Beginner’s Guide to Gamification (11 of 90): Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback (II)

Check out all the videos for the Beginner’s Guide to Gamification

Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback (Part 2): Notes

Last episode, people wanted me to talk more about the core drive.

Other social games like Draw Something (at least in the early scaffolding phase)

Draw Something was fun for a long time because it allowed both sides to utilize their creativity and see immediate results.

The reason why it eventually dropped out was because of lack of fresh content (or challenges) and how people could just start to game the system by writing in the correct word.

That’s another good lesson in Gamification: when a system is “game-able” it devalues the experience of those who are doing honest play and demoralizes the players.

I mentioned that in Farmville, one of the best evergreen mechanics they have is the ability to allow users to make art with their farms

That process would drive many players to pull out excel spreadsheets to calculate the optimal combination of everything, try it out, and adjust accordingly. (Yes, there are a group of gamers online that heavily use excel spreadsheets to play games better.)

When a game or a product can get users to voluntarily pull excel out and figure out how to optimize your performance, I would say it does this Core Drive pretty successfully.

My favorite crowdsource example has been Foldit, where a 15-Year AIDS problem was solved within 10 days.

Even in the work place, when you empower your workers to utilize their creativity and see feedback quickly, you have engaged workers.

Many corporate workers have talked to me before about being an entrepreneur simply because it’s frustrating seeing feedback for their ideas 10 months after proposing it through the bureaucratic situation.

Google’s 20% time allowed employees to express their creativity through other projects and see results quickly.

When utilizing Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback, it is important to note a few things:

There must be a balance between the learning curve and the challenge. If something is too hard, players withdraw or get anxiety. If it is too boring, players feel bored and leave. A good gamification (and game) designer needs to make sure the flow for Core Drive 3 is well aligned to maximize engagement.


A good way to add Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback into a design is through what I call Boosters (#31), basically things that make progress easier.

The reason why boosters are effective is because players now have to plan what type of boosters to obtain through what activities.

An example of this is when users are accumulating “points” on a site, but when the site offers special items or “knowledge scores” that can superboost points acquisition, users start to plan out how to obtain the right items or jnowledge to fulfill their objective better.


It’s always good to incorporate as many core drives into a design as possible. Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback is great because it gets users to discover their creative beings, inspires people, and can become evergreen mechanics that keep the users engaged for long periods of time.

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15 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Gamification (11 of 90): Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback (II)”

  1. Perhaps the most important learning is that adaptability is crucial. You cannot always succeed by using the same strategy/tactics repeatedly. Turn a game learned skill into a life lesson?

  2. This part vas also very nice. 50 days VS 15 years – also cool. A very strong and SELLING example.
    Milestone unlock – that is what I dream about in a real-life task on our factories… Need to think about how to implement.
    That is strange… all other videos I did not know how to comment=) And now, being in Scaffolding phase, I will comment EVERY video and TWO or MORE times=)) Muahaha.
    Sorry for being so inspired by Force Yu-kai and all other readers=))
    Hope that you find these semi-russian semi-english languaged comments at least not BOOORING.

  3. Yu-Kai, I wonder how much time you spend planing, filming and cutting your videos. this just seems overwhelming to me. Anyhow, keep up your great work as (after some time getting used to them) your videos are really informative and entertaining at the same time. 🙂

    1. Haha, a lot of time indeed, but fun times. Core Drive 3 in action 😉

      Unfortunately, these days I’m pinned down with required work, instead of voluntary creativity so it’s very very slow right now :-/

  4. Maybe you address in the next video, but what are your thoughts on the safe failure side of gamified applications.  My background is in education, so the issue of iterative failure is an important part learning to fail often repeatedly like in the typical video game and then finally the feeling of success when you achieve a level. This is probably one of those overlapping concepts that is part of several core drives.

  5. Hi Yu-kai Chou, some really cool tidbits in this video.  I have a friend who is an excel gamer, I have a few reference sheets round my desk but nothing that detailed 😉
    I am working on initial stages of an innovation engine design and one the elements I would like to incorporate is the milestone unlock but I’m struggling to decide what I could implement.  My thoughts are using technical resource (pre-defined techies with specific skill sets) to become unlocked and to contribute to projects as they turn into implementations.  I also see that other specific resource might be valued such as tools, templates and perhaps even training. 
    If you have seen anything like this implemented, what kind of evergreen effect does it have?  I am obviously keen for contributors to feed even more new ideas into the engine 🙂
    Festive Regards,


  6. Jaw-drop of awesomeness! 😀
    I got all my further questions answered, I saw a little of what Yu-kai did in Copenhagen the day after the conference, at which I was lucky enough to meet and talk to Yu-kai himself.
    This talk was mostly casual and we got around to the subject of our old gaming habits, at which we came to the point of using Excel spreadsheets to optimize our game performances.
    Yes you heard right, a little secret about Yu-kai Chou is that he himself was an “Excel gamer” 😉
    To be honest, I’ve never actually checked if that facebook gruop actually exist?….

  7. AlfredoPrietoMa Haha, good insight! Games have very short feedback cycles, but like in work, sometimes you have to wait for a year before it gets feedback!

  8. Another good examples of Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback is the the online game Second Life. You can build and customize your own property and houses.  Then people can hang out with you and comment on the design of your property.

You must engage in the conversation!!