The Gamification Influencers Glossary
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The principle objective of gamification strategies is to influence the behaviours, attitudes, opinions, awareness, understanding of and relationships with other human beings. This is clearly a very ...

The principle objective of gamification strategies is to influence the behaviours, attitudes, opinions, awareness, understanding of and relationships with other human beings. This is clearly a very complex and personalised process that varies with the individual and the context. However, I believe it is useful to identify and explore generic factors which can affect the outcomes of any Gamification process.
I have compiled a glossary of what I can “A-List” Influencers with a brief outline of how and why they should be considered in not only developing appropriate skills and strategies but also for understanding the potential of enabling technologies to leverage or affect these influences.
This document is best read in conjunction with the Gamification Elements Glossary available for download at http://www.slideshare.net/dwortley/the-gamification-elements-glossary. Where the Gamification Elements Glossary is intended to be a guide to support Gamification strategies for both everyday activities and the development of new games of any kind, the Gamification A List Glossary of Influencers is intended to identify some of those human and situational factors which affect outcomes. This is because every individual and every context is different and where a Gamification strategy might be effective for one individual or group in a set of circumstances, these “human factor influencers” could produce diametrically opposite outcomes depending on the individual and the relevance of the particular influencing factor on that individual.

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The Gamification Influencers Glossary Document Transcript

  • 1. The Gamification “A-List” Glossary of Influencers The principle objective of gamification strategies is to influence the behaviours, attitudes, opinions, awareness, understanding of and relationships with other human beings. This is clearly a very complex and personalised process that varies with the individual and the context. However, I believe it is useful to identify and explore generic factors which can affect the outcomes of any Gamification process. I have compiled a glossary of what I can “A-List” Influencers with a brief outline of how and why they should be considered in not only developing appropriate skills and strategies but also for understanding the potential of enabling technologies to leverage or affect these influences. This document is best read in conjunction with the Gamification Elements Glossary available for download at http://www.slideshare.net/dwortley/the-gamification-elements-glossary. Where the Gamification Elements Glossary is intended to be a guide to support Gamification strategies for both everyday activities and the development of new games of any kind, the Gamification A List Glossary of Influencers is intended to identify some of those human and situational factors which affect outcomes. This is because every individual and every context is different and where a Gamification strategy might be effective for one individual or group in a set of circumstances, these “human factor influencers” could produce diametrically opposite outcomes depending on the individual and the relevance of the particular influencing factor on that individual. The glossary is in alphabetical order rather than in importance or relevance Accessibility Accessibility refers to the ease of access, usability and interface that connects the individual or group to the activity. A good example of how enabling technologies have improved accessibility to an activity is the Nintendo Wii or Microsoft Kinect used in sports games like Wii Golf and fitness “exergames”. Games like Golf and gym activities have natural barriers to accessibility such as time and distance and facilities for coaching/practice. Many of these physical activities are the domain of a younger age group but interface devices and consoles that can be set up on demand make Gamification strategies more effective as well as opening up a bigger market. In developing Gamification strategies consider how easy it is for the key stakeholders to gain access to the activities and resources required to produce the outcomes. Activation Level This refers to the state and personality of those you wish to engage in the Gamification strategy. Success is easier to achieve if activation levels can be raised by physical and mental exercises that prepare and build anticipation. This is recognised in the use of “warm-up” artists before TV and Radio shows. Adjacency Adjacency reflects the physical and/or emotional closeness of stakeholders / players in the Gamification strategy. It is easier to influence others when there is a physical or emotional proximity.
  • 2. Admiration Admiration is a strong influencer that can act as a two way process. Someone who is admired and acts as a role model can influence the admirer whilst someone who is admired is also strongly influenced by that admiration. Affectedness Affectedness relates to the relevance of the situation or activity to the individual or group. Those who are most affected by a situation are more readily influenced and engaged in activities related to their situation. Affordability Gamification strategies can only be effective when those who need to be engaged can afford the time, attention and money required for their active participation Alignment Alignment refers to the strengths of the connections between participants and the level of common views, abilities, perceptions and understanding. The more agreement there is and the more commonality there is between individuals, the stronger the influence. Ambition Ambition can be a great motivator for any individual and if the gamification strategy is aligned to building realistic ambitions, success is more likely. Observing ambition in others can provide both a positive influence, if it generates admiration and aspirations, or a negative influence if the ambition is perceived to be self-seeking in which it can generate jealousy, resentment and antagonism. Gamification strategies can be focused internally to develop personal goals or ambitions or externally to develop ambitions within others. Appearance The ability to influence is greatly affected by appearance or perceptions which need to be appropriate for any intended outcomes. The expression “First impressions count” is very appropriate but impressions generally are relevant in influencing the opinions of others about authority, aptitude, alignment, aspiration, admiration, all of which have a bearing on behaviours and responses. Aptitude Aptitude refers to the level of skill or ability (real or perceived) in any activity. If your levels of aptitude are greater than those you are trying to influence, it can help you achieve outcomes because it links to motivation, ambition and aspiration. If your levels of aptitude are lower than those you seek to influence, the Gamification strategy needs to reflect that and encourage others to help and support your development as part of achieving your goals.
  • 3. Argument When trying to influence outcomes, it helps to have a strong argument for your case but arguments are very subjective and personalised and what might be a strong logical argument in one situation can be ineffective if emotions play a stronger role than logic. Develop arguments and reasoning within the application of gamification strategies that are appropriate for the individuals, situations, contexts and desired outcomes. Aspiration Aspiration is an important factor in influencing behaviour. Aspirations are like ambitions but are generally more longer term wishes rather than absolute goals. Aspirations can be useful in transforming spectators into fans as part of a process of deeper engagement. Associates Being part of a peer group of associates who have strong influence is important in developring successful gamification strategies. If you can identify key “players” of influence, align yourself and build relationships with them it can help to achieve goals. “It’s not what you know it’s who you know” is a useful mantra. Attractiveness Attractiveness is related to appearance but refers more to the desired outcome. Making the desired outcome attractive to those you seek to influence. Attractiveness needs to be connected to accessibility and a balance struck between the level of attractiveness and the accessibility of the outcome. “Just within/beyond reach” is a useful guide to strategy development. Authenticity Trust is an essential part of any relationship building and being genuine, believable and authentic can be a strong influence of the behaviour of others but beware of situations where building trust within others can be exploited as a perceived weakness when the gamification is built around self- interest rather than genuine win-win. Enabling technologies, particularly measurement and feedback technologies can bring greater levels of transparency and visibility to any activity, strengthening the importance of authenticity because falseness and pretence can be more easily exposed. Authority Being in an actual or perceived position of authority is a strong influencing factor but it is equally effective in the right circumstances to transfer authority to those involved in achieving outcomes. This is especially true in current educational settings where the traditional base of authority of teachers is eroded by the accessibility of knowledge and information from the internet and the digital skills of young people. In these situations, peer to peer development is most effective with the teacher acting as a coach or facilitator transferring the authority to the peer group of students.
  • 4. Awareness Where there is no awareness, there is no effective influence. Raising awareness is an important part of establishing scenarios and creating challenges that engage others. The Role of Enabling Technologies This A list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many influencing factors in any given situation or activity that it is impossible to include them all. This list can be useful to consider when assembling the elements of a gamification strategy and/or developing a game/simulation. Today’s key technologies of Internet of things, big data, cloud computing, wireless sensors, mobile devices, data visualisation and social media are creating unprecedented and disruptive opportunities to engage and influence on a massive scale therefore I believe that the development of ethical gamification skills and practices is vital for the future of business and society. Copyright David Wortley www.gaitss.net May 2014