Time Well Spent, Classcraft, and Blizzard: Gamification Examples

Based on the framework by Yu-kai Chou. Written by Erik van Mechelen. Feedback from Octalysis Prime community members. 

Every day in Octalysis Prime, I share a game or gamification example that has captured my attention or persuaded me to do something, whether to simply spend a few seconds longer of attention or to click something or to later mention what I saw or experienced to a friend.

This list is the just a few from last week, with a touch more in detail explanations from the Octalysis design perspective.

Continue reading Time Well Spent, Classcraft, and Blizzard: Gamification Examples

Readalong: Reality is Broken, Ch 11 – The Engagement Economy

This continues the Readalong by Erik van Mechelen of Jane McGonigal’s ‘Reality is Broken’ with insights from Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis framework. For in-depth discussions of this book and others, join Octalysis Prime.

tl;dr More people than ever are online; how can we get some of their participation bandwidth into large-scale projects for good?

Summary

McGonigal makes the case that if we divert attention to large-scale projects like Wikipedia, Investigate your MP’s Expenses, FoldIt, and Free Rice, essentially projects for large-scale or global good for an extended period of time (through long-term design), we can collectively make the world a better place.

Analysis

McGonigal correctly finds potential in success stories like Wikipedia, Investigate your MP’s Expenses, FoldIt, and Free Rice for political activism, scientific problem solving, and fundraising.

She draws attention to the problem of attention. How can we convince people to play a little less World of Warcraft or a little less time on Facebook (both autotelic activities) and a bit more of their participation bandwidth on these crowd-sourced efforts?

Two comments. The first is about Facebook. In 2011, when this book was published, Facebook wasn’t as powerful as it is today. Its algorithms are stronger and more convincing, perhaps more addictive. I’d argue that Facebook is still autotelic. In my personal case, my Facebook feed doesn’t offer that much world-changing interest. Facebook’s advertising system is a lot stronger now, so my feed includes ads I didn’t ask for 🙂

If spending time on Facebook is an increasing waste of time, this actually may work to the benefit of projects competing for “brain cycles and heartshare” and “better or more competitive engagement.”

Even so, there are better distractions online than ever before. In my view, movements toward a more altruistic and productive and well-being approach (like timewellspent.io) represent the future I want to live in.

What do you think?

What crowd-sourced online initiatives have you participated in this year?

Let me know in the comments or on Octalysis Prime‘s community (paywall).

Readalong: Reality is Broken, Ch 10 – Happiness Hacking

This continues the Readalong by Erik van Mechelen of Jane McGonigal’s ‘Reality is Broken’ with insights from Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis framework. For in-depth discussions of this book and others, join Octalysis Prime.

tl;dr Use games in physical places to form habits. 

Summary

This chapter is about how alternate realities can help us adopt the daily habits of the world’s happiest people. McGonigal provides explanations of 3 games she helped design.

She also relays the trouble of thinking about positive psychology as ‘self-help’, and poses strategies to overcoming this cynical psychological barrier and actually implementing gameful design in our lives.

Analysis

In describing Cruel 2 Be Kind (a game about using random acts of kindness to eliminate opponents and inspire ‘victims’ in crowds), and Tombstone Hold’em (a real-life spatial poker game played in cemeteries requiring creative movement, and Top Secret Dance Off (a formal creative dance competition on a YouTube-esque online site), McGonigal stresses the concept of sneaking up on happiness. She draws this from John Stuart Mill’s observation that when approaching happiness directly, it is often elusive.

In succession, the games mentioned above provide a “dopamine hit” (when others smile first), a grateful physiological state known as “posttraumatic bliss” in appreciating the present moment, and euphoria through dance and movement.

Creating habits is easy, but breaking habits isn’t. The trick, then, to creating new habits, is in part about reducing the number of bad habits so as to create space for new ones.

Ultimately, these games are ways to actually practice good advice (being kind to others, reflecting on death/mortality, and moving to music.

More interestingly, none of these require an app.

What do you think?

What games have you played in real life without technology?

Let me know in the comments or on Octalysis Prime‘s community (paywall).

How Loss and Avoidance Could Sink Your Company

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

How Loss and Avoidance Could Sink Your Company

It is hard to eliminate Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance from your company culture, but it should not be the main driver of decision-making.

Wells Fargo’s quota system gone wrong

Wells Fargo has been in the news for the wrong reasons. 3.5 million accounts were found to have been created fraudulently by employees. The company settled a law suit for 9-figures.

It turns out these accounts were created by employees hoping either to retain their jobs based on required quotas or to achieve better bonuses. (The company has since removed sales quotas.)

From the employees’ perspective, making the choice to do the right thing often meant they were worsening their personal financial situation (risking their job financial compensation).

There are risks in addition to benefits of implementing competition in the workplace.

From Actionable Gamification:

Adding competition-driven stress to the daily challenges that employees face can often increase the probability of burnout and skewed performance. Employees may become more motivated to make each other fail and even look for new opportunities elsewhere. In my own experiences, when people around me constantly talk about quitting their jobs, more often than not it is because of dysfunctional people dynamics between their bosses and/or coworkers, and not because the tasks themselves are too difficult.

Continue reading How Loss and Avoidance Could Sink Your Company

Readalong: Reality is Broken, Ch 9 – Fun with Strangers

This continues the Readalong by Erik van Mechelen of Jane McGonigal’s ‘Reality is Broken’ with insights from Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis framework. For in-depth discussions of this book and others, join Octalysis Prime.

tl;dr Use collaboration, creation, and contribution to create alternate reality games to create new real-world communities.

Summary

McGonigal explores how alternate reality games can create new real-world communities by looking into Comfort of Strangers (helping people learn how to offer and receive comfort), Ghosts of Chance (a game to reinvent membership), and Bounce (a game to bridge the generation gap between people).

Analysis

The most interesting part of this chapter for me are the consistent drives inherent to making each of these games work.

Comfort of Strangers works primarily through Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity, because you don’t know who is a lover or a dancer (good or bad guy) in the game.

Ghosts of Chance works through building intrigue around a cause (helping a museum gain membership), through Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling.

Finally, Bounce uses Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness to connect people of differing ages.

I really like McGonigal’s attention to overriding themes in each of these games, primarily collaboration, creation, and contribution. She wants to help people imagine how behavior design can impact our real world spaces and interactions and relationships.

What do you think?

Which real-world communities could benefit from additional intrinsic motivational design?

Let me know in the comments or on Octalysis Prime‘s community (paywall).