So what I’m going to talk to you about today is gamification; what it is, and what its based on. And how, using lessons from games, we can use sensor technology to make people happier, healthier, more filled with joy, and more productive!
What is gamification?What is a game?Why do they appeal to us (positive psychology)How do we already use it?Then I want to talk about why gamification of life is not yet effectiveThe last part is the key piece of the puzzle to making gamification effective- I want to talk about how new technology can take gamification out of the world of getting us to plow fake farms in facebook, and into influencing our in-the-flesh daily lives in a positive manner
The basic concept of gamification is quite simple- its applying traditional game mechanics- such as badges, levels, status bars, achievements, quests, goals… to things that are NOT gamesWhy is it a big buzzword right now? -want things to be addictive; want people to do “work” for fun-turn to our products as often as farmville or angry birds, -take the secret sauce of “games” to other fieldsFor technology and application makers, we would want to use these techniques to make the informationand services on them as essential as carrying a cell phone and as addictive over time as World of Warcraft. But even further, we could use information from our patch with gamified elements to make things like getting a good night’s rest, exercising, and taking medications on time as addictive and exciting as harvesting their Farmville crops
One definition that sums it up pretty well is that a game is something with the following 4 elements (thank to Jane McGonigal and her book Reality is Broken!)To give an example, has everyone here played tetris? Or more importantly, not been able to STOP playing tetris?Goal: sense of purpose; it’s the motivation; the objective you work towards; in tetris, its surviving and accumulating points as long as you canRules: provoke Creativity, strategy- almost counter-intuitively, rules make things FUN (in tetris, constraints on moving the blocks, how rows are eliminated)Feedback: promises that goals are achievable, provides motivation to keep trying; numeric score, visual of disappearing rows, increasing difficultyVoluntary participation: most visible in multiplayer games; it establishes a common ground and trust in each other, ensures safe, pleasurable experienceNoticeably not there? Story, winning (tetris)
Why are games addictive? What do they give us that we crave? Its not what you think! we don’t want winning or prizes- The answer is that we crave hard work and challenges- we want obstacles and feedbackRaise of hands here: Who likes unnecessary work? Our instinctual reaction is NO- not MORE work!But another very effective definition of a game is:“Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”Think of a golf course- if you went to one, someone said you have to get a ball in each of 18 holes; the expected lazy human reaction is to walk up and drop it in the hole. But for some reason, we enjoy it more if we introduce all these ridiculous obstacles- NO, you have to stand far away! And now there’s an alligator pond! And you have to hit it with a stick! In fact, successful game developers try to create a thing called “flow”, which keeps gamers constantly at the very edge of their abilitiesin fact, when you have good flow in a game (working at the limits of your ability), you’re completely engaged. Both quitting AND winning are equally unsatisfying; you’re in a euphoric state of engagementThis is what gaming is about- there’s challenges, learning, exploration that is pursued with creativity, vigor, and enthusiasm until our abilities or the game is exhausted. Of course, this applies well to a boss battle in Halo, but we rarely take this same view towards “real world” situations- I don’t think we would be happy when it gets increasingly difficult to lose weight or find a parking space at the mall, for example. So there’s obviously an inherent difference between these types of challenges and the feelings they provoke. Our mission for lunch today? Hunt out the differences between being challenged by games an being challenged by reality, and try to bridge the gap between the euphoria of games and the resentment and despair we see towards real-life challenges. Because if we can do that, we can make people pursue things like healthy eating habits and energy conservation with the same intensity as chasing a level 93 mage across the plains of Azeroth!!
Our first investigatory stop is going to be a look into the psychology of games.Psychology traditionally wasn’t really into studying what makes us happy; its more about making us less desperately miserable. But we’re in luck! Recent years have seen the rise of positive psychology: the study of what makes us thrive and flourish- and happens to tie in very closely to what games give us. Positive Emotion: engagement, optimistic *in games, people are optimistic they can do anything, and resilient in the face of failureRelationships: Many social games make great excuses to build relationshipsMeaning: Flip a burger or save an Elven Princess?Accomplishment: The constant feedback in games gives you a sense of accomplishment- part of the reason you feel so resilient to failure
So achieving, challenges, and optimism lead to a fantastic cocktail of brain chemicals- which is why gamification is becoming a buzz word- everyone wants their product to get people blissfully addicted! So where is it used most now?Well, mostly its getting us to do more of things that its questionable we should even be doing in the first place…-foursquare, customer loyalty programs, check-ins with rankings, rewards-awesome, because it often rewards something we want to do anyway- (wait, if I buy TWO candy bars instead of THREE candy bars, I get a free gold star?!?!?! SIGN ME UP!) Fantastic! No wonder this is addictive!
So we have an effective way to get us to sit on the couch and buy things more- but we have a higher calling! -we want to come up with systems to use gamification to promote health and positive behavior change(side note: in the book Switch they use an elephant-rider model- the “elephant” is the emotional, instant-gratification seeking impulse, and the “rider” is the higher intellect that has goals and thinks that carrots are GREAT. “gamifying” to make you do what the elephant wants (ie, credit card rewards) is low hanging fruit. The cool stuff is in empowering the rider!)Lets look at exercise first- can you think of some ways that exercise has been gamified?-Kinect, Wii fit, fit bit, Nike +….-but there’s a much more widespread example…
Oh yeah… we’ve actually been doing this for a while- Sports! They have rules, meaning, goals- and get people to improve strength, agility, and ability to survive
These have been applying game mechanics for a while: meaning, badges, levels, relationships, etcSo if we solved the problem centuries ago, WHY do we need more? If you look at forming healthy habits, just look at the US- 2/3 overweight or obese; we’re not doing so hot. The problem with sports and these programs is that they’re around, but they haven’t reached a level of pervasiveness or effectiveness that we want. Whatever the addictive game secret sauce is, these do NOT have it…Easy to make “fun” things “extra fun”; harder to make diet, exercise, flossing, chronic disease control, energy conservation…Now some might say this is impossible because game elements aren’t enough; the activity needs to be intrinsically “fun”. And most things that keep us healthy aren’t “fun”. And that’s why these programs are failing. But that’s not true at all! This is actually pretty easy to disprove…
Because games make us do all sorts of things: tedious, intense, difficult, almost impossible, using mental acuity, accuracy, time…. (I’ve sat for hours mastering a skill in fable clicking a button when a bar reached a certain point hundreds and hundreds of times…. And then have the tenacity to call FDA paperwork tedious- and in the game, I earn “virtual” money- vs real money at Proteus!)-And not just tedious things: there are intense brainteasers, challenging levels that can take hundreds of tries, etc- its not even that games offer constant successes to make up for the challenge or tedium- gamers actually spend about 80% of their time failing… it is hard work!So I can tell you right now- flossing is more fun than the action in this game! But flossing is not surrounded with the feedback, game mechanics, and virtual rewards that this task wasAt this point, you might still be saying, “this sounds kind of like hippy talk- can this really get people to do things that aren’t fun?”Can someone think of an example of gamification driving un-fun responsible, healthy behavior already?On your list of fun things to do, how many of you have “responsible, fuel-efficient driving”
Ex: meters on hybrids: people obsessively driving fuel efficiently so their little “leaf” turns extra green or whatever- No rewards, no badges, no tweeting if you’re especially responsible that day; but it is gamification- remember, feedback is one of the defining aspects of a game-highlights how the correct feedback loop (in this case instant feedback) can hyper-effectively alter people’s behavior- and make something “boring” into something “fun”
And now we’re hitting upon the magic. To recap a little, the problem we have is that game challenges can make us euphoric, but “life” challenges don’t have the same appeal! The attempts we’ve made to “gamify” life challenges don’t have the traction or success that we’re looking forBut the leaf example shows that the problem is not in the activity- its in how they’re gamified. The pure feedback of the leaf monitor is an effective motivator for behavior change. In fact, studies have been done that show that just the act of logging your calorie consumption and having that direct feedback can incite positive behavior change. The problem is that most current behavior change systems rely on just that- self-reporting- which is almost impossible to sustain over time. Its HARD. Takes a lot of motivation. Self reporting is tedious, hard, takes the magic and accomplishment out of thingsWe need something more like the Leaf. Something that displays feedback without effort on our partThis wonderful thing happens when we combine new sensor technology with established game mechanics- we can recapture the virtual excitement of the physical world!
This is where sensorsfits in! I’m going to give an overview of a few of my favorite new sensors and what they can track… (pictures above!)With an appropriate sensor network, we can capture the most important part of a game- instant, magical feedback.
Just the act of having well-displayed feedback on our progress in life is very effective- however, we can go even further to make an even bigger impact on behavior change. With a large amount of data on how we are living our life, we can build a more engaging platform to leverage that information with even more gamification elements. Here’s a screenshot of GreenGoose’ssystem- in addition to displaying what you’ve done, it adds in goal-setting, point, levels and achievements.Even more powerful is the opportunity to tap into social networks- adding both cooperative and competitive social elements like “helping out” someone who isn’t feeling well by working out extra and giving some “exercise” points to them. It fosters a community where people can support or trash-talk each other, and further engage in both the hardware and the software.The goal of all of this is to motivate people to approach day to day challenges in life like they approach them in games- with excitement and optimism, with engagement, and without fear of failure, and most importantly, with resilience and continued tries in the face of failure.Instead of clicking a button to earn mastery of woodcutting, you can floss twice a day and earn mastery of dental hygiene- which comes with even greater inherent bonuses (and money savings!)
BJ Fogg is a Stanford professor who does a lot of work on this type of thingsSomeone will do something when correct motivation, ease, and trigger coincideThis is true for habits, from eating healthy to getting people to get in the habit of using your applicationEx: (have 2 or 3)-a trigger on left side of curve won’t happen; a trigger on the right side will -Facebook: trigger MASTERS-ex: rating a restaurant: if you have to write in to a newspaper, navigate a complex website, no -Ability: app that knows where you are, prompts you to review; just have to click a star amount -Motivation: offer deal if they complete a review -recycling: if there is a receptacle nearby, you’ll do it even if you care less
Gamification, Technology, and Feedback
Gamification<br />And how technology paired with gamification principles can save the world<br />
Outline<br />What is gamification?<br />What is a game?<br />Why do games make us happy?<br />Where are we already gamifying?<br />Why is it not working yet?<br />How new technology will change the game!<br />
Gamification<br /> Applying game mechanics to things that are not games<br />
What is a game? <br />-Goal<br />-Rules<br />-Feedback<br />-Voluntary Participation<br />