Top Gamification Guru: A 1-year anniversary achievement
(New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis)
Even though I have been working on Gamification companies and projects since 2003, I only became more public with my Gamification knowledge August of 2012. Before that, I was too busy running RewardMe (another Gamification related startup) to write about this passion of mine. After I stepped down as CEO of RewardMe, I finally was able to start researching and writing more about Gamification. I was really on a mission to help the world create better Gamification design, as self-proclaimed gamification experts constantly just throw PBLs (points, badges, Leaderboards) or other game mechanics on solutions without any deep game design process. As a person who is deeply passionate about Gamification, I wanted the world to give it a fair chance. I’m almost frightened that the industry will take a look at Gamification, try some badges, decide that there is no ROI, and then move on to the next shiny item. I wanted more awesome examples that move large business core metrics by double or even triple digits, whether they’re created by me or not.
The complete gamification framework: Octalysis
As a result, I started organizing and restudying all the things I’ve learned in the past 10 years to formulate the complete gamification framework – Octalysis. I published the Octalysis framework towards the end of 2012, and it really took off, getting thousands of Retweets and Likes. It was also translated into over 7 languages and a big traffic driver for many reposters. Afterwards, a great amount of consulting/speaking opportunities showed up. I started working with cool companies like eBay, Gini in Germany, the Christian Non-Profit Superbook, mobile apps such as Pregnancy Companion, BeLike, and many many more to help them implement better Human-Focused Design that motivates people through the 8 Core Drives. I also got invited to do gamification talks and workshops around the world: Denmark, Australia, India, Germany, England, and of course, a variety of states in the US (my travels are documented in my video series: The Beginner’s Guide to Gamification). All this is very exciting, especially since I just got married to an amazing wife and being able to comfortably support a family (based on what I love doing!) is always a good thing. After a year of hard work through writing, consulting, and speaking, I’m excited and humbled to be Rated 1st Place among the Top 40 Gamification Gurus in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. Number 1 in the World? Wow, that’s unfathomable! Or as Megamind says it, “That’s without fathom!”
The craft of Gamfication
Of course, being first place on the gamification chart is mostly just an ego booster than a final accomplishment (and as the cliche but true saying goes, I couldn’t have done it without all of you guys being awesome readers, promoters, and appliers of my work). My work in this field has just begun! The way I like to put it: I have finally crafted a boat that can leave the dock and sail off to sea; and now I face the vast ocean ahead of me. There are so many things to learn and apply in gamification. I’ve said many times that gamification is not really a word I like (I prefer Human-Focused Design), but since the gaming industry was the first to master Human-Focused Design, we are now learning from games – hence “Gamification.” But gamification is not one field. It’s a combination of many (much like the study of Human Complex Systems). To continue to level up in gamification, one needs to master a combination of game design, game dynamics, behavioral psychology, macroeconomics/currencies, user experience/interface, technology, brain/happiness biochemistry (such as Dopamine and endorphins), and metric-based business systems for driving ROI. There’s so much to do, so much to learn, and so much to experience, that the gamification industry is just at it’s nascent stages – and all of that is fascinating. Of course, at one point when you are considered the “expert,” people expect you to know a bunch of stuff that others are doing. One of the hardest things to master as a “gamification expert,” is to correctly pronounce (and spell…I admit, I had to check Google for this one) the name Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, creator of the Flow Theory. Of course, everyone also expects you to know what every gamification platform (and game) is doing. “What do you think about this latest Bunch Ball feature?” “What do you think about Badgeville’s new press release?” Honestly, I’d rather go deep and study more games, psychology, and good design. But people expect me to be on top of what all these platforms are doing, so I make an effort to do that, even though new platforms and examples are popping up left and right by the dozens every week (a great sign by the way). There’s just a lot of things to learn and pick up, and I’m still at the beginning of the journey (along with the entire gamification industry).
The exciting potentials of Gamification
The most exciting potential of gamification, is that it can become the killer application for Big Data. Right now, everyone’s focused on Big Data – collecting trillions and trillions of data points in order to be able to analyze things when needed. The problem is, besides a few brilliant companies, no one actually knows what to do with that big data. They can call out reports when they want, but at the end, it becomes info-porn: fun to watch, but gets you nowhere. There is where gamification comes in. Gamification is all about utilizing big data to cater the experience to each user, making it unique and enjoyable for each person. In a game, everything is tracked – which character you choose, which stage you are on, what abilities you have learned, what items do you have, what level you are, etc etc. and based on all that tracked data, it provides you a different experience in real-time that makes things more enjoyable. Imagine if we could do that with EVERYTHING we do, where a unique and fun experience is customized for us based on big data (or what we have already done through meaningful choices). This will MASSIVELY increase engagement and retention to any application or experience out there. And whoever figures that out first will become the new Amazon (who was the first to realize and figure out the disruptive power of the internet towards traditional businesses) in a brand new era of motivation and engagement. Last, but not least: it’s nice to be First.