Level II Octalysis for Team Managers

Written by Yu-kai Chou with the help of Erik van Mechelen.

Now You’re a Manager

When Erik was selected to manage a four-person intern team at Target in 2012 after less than two years with the company, he was really excited for the challenge. He wasn’t sure if his manager knew it then, but at that moment early in his Target career he was motivated by Core Drives 2: Development & Accomplishment, Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback, and Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity, so the unexpected responsibility of guiding four potential hires through a 10-week project aligned with his motivational wiring.

From the start, he planned to make the internship experience great. He’d been an intern and had ideas about how to improve various stages of the 10-week process. While there were some protocols to follow, he nevertheless intended to add his own creative approach on top. He was eager for his first management experience and wanted his intern team to impress people and deliver results.

Continue reading Level II Octalysis for Team Managers

Repost: “What is the California Roll in my Experience Design?”

Hook Model

Insightful post from Nir Eyal

I’ve often been asked about what I think about Nir Eyal’s work. Most people don’t realize we are good friends (he even gave me a front cover endorsement quote for my book), but regardless of that I think his work on the Hooked Model is extremely actionable and insightful. I’m also planning to write a post in the future on how to analyze his Hook Model through the Octalysis Framework, which is quite exciting.

Below I’m sharing a great post I read on his site, originally titled “People Don’t Want Something Truly New, They Want the Familiar Done Differently.”

The post is about how Americans were very uncomfortable with Japanese food and sushi in the early days until they could start off with the familiar ingredients of the California Roll. This is in line with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory, where if you make the difficulty curve too high at the beginning, it creates anxiety and users drop off.

Flow Theory

Incidentally, this corresponds to Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness, as we only like things we can relate to. In fact, all jokes and media are a balance between that Core Drive and Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity – the balance between what we can relate to and a new surprise that creates curiosity or delight.

I think this is very important for any behavioral designing creating any new experience. Enjoy!

In Nir Eyal’s Words:

I’ll admit, the bento box is an unlikely place to learn an important business lesson. But consider the California Roll — understanding the impact of this icon of Japanese dining can make all the difference between the success or failure of your product.

If you’ve ever felt the frustration of customers not biting, then you can sympathize with Japanese restaurant owners in America during the 1970s. Sushi consumption was all but non-existent. By all accounts, Americans were scared of the stuff. Eating raw fish was an aberration and to most, tofu and seaweed were punch lines, not food.

Then came the California Roll. While the origin of the famous maki is still contested, its impact is undeniable. The California Roll was made in the USA by combining familiar ingredients in a new way. Rice, avocado, cucumber, sesame seeds, and crab meat — the only ingredient unfamiliar to the average American palate was the barely visible sliver of nori seaweed holding it all together.

Familiar Done Differently

The California Roll provided a gateway to discover Japanese cuisine and demand exploded. Over the next few decades sushi restaurants, which were once confined to large coastal cities and almost exclusively served Japanese clientele, suddenly went mainstream. Today, sushi is served in small rural towns, airports, strip malls, and stocked in the deli section of local supermarkets. Americans now consume $2.25 billion of sushi annually.

California Roll

The lesson of the California Roll is simple —people don’t want something truly new, they want the familiar done differently. Interestingly, this lesson applies just as much to the spread of innovation as it does to tastes in food.

For example, the graphical user interface, a milestone in the popularization of the personal computer, used familiar visual metaphors like folders, notepads, windows, and trash cans to appeal to mainstream users terrified by the command-line interface (perhaps even more than the thought of eating raw fish). The computer underneath was the same, however the familiar veneer suddenly made it accessible.

Apple's skeuomorphic design was the California Roll of the personal computer. "Apple Macintosh Desktop" by unknown. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Quaint but unnecessary representations of the familiar became a hallmark of Apple products. As Claire Evans wrote for Motherboard, “While under the direction of the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s design aesthetic tended heavily towards the skeuomorphic. The Apple desktop calendar, famously, is rendered with accents of rich Corinthian leather; its bookshelves gleam with wood veneers, its chrome always brushed, its pages stitched and torn, its tabletop felt green.”

Now that Apple serves a generation familiar with how its products work, it can shepherd them from California Rolls to sashimi, so to speak. “We understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass,” explained Apple’s Jony Ive. “They didn’t need physical buttons, they understood the benefits.” Continue reading Repost: “What is the California Roll in my Experience Design?”

When to use Extrinsic Rewards to Motivate People

Extrinsic Rewards

The Advantages of Extrinsic Motivation Design

(Below is a snippet of Gamification Book: Actionable Gamification – Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. If you like this blog post, you will LOVE the book.)

Obviously designing for Extrinsic Motivation is not all negative. Besides enhancing a person’s focus on completing monotonous routine tasks, it also generates initial interest and desire for the activity.

Often, without there being extrinsic motivation during the Discovery Phase (before people first try out the experience), people do not find a compelling reason to engage with the experience in the first place. Promoting, “You will get a $100 gift card if you sign-up,” usually sounds more appealing than “You will utilize your creativity and be in a fun state of unpredictability with your friends!” (Though both actually utilize Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience.)

When people consider themselves “too busy,” they won’t justify spending time to try out your experience. But when you offer them an extrinsic reward to try out the experience, they will at least test it out, assuming of course that the reward is not an insult to the value of the user’s time investment.

Rewarding users $2 for trying a new search engine for an entire month is pretty weak, while paying people $3 to spend weeks going to stores, taking pictures, and sharing them with their friends is also a path to failure. It is better to not give them a reward at all!

And of course, as we have seen earlier, if people continuously justify doing something for high extrinsic rewards, their intrinsic motivation dwindles as the Overjustification Effect settles in.

Therefore, as Michael Wu of Lithium points out, it is better to attract people into an experience using Extrinsic Rewards (gift cards, money, merchandise, discounts), then transition their interest through Intrinsic Rewards (recognition, status, access), and finally use Intrinsic Motivation to ensure their long term engagement. Through this process, users will start to enjoy the activity so much that they will focus on relishing the experience itself without thinking about what can be gained from the experience.

How I motivated my readers to vote for my gamification talk in SxSW

Gamification at SXSW

If you are reading this blog, you’ve most likely noticed the bright coral hello bar at the very top (and yes I know…it’s fat and humungous. How else can I get your attention?). Instead of just expecting my readers to just sign up and vote, I thought I would write a post to talk about how I decided on the messaging.

Many of you are probably familiar with South by Southwest. Some of you may have heard about it, or watched video clips from previous years. Others of you may have actually gone there before. And there may be those of you who have never heard of it, or are unclear about what it is.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is a major yearly event in Austin Texas that is composed of different festivals representing the best of the digital interactive world, music and film. It started back in 1987 and has continued to grow in its popularity.

Gamification – SXSW 2014

For SXSW 2014 (which will be held next spring) I’ve decided to enter the running to be a speaker on Gamification and Octalysis. But to earn this privilege, I will need your votes.

If you’re on my site, you probably have the understanding that gamification lies beyond trends, fads and gimmicks. You’ve heard me mention over and over on how it is Human-Focused Design (instead of function-focused design) that can really motivate people towards tedious tasks and make them fun.

Having this perspective voiced at SXSW would surely inspire the creation of more meaningful and socially uplifting experiences through the power of thoughtful game design. Here are two panel picker pages that I have created so far.

Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges & Leaderboards (writing a book on this topic) http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/20636 

How Gamification Can Bring Back Desires to Learn http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/20765

On a personal level, your vote would be a huge favor to me that I intend to honor.

Game Design Decisions behind the HelloBar Ask

So, as I was designing the hello bar at the top, I thought about which core drives would be most applicable to those who might vote for me. Not to be didactic, but as you may know by now, I’m here to teach about human-focused design and the 8 Core Drives, so it’s appropriate for me to discuss my thinking behind things.

I was thinking about what type of message would be best for my audience in the short sentence on the Hello Bar (very limited spacing), especially for a pretty annoying action of signing up to a new site (it redirects you to somewhere else!) and then voting.

I thought about Epic Meaning & Calling, where people who are passionate about Gamification (and doing it better through Octalysis) might want the world to know more about it, so possibly a “Help GOOD gamification spread by voting for me!” message may work. But still, most people aren’t as passionate about “spreading good gamification” as I am, even if they love coming to my site and learning from it (I’m seeing many people who have visited my site HUNDREDS of times…yea that’s right, weirdo).

I thought about a small combo of the Thank-You Economy from Core Drive #5, and a combination of Core Drive #4 and #2, saying something like, “If you can think of 2 useful things you have learned from my site, it would be great if you can vote for me.” Since it should be relatively easy for people to think that they learned 2 useful things on my site (note: studies have shown that if you say, “Can you think of 10?” people will give up after 4-5 and then have a NEGATIVE opinion of you or your brand just because they couldn’t complete the challenge), they self-qualify and may have a higher tendency to vote (they also feel ownership over their acquired knowledge). But that’s still like a “Hey, you need to pay me back” kind of feel, which I don’t like.

Social Influence & Relatedness (#5)

At the end, I went all in with Core Drive #5 with Social Influence & Relatedness, making this message very personal and from my heart. Even though by trade I’m a professional in motivational design (but still an early student in this nascent field!), I sincerely feel blessed to have such loyal readers and followers who regularly post their feedback and show their enthusiasm. 

For my quick HelloBar message, I use my own personal voice and directly ask for a vote to help ME. I make it very clear that this is a BIG favor to me and that I will appreciate it a lot if you do help out. I reiterate that value by saying “I owe you one” at the very end when space is very tight.

This feels different than saying, “You learned from me before, now you need to return the favor.” This is more like, “Please help me, and I will owe YOU one.” The feeling of “I’m awesome. I’m a nice person, and now Yu-kai Chou owes me a favor.” is much better and motivating. In fact, I’ve received a few emails from people I don’t know saying, “Hello Yu-kai. I voted for you today. I need some advice about gamification and was wondering if we could talk for 30 minutes about it.”

Even though these “free time commitment” emails I’m usually a bit slow on responding (despite truly wanting to help), I immediately responded to all the people who said they voted for me and gave them all the support I can.

I think that getting people to feel really comfortable reaching out to me for a favor return is actually a good result – it breaks the comfort zone barrier of talking to me because now people feel like they have EARNED the right to do so, and so they want to claim the REWARD they deserved, instead of thinking, “Hmm, he’s probably really busy so I don’t want to bother him.”

This helps tremendously towards making my site more social (and helping me build more meaningful relationships with my community).

Continue reading How I motivated my readers to vote for my gamification talk in SxSW