act as an incentive for completing certain tasks successfully. When I was in the Boy Scouts, badges were awarded for a variety of activities and were worn as symbols of pride on the uniform. Badges, like uniforms also serve as a connection between people with the same interests and/or achievements which is also important in building bonds that influence behaviour. Badges also help to build a personal profile that creates a picture of the individual and in this context, digital badges will become increasingly important in determining power to influence. Balance Balance is an important aspect of Gamification as it reflects the relationship between various other elements such as risk and reward, fairness, reciprocity and uncertainty. Where there is a lack of balance, there is a weakening of connections. If the risks are too high in proportion to the rewards, fewer people will be engaged. If there is no balance, the game becomes one-sided and, without elements of chance and uncertainty, there is less interest and motivation. Creating balance in any kind of relationship is very important in making it healthy and sustainable. Challenges It is essential to include challenges in gamification strategies. Without challenges, there is no learning and development, less motivation and weak relationships. The key to the successful use of challenges in a gamification strategy is to make the level of challenge appropriate to the capabilities of the individual and to provide a continuously increasing level of challenge that adapts to the individual. Chance/Uncertainty Chance and uncertainty are essential to gamification strategies. If outcomes are 100% predictable, relationships cannot be maintained because there is a lack of excitement or unexpected possibility. In any kind of relationship, building chance and uncertainty helps to keep the relationship alive and growing.
  3. 3. Choice Freedom of choice is regarded as a fundamental and precious human right and it is an important element of Gamification that is closely connected with Consequence. The digital age has delivered unprecedented freedom of choice in almost every aspect of our lives and has been largely responsible for the weakening of traditional established relationships such as supplier/customer, employer/employee, husband/wife. Preservation of freedom of choice in Gamification is important but choices should be very closely linked to consequences as a way of influencing behaviour. Coach The Coach plays an important role in Gamification as an external observer with a powerful influence on outcomes. Coaches in many ways have more influence on the outcomes of activities than the players. Coaches do not need to be good players but they need to be supreme Gamification experts capable of recognising and understanding behaviours and performance with an ability to develop and influence relationships in ways that deliver results. Coaches focus on leveraging the potential of other people rather than trying to succeed alone. Competition Healthy competition can be introduced into gamification as a tool for motivation and stimulating learning and development. Without competition, relationships stagnate and wither but the competition should ideally act as a balancing factor. Consequences Every choice and action in our lives has consequences for ourselves and others affected by choice. The notion of games and Gamification as a kind of playground to experiment without risk of damaging consequences may be valid for learning scenarios where there are unacceptable levels of risk e.g. the use of flight simulators to train pilots but, in general, it is important that Gamification strategies incorporate consequences that are not entirely 100% guaranteed (to preserve the element of chance). It is arguable that actions without consequences to the actor can be very damaging to both the actor and those affected by the actions and actions without consequences to anyone or anything are not worth doing. Control A desire to control is at the heart of human motivation. Humans are paradoxical creatures with a basic instinct to understand and control the outcome of their lives yet with a fundamental need for chance and uncertainty. In developing Gamification strategies, there should always be another mountain to climb, another skill to master. “It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive”. Relationships in which you have total control are doomed to failure as there is no motivation to continuously develop and evolve.
  4. 4. Development Gamification strategies should always include the potential to continuously develop and evolve as this helps to strengthen relationships. Development and Learning come through responding to situations as challenges, observing reactions to our actions and modifying/adjusting our behaviours and opinions as we develop. Relationships which do not address or create challenges remain static and not fully developed. Gamification strategies should include both internal (personal) and external (for others) development objectives. Discovery As we are transitioning from a hierarchical society to a networked society, information, understanding and knowledge is no longer a “top-down” transfer process involving existing knowledge but a “peer to peer” discovery process of “new” knowledge. Discovery plays a useful role in Gamification strategies. Incorporating opportunities for new discoveries into processes generates engagement and keeps relationships fresh and interesting. Exploration Discovery is an outcome of Exploration. In our childhood, exploration is a vital part of our development and helps us to build relationships with the world around us. All human activities are enriched by adopting opportunities to explore either individually or, especially for relationship building, collectively. Failure Freedom to fail is a necessary part of Gamification strategies because we very often learn more and are motivated more by failure than success. If it is too easy to succeed in any human activity there is limited learning and development. Anyone who has never failed in their life is not fully developed. Gamification strategies should incorporate the risk of failure combined with a learning and development outcome arising from that failure. Fairness / Justice Whilst effective Gamification strategies should be designed around principles of fairness and justice, meaning that the outcomes of any activity should be balanced and rewards appropriate for measurement of contribution, skill or effort, it is important that outcomes should also be influenced by chance, uncertainty or even cheating in order to reflect life. If outcomes were always based on fairness and justice, the “best” would always prevail and this would increase predictability and diminish opportunities for passion and excitement. Fans Fans are one of the most important elements of Gamification strategies since it is fans that make activities commercially and emotionally sustainable. I describe fans as those who cannot or dare not become players but become committed to align themselves to others who are players and their behaviour contributes to supporting players to achieve outcomes they desire. Fans are a key
  5. 5. component of Gamification strategies and one of the objectives of Gamification is to transform spectators (who make little contribution) into fans. This can also mean creating fans with opposite views and opinions to your objectives. Neutrality and apathy are the enemies of Gamification strategies. A “love-hate” relationship is far better than no relationship. Feedback All Gamification strategies benefit from incorporating feedback elements that influence behaviour either positively or negatively. Without feedback there are limitations on learning and development and barriers to building sustainable relationships. Games Master Games Masters are the ultimate experts in Gamifaction strategies. They are at the peak of the ability to influence and masters of creating sustainable “win-win” scenarios that are the “holy grail” of Gamification. Games Masters have an influence on outcomes and motivations even greater than that of coaches. They create and manage all the Gamification elements and have the power and understanding to dynamically adjust strategies to sustain long term mutually productive relationships. Simon Cowell, the brains behind “the X Factor”, is an example of a supreme games master who achieved his business objectives by developing a Gamification strategy that engaged others to bear the costs and risks of achieving his goals. Intrinsic/Extrinsic Motivation In any Gamification strategy there should be factors which engage and motivate. Intrinsic motivation comes from the emotional satisfaction of the activity itself and is not linked to any form of reward or recognition but purely the pleasure of the activity. Extrinsic motivation is primarily driven by the possibility of a reward or recognition. Both forms of motivation are important in developing Gamification strategies. Leaderboards Leaderboards and league tables are a mechanism by which we compare our performance or the performance of the players we support against each other. Business Gamification strategies based on the use of leaderboards and league tables as mechanisms to influence productivity and motivation have proven success but, as in the sports sector, it is important to consider setting milestones as a point in time both for recognition of winners and for starting afresh. In my school days, one of our teachers created a “Latin Ladder” league table to visualise who was the best at Latin in his class. With my surname beginning with “W”, I always began each term at the bottom of the alphabetical ladder which provided some motivation to develop. This teacher’s Gamification strategy was very effective and incorporated many of the elements in this document. Learning Gamification strategies provide a learning environment and learning involves developing a relationship or connection with knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Gamification strategies to incorporate learning objectives should also strengthen emotional and motivational connections with
  6. 6. what is being learnt. Learning journeys which are taken in groups or teams support the building of relationships and the conversion of spectators into fans and/or players. Measurement The measurement of performance or state is a vital part of Gamification and sets standards or targets that influence motivation. Enabling Technologies play a vital role in the measurement and feedback process. Paradox The notion of the paradox is one of the more difficult concepts to explain in Gamification strategies but nevertheless an important concept to develop and incorporate. Win-win relationships are a kind of paradox because the notion of “Everyone is a winner” seems to be an impossibility. My definition of a paradox is the co-existence of conflicting states such as right and wrong, black and white, true and false. The paradox provides an enduring challenge that is an essential part of human behaviour. Penalties Most Gamification strategies focus on rewards as incentives but penalties are just as important as a strategy to affect behaviour and motivate development. Penalties are strongly linked to consequences, rules, failure and action/reaction. Players Players are strong influencers of outcomes and a sign of engagement and commitment that goes beyond being a spectator or a fan. The identification, recruitment and development of players in any Gamification strategy is essential. Points / Scores Points and a scoring system require measurement and feedback. They provide an objective measure of the “state of play” and act as an incentive for skills and competence development as well as feeding the Leaderboard. Points added act as a reward for positive contributions to outcomes whilst points deducted provide consequences for bad performance or act as penalties for rule breaches. Reciprocity Gamification strategies rely on reciprocity to sustain relationships in the long term. Reciprocity represents a balance of risks and rewards, contribution and recognition. Reciprocity is linked to value and worth. Gamification strategies should be based on reciprocal benefits within a win-win environment. Referees / Judges Referees and judges in gamification strategies serve to see that rules are respected and points and scores properly awarded. They also serve to provide measurement and feedback to the “players” and thereby contribute to the learning and influencing process. Referees and judges are also
  7. 7. importantly neutral and can give a perspective which may be absent within those directly involved. In any relationship, valued friends can often act as unbiased intermediaries. In life, there most circumstances benefit from the involvement of parties or even mechanisms without conflicting interests in the outcomes Reflection Reflection is a vital but often neglected part of the Gamification process. Personal Gamification skills need to include self-reflection and analysis as part of the learning process and in peer to peer and collaborative activities, reflection with the support of a coach, mentor, spectator or even referee makes a valuable contribution to outcomes. Debriefing exercises within Gamification strategies are a good process to follow. Results / Outcomes Gamification Strategies should always begin by analysing and/or setting goals and objectives from the broadest possible perspective, involving as many potential stakeholders with an interest in or affected by possible outcomes. This analysis can be carried out by using some very good tools known as business modelling canvasses. This is not to suggest that strategy decisions should be made “by consensus”. Indeed consensus strategies are usually disastrous. The idea of stakeholder perspectives being taken into account is to gain an understanding of how to create win-win scenarios in which others benefit by helping you to achieve your results. Outcomes in any Gamification strategy should be measurable in some way and feedback provided to affected stakeholders. Rewards/Incentives Rewards and incentives are clearly important in Gamifiaction strategies but it is important that these should be proportionate, balanced and reciprocal. Far too many digital business models offer incentives that are unsustainable because they provide free services without requiring or incorporating reciprocal benefits for the service provider. Rewards and incentives must be linked to worth and value and should ideally present some challenges in order to make the recipient appreciate or value the incentive. Risks Gamification strategies are best personalised to the individual, group and/or context. The risks and rewards should be tightly connected and reciprocal if the strategy is to be sustainable in the long term. Risks should also be designed to be shared in any Gamification strategy. Rules Rules are one of the most defining features of Gamification strategies and should be designed to incorporate as many of the Gamification elements as possible, especially when defining the challenges, consequences, rewards, penalties and risk/reward balance. Rules should motivate, challenge and define a “level playing field” in which rewards are linked to performance, skill and desired behaviours.
  8. 8. Scenarios/Narratives Scenarios and narratives can be a powerful influence in Gamification strategies because they define situations and circumstances that engage people and encourage the shift from spectator to fan to player. Scenarios and narratives build aspirations, targets and desired outcomes that trigger emotional responses. Skill/Ability Gamification strategies should be designed to incentivise and reward the development of skill and ability as a defining factor in achieving outcomes but an element of chance and uncertainty should always be left open as this is an important factor in engaging people to become involved in taking risks because the outcome will not always be determined by skill and ability. This is an essential component in the psychology of gambling. Spectators/Observers Whilst spectators are not directly involved in shaping the outcome of a Gamification strategy, it is important to initially raise sufficient awareness and interest in stakeholders such that they commit to observing the activity. Spectators and observers should be given an opportunity to make the transition into fans or players by providing them with the tools to provide feedback and points that influence an outcome. A good example of this is the TV Talent competitions such as “X Factor” and “Strictly Come Dancing” where spectators are turned into fans by providing them with an opportunity to vote electronically. Success/Achievement Success and achievement in Gamification strategies should be clearly recognised and used to provide incentives to become “players” rather than spectators. Intrinsic motivation is generally far more effective than extrinsic when it comes to success. Feeling personal pride at making progress or development provides internal feelings of success that do not necessarily have to be recognised with a reward or a badge. Value / Worth For me, this is one of the most important elements of Gamification strategies. In order to achieve goals and objectives, it is very important to maximise the value or worth of your contribution. Think of a game of poker when developing Gamification strategies. If you do not believe the cards you are holding have much value you have no chance of success but if you can convince other players you have a “strong hand” you have a far greater chance. In any ethical use of Gamification strategies, it is important to have an honest understanding of true value and worth and not use this to deceive other players. Reciprocity and balance should be considered when presenting value. Win-Win Any relationship is far more sustainable and rewarding if it is based on a genuine win-win partnership development strategy. Gamification strategies designed to force behaviours in which
  9. 9. one partner is clearly a winner and the other is a loser are not only unethical but they are unsustainable and ultimately destructive. Copyright : David Wortley April 30th 2014 www.gaitss.net

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