The Business Case for Octalysis Commentary (Centrical/GamEffective)

Octalysis at Work

Applying the Gamification Framework to Real-world Business Challenges

A Commentary By Gal Rimon, Founder & CEO of Centrical (formerly GamEffective)

Earlier in my career, I was deeply involved in Business Intelligence (BI). It occurred to me that BI is really good at determining what an organization should do next but offered no insight into those who’d do the work, the employees. That realization drove me to form the company I lead today, Centrical. Its aim is to help enterprises help their employees get better at what they do and make it fun in the process. 

Given the fun element, it should not be surprising that advanced gamification is at the core of our technology platform which holistically blends it with personalized microlearning, and real-time performance management.

In the course of researching effective ways to apply game mechanics to a range of employee performance challenges, I came upon the work of Yu-kai Chou and, specifically, his gamification framework, Octalysis. I was struck by how it provided a problem-solution construct to identify the sort of game, or motivational device, needed to address a particular real-world business challenge.

The eight core drivers that make up the Octalysis are:

  1. Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling
  2. Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment
  3. Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback
  4. Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession
  5. Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness
  6. Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience
  7. Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity
  8. Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance

In the years since 2013, when the company was founded, we’ve developed gamification-centric solutions that touch on the core drives in the Octalysis framework for companies like Microsoft, Novartis, Synchrony Financial, and Unilever, among others. Here is a summary of that work and how it’s been applied to help our customers’ employees perform at their best.

Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling

Our first and most popular game mechanic is Narratives.

Our first and most popular game mechanic is narratives. They take the form of races, involving cars, boats and mountain climbing. Yes, in our game you can run up Mount Everest. A number of our customers operate contact centers where literally thousands of employees field queries from customers. It’s tough work. Often in the last hour of a shift employees are drained. The centers handling Microsoft’s Consumer Support Operations wanted their service agents to make or take just one more call. We implemented a narrative game that gave employees a reason to make the effort. More than boosting sales, research among these employees found, as a result of the game, they felt they were part of something greater than themselves, and, importantly, their work made a difference. That’s what the core drive Epic Meaning & Calling is about.

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment

This drive is associated with some tried-and-true game tools. Points, badges and leaderboards head that list. The old PBL’s will still work. But with a decidedly Millennial workforce, adjustments and additions are called for in today’s workplace. The leaderboards we create for customers are designed for maximum interactivity and filtering by each employee/user. Further, we leverage companies’ internal video networks and messaging platforms to showcase the leaderboard in a kind of overtly public manner to please top-performers and prompt others to greater levels. We also include a Kudos feature, a variation on what Yu-kai refers to as High Five.

The effect is the person getting the kudos feels a sense of accomplishment and recognition on top of Social Appreciation.

The leaderboards we create for customers are designed for maximum interactivity.

We’ve found that if we leave a gamification effort to PBLs only, engagement will drop; employees will stop looking at the boards because, more than losing interest, there’s no compelling reason to look. In this case, changing things up a bit, as simple as that may sound, makes a big difference in participation continuity.

Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback 

Even people who perform repetitive tasks will contend with creative problem solving, the very essence of this core drive. Interestingly, we’ve found many businesses need a number of ways to push this button in the hearts and minds of their employees. As it so happens, we offer game-driven features that relate directly to this core driver. Of note is our real-time feedback.

Boosters urge an employee to
keep up the good work or work
a bit harder – always in a
positive, motivational manner

When employees wonder how they’re doing, they want to know now. A retroactive assessment can actually be a demotivator and, consequently, create a manager-employee relationship problem. Millennials look to their managers as coaches, people who can help improve their skills. If their 1:1 sessions are about stuff in the faded past, coaching can’t happen; confrontation will. Along with that capability, we offer manager messaging, allowing communications with individual team members or the entire group; another way of offering feedback based on need or urgency. Our platform also allows personalized messages to be sent to employees on an automated basis. Consider getting a notification that includes a reminder of a due date but also a digital pat on the back for work done well thus far.

Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession 

Competitions recognize success with gold coins redeemable on virtual stores

I like to call this the pride of ownership drive. When we possess something, we strive to make it better. It’s like the teenager who is forever washing and polishing her/his new, albeit dilapidated, car. In a business context, it’s a little different. There the need to answer WIIFM is an imperative. Once answered, knowing what’s in it for me can be a powerful motivator. I see this as the drive that can truly serve to transform an employee. Once it becomes clear that it’s that employees stats, points, badges, whatever, s/he wants to keep it and will work hard to do so.

This core manifests itself as a competition on our platform that’s about gaining coins redeemable on virtual stores we operate on behalf of our customers. A multinational BPO that provides customer support services conducted just such a game among its many and diverse employees. Given the choice between tangible and intangible rewards – both of which could be delivered to their workstation in moments – these employees overwhelmingly opted for the ones that hold an intrinsic value. They selected accessories to add to their avatars which, not so incidentally, are seen on the company’s leaderboards. It wasn’t that the tangible rewards weren’t appealing. Employees wanted the sheer joy of feeling good about doing something well…or better than their peers…and leveling up.

Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness

Our platform allows personalized messages to be sent to employees on an automated basis

Peer pressure, in a business situation, if managed well can have a dramatic, positive impact on organizational performance. We recognize that in our platform’s ability to put in place challenges that are peer-to-peer or team-based. In addition, our Kudos feature comes into play here. It relates to this drive in that employees can give and get kudos. There’s the social pressure aspect along with friending and mentorship.

Kudos allow employees to give and receive recognition

Our Kudos includes categories like “You’re a great leader,” You’re Inspiring,” “Thanks for Your Help,” and “You’re Fun to Work With.” This allows employees to give and get kudos to coworkers and managers, and for managers to do the same. I should add, these kudos can include personalized notes. One of our clients used Kudos in this way to build a culture of cooperation as well as to identify the under-the-radar transformative employees, those receiving the most kudos. 

Peer-to-peer and team challenges only have one winner, so achieving stretch
goals in a short time comes with extra reward.

Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience

This core centers on the human desire to have something you can’t or don’t have. We leverage that by allocating a limited number of reward prizes in virtual stores. Beyond that, we use it in challenges where there can be only one winner. While that might seem contrary to the desire to improve performance overall or give the impression that everyone has a chance to win, there are work situations where a company really wants to find out who is the very best of the bunch. To add fire to this fury, these single winner challenges, crafted to fit within several segments to allow for more than one victor, are often done within very tight timeframes.

Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity

The ice hockey great Wayne Gretsky is known for saying, “You miss every shot you don’t take.” Those seven words brilliantly sum up why unpredictability is a core driver. We want to find out – whatever it happens to be. And, by extension, curiosity has us poking our noses into things that, maybe, we shouldn’t be. In a work environment, employees are often moved by finding out what’s happening next or what needs to be done next. Our platform lets notifications be issued to let employees understand what they should do next in their jobs or to get closer to earning a bonus. Akin to notifications, our system issues what we call Boosters. These are messages that either urge an employee to keep up the good work or work a bit harder – always in a positive, motivational manner.

Another feature we have is User Initiated Challenges. Basically, these are competitions created by individual employees. The wrinkle we’ve put in is making it necessary to “put some skin in the game,” to ante up and either bet on themselves, for individual challenges, or with their peers. To participate in such a challenge, you need to buy in. It makes the challenges far more compelling than if there is little at risk.

Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance

Missing a day of work is missing a day of
points

As kids we might have done our homework just to avoid a punishment from our parents. Employees often operate the same way. For example, the idea of being able to maintain a streak of some sort, perhaps accumulating points in a process, is a powerful motivator.

At retail, asking sales associates to do what you need them to do isn’t always easy. While they’re competitive, finding the path of least resistance to their bonuses spurs them. Our customer Cellular Sales, a Verizon premier retail partner with 7,000 sales associates, had a problem each time a new iPhone hit the market. Sales of everything but the new device plummeted. Not a good thing for an organization that cannot depend on an unpredictable parade of hit products to drive sales. They used our KPI balance feature with a mix of competitions to help raise new device sales 53% but, and this is important, also raise sales of accessory sales and insurance bundles similarly.

There you have it. Eight real-world examples of how the Octalysis Gamification Framework was applied to the business needs of some of the world’s best and biggest brands. For more information about Centrical, please visit www.centrical.com, email to info@centrical.com, or call +1-800 538 4263.

About Gal Rimon

Gal founded Centrical (previously GamEffective) in 2013, with the vision of helping companies empower their employees’ performance, making them the center of business success. Prior to that, he was CEO of Gilon-Synergy Business Insight, a national leader in Business Intelligence. In 2010, Gilon-Synergy was acquired for $ 20 million by Ness Technologies (NASDAQ:NSTC) and Gal went on to serve as Senior VP at Ness and was a member of its executive management. Prior to that, he was VP customer relations and operations at Deloitte Consulting. He also worked at EDS and Bashan. He holds an MBA degree in Marketing and Information Technologies from Tel Aviv University.

About Centrical (formerly GamEffective)

Centrical employee engagement and performance management solutions help companies motivate employees to exceed their own goals. It does this by blending advanced gamification with personalized microlearning and real-time employee performance management. Centrical’s platform produces improvements like +12% employee productivity, +20% average deal values, +30% faster onboarding, and +12% customer satisfaction KPIs for multinational.

Training the Stallion Mind to Unleash Creativity, Part 1 of 2

Here is a training video from Octalysis Prime about creativity and developing your Stallion Mind for those of you who want to let the wild horse inside you run free to make yourself even more creative.

Here is a partial excerpt from the video:

Today we’re going to explore a topic, I call the stallion mind. How we train that stallion mind is about unleashing creativity. Now, this all came about when I’m working with my team and I’m thinking about how do you become more creative. I’m seeing people come with ideas but I feel like well, they’re kind of just the same thing that we did last time. It’s not very creative. So I was wondering how to help people become more creative. What is the process actually prove that it is something you’re born with your you can actually improve it?

I believe, we’re always born with certain talents certain things right, just like we talked about in 10,000 Hours of Play you got the Talent Triangle, but then we also have the skill triangle. There are things that we can actively work on more so than others. I’m thinking about if creativity can be one of those things. In another sense, this is about unlocking Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback within us.

How Creativity Works

There’s another aspect because we know about creativity. I mentioned it is just how we connect pieces in the past, together with things were we already promised before like you know taking things that we absorb and rearranging the order and putting together in a way that no one has done before. No one has seen that order, potentially, but it actually kind of made sense. and so that blends two different skill sets that I call example recalling. An example recalling is the ability to think about example on the spot. And this has been a very, very very useful skill for me to work with my clients

I’ve always been super impressed with how amazing our subconscious brain is again, it can be. In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman calls you know the fast brain, System 1, and a slow brain, System 2, with the fast brain being more distinctive, but not precise, things like that.

So usually when I’m telling you the sentences like the sentence come out of my mouth in my head I’m not thinking about that sentence I’m not thinking about every word I was about to say, and then say it out. I already knew what I was going to say my fast brain already processes and I just have to execute on what my mind is thinking, sometimes when people ask me a question, I’ll immediately respond: Well, there’s three components to your questions and, or at least to the answers every components right and in my head I wasn’t thinking about with words like, Oh, well there’s, there’s this, and there’s this, and there’s this.

The Power of the Subconscious Brain

The subconscious brain is very very powerful and a lot of our creativity comes from there. And that’s why I kind of like to in this context call it stallion mind because it’s like a wild horse, running in the wild and running really fast and I think it’s the right type of mentality. And as you guys know I like to create fun names and maybe even cool names that have been attached to an abstract concept because I think things that have fun names make it more enjoyable to think about, play around and interact with.

So we got the stallion mind where things happen really quickly, maybe it’s not precise not mathematical but it things really quickly finds things in the past, and it really allows to be very creative, very quickly, as you know some people when they’re creative right, it’s like boom boom boom idea what to do, under five minutes you’re like oh so many ideas, and then some people are like, even maybe they’re very intelligent right but they’re like, what’s the new think outside the box, instead of the new idea what’s the new idea was nearly they’re really good at analyzing existing ideas, but they just are very good at come with a lot of random ideas.

People feel like that’s might be a personality trait. Some people are born creative their personality is creative and some people are just more logical analytical and my personal belief is, based on all the years I’ve been studying how the brain works behavioral science is that, again, we all have that stallion mind inside of us. But our logical brain suppresses it.

The Logical Brain Wants Control

The logical brain wants to be in control we want to understand what’s going on we want to know what we’re talking about. We want to know the logic we’re trained in school, to really focus on logic and execution not mindlessly exploring all these things

Okay, I’m just gonna stick to my conscious brain, the logical thing that the teachers put in front of me, and dealing with logical thinking I’m going to suppress the stallion mind.

This is my theory based on what I understand, at least I haven’t found any proven science that talks that complete system one system to data from there’s a lot of supporting surrounding stuff there’s enough, I haven’t seen any science that directly says this is the answer. But I think, because the implications of it can be really, really useful and helpful impact all right and if people are actually able to, let’s say, train the stallion and make the stallion better and therefore people are better at creativity and example recalling, I do want to share this in case you know this does end up these these for you because I know it’s been useful for me. And everyone’s different so how do we train the style and how do we let go and let it run.

How to be OP in an Interview (Part 2/2)

Confidence is respected. It’s important to demonstrate likeability and unique value.

In this article, we’ll continue the discussion.

What are they looking for?

Your preparation for this interview will likely involve understanding what the core aspect of the role is, and how you bring unique value.

But you also need to show how you can leverage your core strengths.

Maybe your core strength is communication, in particular in difficult situations.

Here’s how you might answer the following: Tell me about your strengths.

For example, when I was working at ABC company, I did XYZ and resolved the conflict with my coworkers in a way that preserved the relationship while also solving the issue.

How to talk about your weaknesses

Be wary of discussing perfectionism. Do you like working with perfectionists? (This will depend on the type of work.)

Generally, a question about weaknesses will not be an opportunity to score a lot of points with the interviewer.

Simply acknowledging a weakness and how you’re improving it should be fine.

Don’t be someone you’re not

When you’re asked a question, showcase examples from previous rules. Use language like “When I was in this situation…I did this.”

Remember to illustrate unique value.

Most companies aren’t hiring for someone who can simply do their job. This won’t make you stand out.

Ask questions

When it is your turn to ask questions, show that you’ve done your research.

A simple question might be: How is success measured in this role?

You might also ask about the company’s strategy based on your research.

What about culture? Asking about this shows you’re interested in the team and how life will look and feel. It shows you’re considering yourself in the role and trying to imagine how that would feel.

Say thank you (with a letter)

Within 24 hours of the interview, write a personalized letter or email to show appreciation and to make yourself memorable.

If you built relatedness, showed confidence and didn’t come across as desperate (you’re a scarce person!), then you have a great chance of making the interviewer interested in speaking with you further and giving you high marks on the interview.

How to be OP in an Interview (Part 1/2)

Increase your chances of getting the job you want through the Octalysis Framework and an understanding of the 8 Core Drives.

When you enter the building, the interview has begun. Everything from your interaction with the receptionist through to all personal interactions.

Confidence = EVERYTHING – 1

Someone is meeting you for the first time. You need to communicate how they should feel about you.

If you demonstrate a lack of confidence through what you say, how you say it, or your body language, you

No matter what your objective level is, with confidence overlaying it, you will come across as better.

Try going to the restroom and using some power poses. Spread out and let yourself breathe in the power.

Interacting with the Interviewer: Use the Mirror Technique

Mirroring lets you demonstrate value to your conversation partner. This shows that you are paying attention to their emotional approach and also have the ability to match it.

If the interviewer is strong or tough, you should stand up for yourself.

On the other side of this spectrum, a softer interviewer may not respond well toughness.

You have an opportunity to create Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness here.

Create Unique Value & Likeability

Most people would argue that creating unique value trumps likeability. But this may not be true.

It may be more important to be likable.

If you manage to create positive feelings with others in every interaction, that is a huge bonus. No one generally wants to work with people they can’t see themselves hanging out with.

Demonstrating your unique value is key.

Likeability could be the most important, but demonstrating unique value is critical too.

You aren’t just like everyone else. How are you different? How are you providing unique value? What is your signature?

Tell Me About Yourself

Don’t expect your interviewer to have done his homework.

Share a brief aspect of your history and why you’re there (to apply for a position at their company), and keep it short!

This allows the conversation to unfold after your elevator pitch.

See you in part 2!

How to Create an Overpowered Resume (Part 2/3)

Here’s part 2 of 3. To get part 3, join Octalysis Prime.

To review, here’s the last post, How to Create an Overpowered Resume, Part 1/3.

Share your Results (and How you did it)

How can you make your accomplishments resonate emotionally?

One way is to provide specificity.

I quickly resolved several hundred complaints in a high-stress environment using analytical skills and software with a 99% rating by customers I helped.

Here, your audience, the resume reviewer, can clearly see the results, and how you did it.

(This is stronger than simply sharing what your job is, and the results.)

The example above demonstrates difficulty, impact, scope, and suggests a certain skillset put to use to solve a problem.

Demonstrate your Behaviors

Sometimes a bullet point will take a highlight from an experience and illustrate how it is unique.

Most people I talk to have quite plain resumes. They aren’t so interesting to read. How can we fix this?

Can you focus on impact?

This is a good thought, but be careful.

Highlighting too lofty of impact can feel a little awkward if it isn’t supported by your other bullet points. However, it is a useful way to generate stories.

Okay, that wraps up what I think about specific bullet points.

How to Structure Your Resume

If you’re recently graduated, you may start with your education. After you’ve held a few jobs, you may move it down.

Adjust your structure based on relevance.

The first thing you put in your work experience should be the most impressive thing you’ve ever done.

If the recruiter or resume reviewer only reads the first bullet point, they should be immediately interested in speaking with you.

In situations where the reviewer is scanning dozens or even hundreds of resumes, this single bullet point will help you stand out and keep your potential employer intrigued enough to call you in for an in-person interview.

Good luck!

To get part 3 of this series, join Octalysis Prime.

How to Create an Overpowered (OP) Resume

I love helping friends and associates improve their resumes. Here’s how.

Your resume will be sent to prospective employers. Consider that:

  • It’s your first impression.
  • It needs to get you the meeting.

I’ve helped hundreds of people optimize. Some of who are making over $100k a year. I worked with one of these people for just a couple of hours to improve it immensely. He was embarrassed by how much better it portrayed him.

Goal: Make people want to know more about you.

It is supposed to be a brochure, not a manual.

Once you’re in the interview, the resume isn’t as important as your performance in the interview itself.

One page is better than two, but two is fine if you have a TON of notable experiences.

Focus on condensing to one page.

(If something isn’t a major value add, reduce it or remove it.)

10-15 seconds (to make an impression)

Remember your audience: Recruiters. Recruiters are busy. They are paging through and reviewing MANY resumes.

You are building an image of yourself in someone else’s head.

Think about these images, then craft it.

Ask yourself: What are the best 2-3 powerful aspects about you?

Make these very clear. For help, you might consider looking into the Skill Triangle, something I developed for Octalysis Prime.

10k Hours of Play, Skill Triangle

Diminishing marginal image

Keep in mind that as you add information about a given skill, each new piece of information adds less value.

The next bullet point suggesting you are good at marketing research may not resonate as well as the first and the second. Instead, round out the resume.

For example, Could you show how are you as a team player?

I’m looking forward to sharing a template with you as well in Part 2 of this series.

In each bullet, there are four possible areas to discuss

  • What it is
  • How you did it
  • Results
  • Impact

Usually, you can cover 2/4 of these in each bullet.

As most Octalysis Prime members know, simply listing your responsibility may not be putting your best foot forward.

octalysis - Gamification book Get Actionable Gamification

Remember, for example, that all other analysts will have similar job titles.

If your role is unique, be sure to highlight that, but don’t waste too much real estate on the ‘What it is’, and spend more time on the How, the Results, and the Impact.

Ins and Outs

Another way to approach is to consider the Ins and Outs.

What did you put In? Effort, approach, resources.

What came Out of it? Results, results, results.

Consider that low In but high Out demonstrates creativity in approaching a problem.

Formatting

Use past tense and stay consistent in your punctuation and grammar.

Good luck and we’ll see you in part 2!

Supercharging Employee Motivation

It has now become common knowledge that using Gamification in the workplace supercharges employee motivation significantly. We already shared some great ROIs from one of our award-winning applications earlier, here. We regularly achieve improvements in productivity and sales measurements of 60% and more. So Octalysis Gamification works. And HR (Human Resources) departments are taking notice.

More people also start to realize that Gamification can engage people in the long run. But only if it is designed well and optimized for long term motivation. The Octalysis Group prides ourselves in doing just that. We strongly believe that the way we design and develop Gamification solutions will become the norm for companies in the next 5 – 8 years. Companies that do not incorporate such design will find it harder to sell products and more difficult to attract and retain highly skilled employees.

But do people actually like to have (part of their) workplace gamified? Let’s have a look at what a new survey has found and see how your colleagues actually feel about having (more) Gamification in their professional environment.

To get the survey, read the full article by Joris Beerda on the Octalysis Group Blog.