Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Octalysis eBay Design Challenge

Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Octalysis eBay Design Challenge

The Octalysis Group has been considered by many as the World’s leading Gamification and Human-Focused Design Company. Only last year we won a number of rewards including the Best Gamification Project of 2017 and Gamification Guru of the Year.

One of the ways in which we make sure that our work is successful and brings high ROI to clients, is by home-growing our own top Octalysis Gamification designers. Quality of Implementation is very important to us. To do this, we start testing people thoroughly even before they enter the interview process.

One of the things that has proven to be successful in finding great talent for our company is the Octalysis Design Challenges. In those challenges, people need tо do a thorough analysis of an existing application or website and then create concept designs to showcase how they would improve the experience and achieve the identified Business Metrics.

This year the challenge was about eBay. Participants needed to focus on the buyer’s part of the eBay platform and improve the experience of the average consumers on eBay. We had been working with eBay earlier and for us, it was quite interesting to see what people will come up with.

Before we reveal the WINNER, we would like to share with the Octalysis Community that we were surprised by the quality, effort, and enthusiasm that we got from all participants. We want to thank everyone who participated and helped make it a success!

And now for the….




of the 2018 Octalysis eBay Design Challenge


Albertine Corre

You can see a link to her work below

Octalysis eBay Challenge Submission by Albertine Corre


Among all submissions, Albertine’s work has shown the greatest overall quality. It has a good analysis and visual presentation and provides a number of clever ideas in the Octalysis Brainstorming. There are a few things that we think should be improved in regards to the new user journey and the overall wireframes design but the whole Octalysis team was very excited to see such a quality submission.


Congratulations Albertine!


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Top 10 Secret Ingredients Of Successful Gamification (Part 1)

Top 10 Secret Ingredients Of Successful Gamification (Part 1)

Gamification has grown to be more than a buzzword and many companies attempt to use it to achieve competitive advantage and high ROIs. But many companies fail to implement gamification correctly and projects seem not to create the engagement levels that were expected.

Why is this? Why is it that Gamification is known to increase engagement but many companies struggle to get it right?  What can you do to ensure that your Gamification initiative will be successful?

To help you on your way, we have prepared a list of 10 Secret Ingredients for Successful Gamification. Based on many years of leading the Gamification space, we think that those ingredients will serve you well when developing your Gamification Project.

Here are the first 5 Secret Ingredients of Successful Gamification


Gamification, integrated into your product design

In my practice as Gamification consultant, I have seen many companies that think that Gamification can be added on top of an existing solution. Even worse, they design the core functionality first and then gamify it by adding points, levels, badges, leaderboards or other game mechanics. Unfortunately, this approach has proven to lead to failure so, please, avoid this mistake.

For your project to be successful, you must integrate Gamification into your product design from the start. Follow a design path that creates an engaging experience using the 8 Core Drives of human motivation throughout the 4 phases of the user experience. In one of my previous posts, I wrote that Gamification cannot be just the icing on the cake.

To be successful in getting a high and sustainable return on investment for your business goals, you must consider Gamification as an integral part of the cake, like sugar, flour, eggs and all the other ingredients that make that cake so yummy.


Well Defined and Prioritized Business Metrics

Business Metrics are the key goals, numbers or results that you want your business to improve on or achieve. Defining and prioritizing Business Metrics is an important step to ensure that you know what you are designing for. Does this sound like an easy task for you? Can you create a list of the most important Business Metrics for your business?

You will be surprised to learn that quite often our clients spend days or even weeks to define and agree on their list of Business Metrics. One of the reasons for this is because Business Metrics should always be prioritized starting from the top Business Metric, the number two Business Metric, and so on.

In Gamification, this prioritization is crucial for your motivation design because usually, you will be able to optimize only for one or two Business Metrics. For example, you should decide whether you want to increase new user signups; maximize weekly return rates; share coefficients and user churn. You will have to decide which one is more important for your business and create a design that is optimized based on your priorities.

Another very important aspect of the process of defining Business Metrics is that once defined and agreed on by the team you should not make changes to the list. If you change your Business Metrics in the middle of the project you will have to start from scratch which will be quite disturbing.


Well-defined target users

Always identify your target users before you start with your Gamification design. This will help you evaluate what are the Core Drives and the Anti-Core Drives that motivate them and design a system that addresses those Core Drives. Remember, your ultimate goal should always be to think about and consider people’s motivations and which of the 8 Core Drives motivate best your main user group. If you do your analysis well, you will then be able to implement game techniques that are successful in driving desired behavior.

Moreover, when you form your user groups, do it based on how they are differently motivated and not based on the fact that they, for example, look different. For example, if you discover that people are more motivated based on their cultural differences than based on their gender it will be better to divide them into users from North America and Europe rather than Males and Females.


Good long-term engagement design

When it comes to Gamification, one of the important aspects of the overall success of your project is whether it will be engaging for your audience in a long-term. Will your users keep coming back after a year or two or they will stop using with your solution in a few weeks or months?

Consider for example the cases of Pokémon Go and World of Warcraft. Within days after its launch, Pokémon Go became phenomenally popular and demonstrated a high potential for growth. I still remember seeing groups of people wandering like ghosts around the streets at night, looking at their phones and catching Pokemons. Unfortunately, a little more than a year after its astonishing success the daily active users of Pokémon Go dropped by five times, from 28.5 million to an about 5 million in the US.

On the other hand, millions of people continued to play World of Warcraft for more than a decade without a significant drop in users. I believe that the main reason for this difference can be found in the Endgame design of both games. You may ask, what can I do to create a good long-term engagement design? What are the ingredients of a good Endgame?

The main ingredients of a successful Endgame are the Right Brain Core Drives which make the experience intrinsically motivating through Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback (Core Drive 3), Social Influence and Relatedness (Core Drive 5), Unpredictability and Unpredictability and Curiosity (Core Drive 7).

Intrinsic motivation makes tasks more enjoying and fun to do and will make your users feel empowered and long-term happy in what they are doing. Some of the most successful game techniques that you can use in the Endgame include Unpredictable Rewards such as Easter Eggs, Mystery Boxes, or Social Treasures, Mentorship and Competitions between veteran players, or even ability to design own Boosters that could give users unique advantages over other players.

In fact, there is almost no limit to the number of game techniques that you could use to make the Endgame experience engaging. The only thing you have to do is include the Endgame design in your project.


Extrinsic Rewards

Management / Investors Support

Earlier in my professional career, I was working for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world on a project that according to me was years ahead of its time in terms of scale, impact, and vision. If successful the project would have boosted company’s internal communication, knowledge sharing, personal growth and recognition for thousands of employees with the potential to bring a huge impact to the organization in the long run.

Unfortunately, the project failed and I believe that the main reason for this failure was that there was lack of support from top management.

If you work in an organization where the success of your project depends on the support from senior management, make sure that you create a well-defined strategy to keep all key stakeholders involved.

To be successful you will need to have a buy-in from all key people on the board or if you are a startup from all key investors. Here are a couple of things you could do:

  • When you pitch your idea use Core Drive 2, 7 techniques to make sure it is recognized as a pleasant novelty and as something unexpected, and out of the ordinary.
  • Make sure that the project will provide a benefit to the person you speak with and show this benefit to them using intriguing and well structured visual presentations.
  • Put your big idea into an easily understood context and don’t bombard people with too much information.
  • Identify and address any Anti-Core Drives that may trigger fear and may be considered threatening
  • Show them where they can provide assistance and how they are going to support you.
  • Give regular updates and sync with all main stakeholders


These were the first 5 Secret Ingredients of Successful Gamification. Needless to say, you will need the complete list of 10 to develop a successful Gamification Project. Updates are coming soon so stay tuned and continue to follow our blog.


Curious to find out how we can help to design a truly engaging experience for your organization? Want to know how we can help you design high ROI Gamification design?

Are you struggling to get your customers engaged so they buy your products again and again? How to keep your employees motivated and engaged in their work?

Don’t worry, we can help. The Octalysis Group has a long and proven track record of creating high ROI engagement designs.

Contact us for a free consultation.

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Discover a secret Gamification trick to make your employees happy at work

Discover a secret Gamification trick to make your employees happy at work

Companies are putting a lot of effort to improve employee engagement and thus create a better working environment, reduce turnover and ultimately improve business outcomes. Nevertheless, according to recent Gallup research, only 15% of people are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work, while a stunning 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged or are actively disengaged in their job. Worrisome for any business leader or HR manager for sure!

In The Octalysis Group, we see a huge potential for Human Resources Gamification to bring value and help companies gain a competitive edge. We have already shared some of the amazing results we achieved with our clients, including the sales team of a major FMCG distributor in Europe. Let me share some further tips on how can you create a better employee engagement program that drives long-term motivation. I will introduce you to the magical world of  Boosters

Extrinsic rewards do not create long-term engagement

Extrinsic Rewards

Employee engagement programs mostly offer extrinsic rewards to motivate employees. Think of pay raises, bonuses, benefits, promotions, coupons, free stuff and so on. Companies continue to use extrinsic motivators because they are easier to implement and because managers believe that people work mainly in their companies for money and status. Often, in the short term, extrinsic design can create some engagement for sure. In the long-term, however, extrinsic motivators do not bring good results. Even worse, over time, larger and larger rewards are needed to sustain the same level of motivation in people and if rewards are removed, the desired behavior is often extinguished, leading to employee disengagement and a decrease in morale. In addition, extrinsic design limits creativity, selflessness and cooperation, which are hallmarks of successful companies in the 21st Century.

An interesting example of how extrinsic rewards can decrease employees intrinsic motivation to perform a task, something known also as the Overjustification Effect, is the 9-month attendance award program implemented at an industrial laundry plant in the USA. The main goal of the program was to reduce employee absenteeism and tardiness and thus improve productivity.

During the program, employees with perfect attendance (no unexcused absences and no tardies) for the past month had the right to enter into a draw and win a $75 gift card. Quite unexpectedly for the management of the plant, at the end of the program, it was discovered that there was actually a 1.4% decrease in average employee daily productivity. The most productive and punctual workers suffered a total of 6-8% decrease in productivity, workers were 50 percent more likely to have an unplanned single absence and while employee punctuality improved during the first few months of the program, old patterns of tardiness started to emerge again in later months.

We will explore the reasons for this results at the end of this article (see if you can figure them out yourself) but as we can see, also, in this case, extrinsic rewards failed to deliver long-term results. Having said that, I certainly do not think that you never design for extrinsic motivation when designing your employee engagement program. What I want to point out is that if you hope to achieve long-term results, you want to gyrate towards more intrinsic motivation.

The advantage of using Boosters to improve employee engagement

Employee Engagement

Some of the most powerful game techniques to help create an intrinsically motivating employee engagement program are Boosters. Boosters are rewards, usually limited under certain conditions (time, quantity, etc.), that make your employees more efficient at their work and help them be better at what they do.

Here are some examples of using Boosters at work:

  • Giving a cab driver a brand new cool car or access to VIP clients for a limited time;
  • Hiring a famous guru to spend some time with an employee and serve as his or her mentor;
  • Giving scientists a limited access to a supercomputer that could help them solve problems much faster;
  • Supplying well-performing employees in a call center with a more technologically advanced headset that would help them serve clients much faster and in a more efficient and convenient way.

As you can see, the reward itself is not something people can just spend or take home and forget about in a couple of weeks. It is something that makes them better or helps them excel at work. Boosters empower people within your organizations with a new bonus or advantage that will increase their motivation towards doing their work better. Employees will be putting even more energy and effort to take as much advantage as possible from the situation and thus they will do their job better, faster and more efficiently. Moreover, as people usually have only a limited access to boosters, Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience would motivate them, even more, to perform better (or do any other Desired Action) so that they could gain access to Boosters again and again.

Why do Boosters drive long-term employee engagement?

Let’s explore the reasons why successful Boosters engagement design has higher potential to drive motivation than programs based mainly on extrinsic rewards.

Boosters design is a game technique that sits under Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback in the top right corner of the Octalysis Framework. This means that Boosters are at the same time White Hat and Intrinsic in nature. White Hat motivation makes people feel powerful, fulfilled, satisfied and most importantly in control of their own actions. Intrinsic motivation makes the task more enjoying and fun to do. Embedding White Hat and Intrinsic motivation in your employee engagement program will make people feel empowered and long-term happy in what they are doing. This sounds like a jackpot, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, designing a successful Boosters Engagement Program is not an easy task and requires a thorough business analysis and knowledge of behavioral science.

How could the industrial laundry plant have used Boosters to reduce employee absenteeism and tardiness?

Before I give you a couple of examples of how Boosters could have looked like in the laundry plant, let’s explore some more information about the business processes in the company:

  • Cleaning services occur at five plants of approximately 35 workers, supervised by two managers who focus on worker efficiency and overall plant productivity.
  • Payments are the same across all plants. Workers receive a guaranteed base hourly rate and hourly wage bonuses based on daily efficiency scores above the expected performance score of 100.
  • Workers are cross-trained on many tasks but tend to specialize in a few, amongst which they alternate throughout each day.

Booster Example 1

Employees with perfect attendance and no absences for the past five working days can choose which tasks to do on day 6. Moreover, day 6 brings an additional 20 % bonus on efficiency scores above 100.

In this example, on day 6 people will feel empowered to choose the tasks which they are best at and like the most, while at the same time they will work harder to take as much advantage as possible from the efficiency score booster. Giving people an added choices to how to execute their work is Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback, responsible for long-term motivation.

Booster Example 2

Employees with perfect attendance for the past 2 weeks have the right to use the newest equipment for a week. Also, they have the right to ask for a “Job Swap”, and take the position of one of the plant managers for an hour.

In this case, the newest equipment will help employees achieve better results and be even more efficient. Moreover, the opportunity to swap jobs with one of their managers will not only help well-performing employees learn more about the job but also bring some fun to the day-to-day plant activities.

Booster Example 3

Workers in the plant with the lowest percentage of employee absenteeism and tardiness for the past month win a 5 % bonus on all efficiency scores above 100 for a period of one month.

This will bring a little competition between different plants potentially adding some Social Influence and Relatedness (Core Drive 5) which will make workers even more involved in following and striving to reduce absenteeism and tardiness rates. Just keep in mind that to be successful in embedding competition in your design you should make sure that it fits the profile of your staff as some people hate competition.

As you can see there are many and different ways in which you can use Booster to motivate desired behavior in your workforce. However, it’s important to note that you cannot just add some game mechanics to your experience and expect it to blossom and become engaging. To be successful in your design, you should embed Boosters throughout all four phases of the user’s journey – Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame.

So why did the attendance program fail?

Although the attendance reward program did not mean to do this, it created some very  unexpected outcomes in the industrial laundry plant:

  • The award demotivated the most productive and punctual workers because they believed it was unfair to recognize people for something like attendance while their hard work seems to be neglected.
  • Unplanned single absences increased because employees started “gaming” the program, by showing up on time only when they were eligible for the award and, in some cases, even calling in sick rather than reporting late to avoid disqualification.
  • Old patterns of tardiness started to emerge in the later months because in time, workers got used to the extrinsic monetary rewards and they started looking less and less appealing.

Had the company known about Octalysis secrets, they would have designed the program differently. Boosters would have been incorporated in the design for sure, as well as other Octalysis design gems.

Want to know how we can help you design high ROI employee design? Are you struggling to get your employees motivated and engaged in their work? Don’t worry, you are not alone. The Octalysis Group has a long track record of creating high ROI workplace engagement designs.

Contact us for a free consultation.

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