How to Design Games to Make Yourself More Social

This article was written by Erik van Mechelen based on a conversation between Octalysis Prime member Russell Lee and Yu-kai Chou about how to design personal games for the practice of being more social. 

Developing a Practice of Being More Social

In our most recent Octalysis Prime Brief (a place to chat for Octalysis Prime members once every two weeks), member Russell Lee asked about how to use gamification principles to be more social.

Even though he waited until the last 5 minutes of the one-hour session to ask the question, Yu-kai had a great conversation with him. It’s something we might all learn from, especially those of us a bit shy or lazy or fearful in social settings.

This post aims to capture those ideas and principles.

Get over the fear of engaging in conversations with strangers

Let’s imagine you wanted to get over the fear of engaging in conversations with strangers. This would help you

  • network at business events,
  • talk to new people at parties, and
  • make the most of chance encounters with people in grocery stores or people you see in a 30-second elevator ride.

Remember, it’s natural to feel some fear.

In Actionable GamificationYu-kai shared (audiobook) that is his experience moving back to Taiwan at a young age (from South Africa) meant he was behind his peers in learning Chinese. This put him at a disadvantage socially, too.

Later, though, he was voted into and took on the role of chess club president and elevated his confidence. You could have a similar transformation.

If you want the above goal, consider the game of getting over your fear of these conversations as your game or business metrics (in the language of the Octalysis Strategy dashboard).

To begin, let’s take the example of a business networking event.

Your desired action could simply be to get people to talk to you. Count every sentence spoken (by the other person) as the desired action. To continue the exchange, reward the person with whom you’re speaking with a compliment.

This feeling of being listened to is a reward and sometimes triggers the next desired action: that person speaking another sentence and sharing a little more. Your response to their next statement, usually with a question or a “tell me more” prompt continues it further.

Strangely, the more someone says to you or shares with you, the more they will trust you. And trust is good for future conversation and relationships.

Do this as long as you can to continue the conversation. Your response to their next statement, usually with a question or comment, might trigger the next desired action.

Don’t worry too much if the conversation isn’t that interesting. You can always level up to a game where you will kindly leave conversations that aren’t interesting.

This is why it’s very important to define these desired actions. Start small and level up later.

As another example: in the case of talking to people at parties, you might create a bingo game of rejections (or short conversations) as a way to strive for more rejections. More rejections mean you will complete your bingo game give you more practice in engaging with people in this setting (the business metric). And by “failing” through rejection, you can still feel great about the practice and completion of your game.

You could have zero good conversations at a party but gain incredible practice.

Some tips to make conversation:

  1. have confidence
  2. radiate enthusiasm and energy (genuinely)
  3. help others feel good (CD5)

From a content perspective:

  1. Add relevant comments to show you are listening (“this part of what you said was interesting, tell me more about that”)
  2. Give relatable feedback (“my friend had the same thing happen, that’s amazing you made it through that difficult time”)
  3. Ask follow-up questions (“how’d you accomplish that?”)

Be brief. When you ask a question, let the other person respond 🙂

This should get you thinking.

Reply to this email (or on the Octalysis Explorers Facebook group) to share what social settings are challenging you. What game could you create to improve your interactions?

Top College Degrees that will Help you Get a Career in Gamification

This article is written by Erik van Mechelen, based on the Octalysis gamification framework developed by Yu-kai Chou.

Choosing a college degree to learn gamification

Approaching university and trying to figure out what courses, or better yet, what degrees to spend your valuable time and money achieving? In this article, we’ll try to dig deeper into what areas in your university system may be a good place to visit and stay awhile.

Remember, degrees aren’t necessarily synonymous with skills. Throughout college, I did side projects to follow my curiosity and learn new skills.

As is becoming more and more the case (hasn’t it always been the case?), employers or heads of teams or startups want to know if you can do the job or not, and if you have the ability to continue growing and learning within the role.

My guess is this holds true for gamification roles, too.

Now, let’s quickly jump over a mental hurdle you may be experiencing. On the surface, gamification-specific jobs might seem rare. If you search major job sites you won’t see many job titles with gamification, but some descriptions are starting to include our favorite keyword.

Regardless of what you call it, we know human-focused design is part of many roles. In this article about roles gaining an edge from gamification knowledge, I discussed how product designers, UI/UX designers, and product managers use gamification to their advantage every day.

For this article, I’ll consider traditional university degrees that might best prepare you for roles where gamification knowledge gives you an edge.

Remember, getting a gamification job doesn’t require a degree, and your foot in the door may simply be the quality of your portfolio and hustle.

Continue reading Top College Degrees that will Help you Get a Career in Gamification

How Understanding Gamification Gives an Edge in Design and Product Roles

This article was written by Erik van Mechelen, based on the Octalysis Gamification framework designed by Yu-kai Chou. 

Getting an edge with gamification

Can you get a job in gamification?

At first glance, the pickings are slim. An Indeed job search for ‘gamification’ doesn’t return many results, but does include roles with gamification mentioned in the description, from VR software developers to instructional designers to sales specialists and customer care reps.

We do know there are jobs in gamification. (The Octalysis Group recently did a contest posted on their Octalysis Explorers Facebook page, with a contest to demonstrate gamification knowledge and potentially join The Octalysis Group.)

But it isn’t the only option.

From getting to know many people, and some people quite well, in the Octalysis Explorers and Octalysis Prime Mastermind group, I know there is a huge variety of people and professional roles that understand gamification knowledge (and understanding how to apply that knowledge in their roles) will give them an edge in their daily professional activities.

When considering gamification, the closest job postings might be for:

1. Product Designer
2. UX Designer
3. Product Manager

A thorough understanding of gamification could give you an edge in these roles.

Just like people used to say developers who knew AJAX got paid 15% higher than developers who don’t, gamification may become your edge to higher pay and better performance.

Continue reading How Understanding Gamification Gives an Edge in Design and Product Roles

A Protector Quest for Sleep: 9 Game Techniques for More Sleep in the Time You Have

This article about getting better sleep was written by Erik van Mechelen, based on the Octalysis framework by Yu-kai Chou.

“I don’t need sleep.” (Starting a grand Protector Quest of your sleep)

Well, you do (I’m assuming you are a homo sapien.)

To do anything at a high level for sustainable periods, the human body will need sleep. And the mind will need rest.

Most of you understand this already, but want to get a little more value from the time you have allotted for sleep. You’re active, you’re busy, but you still like your sleep.

Overall, I like to think of going on a grand Protector Quest to protect my sleep. Strangely, I can feel the difference between a solid 8 and a solid 9 hours of sleep. I bet you can too. And I bet you’ll really feel the difference between a lousy 5 and a solid 7.

No matter your sleep goals (and dreams), let’s see if some Game Techniques based on the Octalysis framework and the 8 Core Drives can help.

Continue reading A Protector Quest for Sleep: 9 Game Techniques for More Sleep in the Time You Have

7 Ways to Get Started in Meditation (That Do and Don’t Use Gamification)

Using Gamification to Get People Into Meditation and Mindfulness

Making space for a meditation practice is as difficult as it is to make a space for anything in our lives. If something isn’t valued, it isn’t prioritized. There’s a LOT of word-of-mouth and marketing dollars behind spreading meditation practice.

There’s one interesting part about meditation that makes it similar to relationships and careers: there are no instant results.

In the case of meditation and mindfulness, rewards (if you get any at all) aren’t reaped until one goes further along in the practice.

The argument, then, could be to use gamification and human-focused design to build a habit of meditation and mindfulness so as to progress further along. If one doesn’t build the habit, then he can’t experience the benefits (this is if you are even seeking benefits to begin with–see #5 for an alternative approach to meditation practice).

There are many types of meditation practice, and this article will not go into each. It will simply be a brief commentary on some apps and resources I’ve found as I begin to explore.

I will lightly mention the Game Techniques and the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis.

Continue reading 7 Ways to Get Started in Meditation (That Do and Don’t Use Gamification)