Find out how Octalysis design supercharges your sales team…

Find out how Octalysis design supercharges your sales team…

Many of our clients are enthusiastic when they see Octalysis for the first time.  One of my clients recently said that the Framework totally transformed the way he saw his business, yes even life itself. I can vouch for these statements myself. Octalysis has completely changed how I see professional and personal life too. It’s awesome.

However, and this is a question our clients ask us a lot, does it work? Does Octalysis lead to more engagement? Does it result in motivated teams? Does it lead to higher sales? Higher growth and productivity?

Obviously the answer is yes.  Normally we are under strict Client Non-Disclosure Agreements so we can almost never share the great results we achieve. We were allowed to do so last year for one of our hotel chain projects, which resulted in sales growth of  712% and a Social Coefficient of 512%. I am thrilled that I am now allowed to share some amazing results from one of our HR/Employee Gamification projects as well. Enjoy!

Check out the results below. If you cannot wait any longer, just scroll all the way down (warning: you may miss out on some Octalysis Design gems by doing so).

 

The Challenge

We (and our Polish Octalysis Licensee Funtiago) were approached by a Procter and Gamble distributor in Eastern Europe. They faced major challenges with their sales teams that had to go out and sell Procter and Gamble products to their clients. The main issues:

  • Low employee motivation
  • Low and stagnating sales numbers
  • No feedback on their activities
  • No group feeling
  • No new sales ideas

Sounds daunting huh? Yeah, we thought so too. This is a company that had been selling stuff to clients for decades. If they couldn’t maintain sales and motivate their teams, this was truly a massive issue…

Nevertheless, we accepted the challenge to improve the professional life of the sales teams and to increase sales in the process. We knew that the people themselves were not to blame for this daunting situation. It was all about the way their sales processes were designed. Time for Octalysis Human Focused Design!

 

Our approach

We ensure high quality delivery by sticking to our tried and tested 5 Step Octalysis Implementation Process (Strategy Dashboard; Feature Brainstorm; PE Feature List; Battle Plan; and Concept Wireframes). This process is highly interactive with the client as we need to ensure that our assumptions about their business metrics, practices and target users are well aligned with the solutions we come up with and design for.

We also wanted to ensure that our designs were flawlessly integrated with the CRM application the sales team was using. It makes no sense to design an experience if it stays as a separate application. It needs to constantly be in sync with the wider CRM process.

We then decided to change the world that sales people had to live in on a daily basis. Away with the boring to do lists and endless repetition of sales steps without any overarching narrative or feedback. From now on sales people in the distributor are seafaring traders for a city state called Nabicopolis. You do not just go to clients but you sail there and trade with them for profit. For yourself, as well as for the city state.

Here are screenshots of the city state (the text is all in Polish, but the images are self explanatory).

The city grows whenever it is healthy and wealthy. When it is poor and weak, it is prone to pirate attacks and it will degrade. As you can see from the images above, both you and the city have a health (red line) and a wealth (green line) meter. You gain health by doing the right sales KPIs. Wealth by selling products.

There is a variety of social interaction design in the project. There are group quests; a tavern to socialize and for management to send out overall guidance and news updates:

 

Tavern

 

Gentle Leaderboard

There is a leaderboard as well, although we made sure to not make it too intimidating. Often leaderboards are only motivational for the the top 5 people on it. For the rest the scarcity feel (Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience) is too high and they stop caring. However, by only showing a few people above and below you, you can mitigate some of that negativity and make it more engaging by bringing scarcity back to lower levels.

 

Dynamic Profile Pages

People tend to spend a lot of time (at least in the early stages of the experience) to upgrade and update their profile:

Not only can you update a photo, you can also choose the ship that you use to sail to clients with. The more activities you do in the application, the bigger and faster your ship will be and the faster you get feedback on your sales results from Headquarters.

Interestingly, when you sail with your ship, the navigation is fully integrated with Google Maps so you actually see yourself sailing to your clients along maps that look somewhat like this (this is a mockup, the real thing looks better):

Players have full autonomy of what actions and strategy they want to follow (so lots of Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback), which is very motivational long term and often lacking in sales organizations. Now selling has become fun and creative.

 

Next to social aspects and creativity and autonomy, we also made sure that there is plenty to discover and that there are regular surprises in the experience (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity). Social, creativity, and unpredictability are all intrinsically motivational. Here is where all the fun is and where long term motivation is born!

So you will get secret codes

 

…that open mystery boxes:

In additional there is the Captain’s Wheel of Fortune where you can spend your trade energy to try get cool prizes and loot drop. This is a very popular design feature and engages people on a daily basis.

Oh, and did I tell you that participation in the experience was fully voluntary? And that 100% of all the 130 sales people joined in? Let’s look at some more results shall we?

 

The Results

OK, so what were the results of Octalysis Design for this client? Did it approach what they expected? Yes it did. In fact they told us that the results were extraordinary. Here is a small sample list:

 

  • SALES: UP 21.8%
  • KPIs: UP 59%
  • Social Interaction: UP 300%

 

These are good numbers indeed, especially for an organization that has been in the market for so long. What managers would not sign up for a 21.8% sales uptick? Or people actually doing their KPIs with a smile on their faces?

Octalysis works, IF it is implemented well. We feel that the design can be even more improved, but are happy with the results so far.

 

Curious how to get great numbers too?

We can do this for your company or organization too. It does not matter if you are working in a big corporation or a small start up. Contact me for a FREE initial consultation and find out what The Octalysis Group can do for you!

 

Speak soon.

 

Joris

joris@octalysisgroup.com

 

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Octalysis Gamification to Better Equip Sales People

Octalysis Gamification to Better Equip Sales People

Sales gamification octalysis

Better equipping salespeople

Burnout and churn are common problems in fast-paced sales teams. Even among well-designed teams, productivity sustainability can be a pressing problem.

We know long term motivation suffers when there is an over-emphasis on Extrinsic Rewards coupled with Black Hat design. Sales jobs are often only about selling more and more, and competition with your peers. The lack of control on how to do the sales process through pre-made scripts and stringent KPI audits means that people do not feel empowered and leave. Many companies lose a lot of potentially good sales people and churn is close to 50% in many sales companies.

Extrinsic, Black Hat Design is not bad, but it has to be balanced with more White Hat motivational design into your sales teams set up.

Design for more balance in sales teams

Often sales design is all about showing how one person performs versus the rest of the team. The metrics used are all directly tied to more sales and in a short period (a day, week or month). Sub-optimal gamification solutions often just copy this structure and rely heavily on progress bars, leaderboards and intense competition. This is great to get people started in their sales process initially, but it doesn’t keep their engines running for long.

What is often missing is an emphasis on intrinsic design: being able to choose up to 3 paths to success that work and seeing your choices work in practice (Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback), being able to achieve your own goals with the help of others (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness); or getting unexpected challenges and rewards (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity).

 

Don’t forget: extrinsic rewards and black hat can get people to pick up the phone to make calls. But it is the intrinsic design where all the fun is created. This is where people do the actions you want them to do voluntarily, even without getting paid for them. They have more fun and you as a sales manager have to pay and threaten them less to do the sales. It is a true win-win. If it is well designed!

 

Oh one more point, the sales grind can become quite disengaging when it does not seem to support any other goal than making more money and beating the competition. Adding a narrative that people can believe in (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling) can add powerful longer term design angles to your overall sales team structure.

 

Scaling a sales organization

Creating one standout salesperson isn’t enough to ensure the sales team succeeds even in the short run, let alone the long term.

How your accounts work together, manage territories, and manage deal flow in a synergetic fashion matter too. Your Stars will need to interact with Proto-Stars, Novas, and Black Holes or your business cannot function. You’ll also need to carry employees through Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame phases.

 

In a next post we will reveal a case study on how we managed to design a great Gamified sales program that lead to triple digit engagement numbers, over time and for high and low flyers. We did it by exactly the right balance between white hat and black hat; extrinsic and intrinsic design.

How exactly? Find out next week!

 

The Octalysis Group has years of experience across hundreds of companies.

If you want us to create short- and long-term engagement in your company as well, contact Joris Beerda:

joris@octalysisgroup.com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

How to do gamification of Corporate Management Meetings

Visualize this: a client comes to you with the request to gamify an Annual Management Meeting of a large Chinese multinational.

The target group:

  • 13 older executives (55 – 65 years old)
  • IT exposure: minimal
  • Previous gamification exposure: nill
  • Opinion about games: for children and losers

 

Have we not heard over and over again that Gamification is not for older people and not for the board room? Can this even be done?

Oh yes it can! See below.

 

VINDA management meeting

Our client is Director of Marketing for Vinda Ltd. Vinda makes tissue paper on a big scale. You may know them from Tempo tissues, Libero diapers or Libresse hygienic pads. They are a big company, with a big history.

 

The Director attended a workshop with Yu-kai Chou and got excited about Octalysis. She really wanted to implement Octalysis in her company but needed help to make sure the top management also felt the same. So why not start with gamifiying the Annual Management Meeting (AMM) with our help?

 

AMMs (or AGMs) are normally not very exciting and are often used to tick off decisions that have already been taken in the run up to the meeting. Most attendants are mostly interested in getting the budget items approved for their own business channel. So Supply Chain will only pay attention during Supply Chain and Marketing only during Marketing agenda items. Often the meetings end up as boring affairs with little interaction or synergetic outcomes.

Was it possible to get people really interested in the AMM and get participants to share and become creative across business channels? That’s where The Octalysis Group came in.

 

The Set Up

Regular readers of this space know that an experience mostly consists of 4 phases: Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding and End Game. For short duration meetings like the AMM (which lasted 3 days), the End Game is less pronounced so we will focus more on the first 3 phases.

Because of the age and IT exposure of the target group, we decided to keep the IT components to a minimum. However, since all of them own a smartphone, we knew that an app would not by definition be a bridge too far.

 

Pulling the Executives in: Discovery

Annual meetings are often prepared well in advance. Participants know what is coming so there is little Curiosity push (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity) to take action. So this year we kept the meeting place and program completely secret.

 

Then suddenly participants were sent secret codes with which they could unlock the location and agenda. For this they needed to download and app (the experience vehicle) to fill the code in. So we used CD7 to empower a desired action: download and open the app.

 

After unlocking the app, the users got send messages by email that they were expected to leave questions/issues they wanted to have discussed. It was made clear that the Chairwoman of the company was already in the app and the she had already left some issues to be debated. This led to a big Fear Of Missing Out reaction (Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance), and all participants listed many ideas that they wanted to discuss. We used black hat design to motivate people to take action.

 

Onboarding: first little steps

We grouped the Vinda execs into groups with colleagues from various business channels. Their first assignment would be to cook dinner the night before the AMM in a cooking club. For many managers this was the first chance they had to actually cooperate with their colleagues. At this stage they were still new in the experience so the Social Interaction needs to be non-confrontational and light-hearted. Hence the cooking setting.

 

The next day the AMM was opened and the group objectives were laid out. We used a game mechanic called Message in a Bottle from the SelfDRVN app to facilitate the process. In the mechanic you see bottles floating in the sea and when you tap on one you can see the message inside and you can leave a vote.

 

The goal was for groups to try to post and reply to as many questions and ideas as they could. However, per group of 3 they only had 3 posts per session so they really had to discuss and strategize which topics to posts and which topics to answer.

 

Scaffolding: how did the executives level up?

The strategizing design was very motivational (Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback) and led to a lot of cross business unit communication about each others business  channels interests.

 

The posts submitted were all anonymous, and only the most upvoted ideas were published on a big board with the name of the submitter. This way we overcame the fear of people posting a ‘bad’ idea (we create anti Core Drive 8) while at the same time rewarding (in public) great ideas.

 

The group with the most ideas upvoted would level up fastest (there were 4 levels). At the end of the meeting groups got handed out an amount of darts depending on the level they achieved. For Level 4 you got 6, while for Level 1 you got only 1. The winner of the AMM is the group that scores the highest total score after throwing all their darts on a dart board.

In theory, even Level 2 could still win if they would throw very well. Deciding who could throw the darts in the group created even more social interaction, as did the dart throwing game itself.

The reward, finally was also designed to generate more Core Drive 5 (Social Influence and Relatedness) motivation. The winning group won a dinner night out to which they had to invite all AMM attendees. So the reward allowed the losers to share the win state of the winners. Only  the winners got Champagne though…

 

Our approach was designed to make sure that:

  • people stay focused till the end of the meeting
  • they communicate a lot more, across business channels
  • they start caring about each other’s issues
  • the AMM is seen as a fun moment during which new ideas and cooperation are born

 

The result: was our Octalysis design successful?

Well, let me not bore you with facts and figures (I can tell you the ROIs were high according to Vinda). Here is what the participants gave as feedback:

 

I have attended many MLT meetings over the past years and this is the best meeting I have ever attended

it was so engaging and memorable

 

it was very disruptive and it opened our minds

If you want us to create short- and long-term engagement in your company as well contact Joris Beerda:

joris@octalysisgroup.com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

The Astronomy of Corporate Employees: Stars, Proto-Stars, Novas, and Black Holes

The Astronomy of Corporate Employees: Stars, Proto-Stars, Novas, and Black Holes

Using Astronomy to Understand Your Employees

Just as there are many types of entities in the universe, there are also many types corporate employee types. By recognizing these types of employees you can design your employee engagement and development can help them navigate to become stellar members of your enterprise.

First, let’s investigate our galactic employee types.

Stars, Proto-stars, Novas and Black Holes.

In this post, we examined what kind of employee types are often present in corporate settings. We used the names: stars, performers, politicians and survivors. But did you know that astronomy can give us additional insight into company culture and how to prevent corporate politics to overpower performance.  Have a look below.

The importance of Stars

In the Universe, stars are the catalysts for life and its main source of energy. Similarly in companies, high performer Star Employees are important assets. They drive innovation and they are also your internal and external brand ambassadors. Without Stars for your staff to follow, the main result will be mediocracy.

Proto-stars: almost there

Before they become stars, high performers are Proto-stars. They have all the elements in them to shine and become shining examples for the rest of the company, but they need the right circumstances to do so. In the Universe, the only thing they need to become stars is a lot of (positive) energy. If the energy is intensive enough, Proto-stars will turn into stars. In companies, we need to give Proto-stars skills and management training so that they can channel their hidden energy in a way so that they can shine.

The Black Hole: suck you dry

A Black Hole is a burned out (proto)star. It sucks all matter around it in itself and nothing escapes its negative gravitational pull. The corporate equivalent of the astronomical Black Hole is the corporate leech that plays corporate political games and sucks all energy from the company and its staff .

It sucks energy mainly from Performers and Stars (the ones with the highest energy in the company). If encouraged, it can lead to virtual collapse of innovation and performance in the enterprise

Nova: if only I…

Nova’s are burned out (proto)stars that will most likely never shine again. They just hang on to survive in their current low energy mode. They are neither good nor bad, they just sit and survive. In companies, many non-performers take this role. They are not good enough to be Proto-stars, and so they take the road of least resistance. In the Universe, Nova’s can turn into Black Holes if the negative environment is strong.

Similarly, in companies, if Nova’s are under the influence of Black Holes, they run the risk of turning into Back Holes themselves, thereby severely damaging the reproductive energy of the company. Less innovation, less performance, and more politics are the results. No good!

Designing your Universe

If you want to safeguard your corporate universe from collapse into a constellation with many black holes, you need to apply the right institutional HR design. This means that negative corporate political games need to be discouraged, while high performance gets publicly praised.

Designing an engaging work environment for people is a key challenge for even the very best organizations. However, such design goes well beyond giving extra bonuses to performers and scolding corporate players during appraisals. By applying Octalysis human focused design you ensure that  your corporate universe healthy will remain balanced and sustainable.

Sounds complex? Don’t worry, The Octalysis Group can help. We have been supporting companies across the globe to create high performance employee engagement. The expected results?  Less political games, more innovation and higher performance.

To learn how we can assist your firm in creating long-term employee engagement and get a stronger market position, get in touch with Joris Beerda right now.

Leading Octalysis Expert, International Keynote Speaker, Behavioral Scientist and Managing Director of The Octalysis Group.

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

The why and how of Gamification in Education

The why and how of Gamification in Education

main-foto-for-blog

The need to restructure and create engagement in education is probably one of the biggest drivers of the meteoric rise in the interest in Gamification. Participation in digital engagement conferences like EduTech (http://www.edutech.net.au/workplacelearning_speakers.html) has grown to record levels. The amount of education providers that were present at the Gamification World Congress this year was also impressive.

So why is the education sector so interested in Gamification? Because it offers solutions to a sector often out of sync with current reality and in need of serious overhaul (as we wrote before in Octalysis Gamification: Changing the Education Game). Why does it need overhaul and how could we start to make education a lot more engaging?

Well, we have listed 3 issues that urgently need to be addressed if we want to keep educating our children for the future rather than for non-existing future jobs. We will close with good entry points for creating the engagement necessary in education.

 

fear_of_failure

The current system generates Fear of Failure
Today’s homework nowadays is pretty much like this: you either pass or fail and have to move on. You do your homework, hand it in and get a grade. Failed? Too bad son! No time to try again, as there is not time and we have to move on with new topics to learn. Homework is currently more like a zero-sum assessment than a learning opportunity.

 

Compare this to how we learn in game like experience: you fail to pass a level? Try again immediately, but now from a different angle. In a game, you are trained not to fear failure: you are conditioned to overcome it. What matters in games is that you get the solution to the problem in front of you, not getting it right at the first try. Homework is an opportunity to find ways to progress rather than to show how far you have progressed.

 

lack-of-time

Lack of time
Teachers are often under massive time constraints. There is just enough time to go through the subject matter that they are told to go through. There is hardly time for any personalization or detailed attention to specific children. But all of this is mostly the fault of the system, not of the teachers. Teachers have no time to give the instant feedback that students need while they are learning.

 

In addition, if class size goes above 10–15 pupils it becomes almost impossible for teachers to track where each and every individual student is at and with what issue they are struggling. This is where games and gamification come in. Gamified systems as such can give the rapid feedback that students need and teachers can actually concentrate on what they are best at: teaching new things and exploring depth in topics. At the same time, the learning experience can be adjusted to every single student real time, while ensuring that the correct information is presented.

 

I remember that my father (and many other teachers and professors like him) spend endless hours correcting the work of students. Can you imagine what teachers can do with the time saved on correcting?

What if they could spend this time creating more learning opportunities, supported by technology, games, and gamified learning programs? It would revolutionize the way children would learn. It would create the space needed to focus on problem solving rather than knowledge assessment. In short: it would train our children to obtain the skills they will need for future jobs rather than jobs long gone when they will be adults like us.

 

21st-century-skills-4-cs-graphic

Lack of 4Cs
So what are these key skills that people need in the new economy? They are often called the 4Cs of 21st Century skills:  Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Cs_of_21st_century_learning). These are the skills that are needed for our modern society and can only be learned through experience, not by rote learning.

 

And when you play games you always employ these skills, so in a sense many children already are trained somewhat in these skills through games.

Think of when people team up to play a game of League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm with their friends: it is all about communication and collaboration.

When I see my daughter play Minecraft and she needs to find the best solution for the world around her? It is all about critical and creative thinking

 

So why not just have them play games then? No need to change the educational system right? Wrong.

 

What is missing is that the children that play these games, do not actually understand that they are in fact learning all these skills. They lack (educational) context. And this is where teachers come in. Teachers give perspective, give background and can create a broader framework for where the learned skill can be connected to real world applications. Games can get kids to be excited about the content and teach kids basic concepts. Teachers can make all that knowledge meaningful.

So how do we implement a Gamification strategy in education?
Well, we have to address some of the misconceptions and fears that many teachers have about the effects of Gamification in education. Contrary to what many teachers fear: gamification is about empowering the teacher, not making them less relevant. I do not believe in fully stand-alone game-education. The teacher is still very important.

In fact, some research from the USA has shown that just letting children play educational games in class has less impact than having children sit through conventional lessons (in fact conventional lessons had a 60 times higher impact). However, when the power of games and the teacher were combined, all of a sudden the children performed almost twice as well as in a teacher-only setting (and more than 100 times better than in a game-only setting.

 

Get started!
So it looks like Gamifying our curriculum/classroom can have exciting rewards. But, like other Gamification projects: it has to be designed correctly. We should never forget that playing a game is a voluntary activity. The experience itself needs to create the excitement and hunger for progress in children in order for them to want to even engage in the first place. Many educational platforms these days though are function focused: the games are just a digitalization of the content that is presented in books. It is neither more engaging, nor enriching, nor does the teacher get intensively involved. As shown by the mentioned case study in the USA, the teacher needs to get involved heavily as enabler, facilitator and coach.

In addition: do not try to “kid your kids”. Children see through games that are just used to test them (like the old system does). Just because the test is in digital form doesn’t make it more engaging. Think about creating experiences where they can make their own choices, and discover their own path to solving obstacles. Teach them how to search and analyze rather than getting ‘your‘ answer right.

In Octalysis terms: design for the Core Drives that motivate people to be creative, collaborate and communicate, whilst giving them a sense of progress. We would look into what design creates enough Core Drive 3 (Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback); Core Drive 5 (Social Influence and Relatedness), as well as Core Drive 2 (Development and Accomplishment).

What would be ideal is if we can also make the learning connected to Core Drive 1 (Epic Meaning and Calling): how about being able to practice your math to calculate the heating of the earth, whilst combatting this heating by identifying the main culprit-nations to be arrested by the Climate Change Police?

Throw in a bit of Core Drive 7 (Curiosity and Unpredictability), with some surprise moments in the experience (a sudden solar eclipse anyone?) and you have the recipe for a really fun, and engaging gamified education.

 

So, changing our educational system is not that difficult to do, but of course we need political will too. Now that is more difficult, I admit, and not that easily gamified…

If you would like to know how we at The Octalysis Group create really engaging experiences, contact me:

 

joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

 

 

 

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Changing the Education Game

Changing the Education Game

pexels-photo-203237

Let’s face it: our current educational system is broken. It is a sad realization, but we are not preparing our younger generations for the challenges and requirements of the coming decades. The system has to change and change fundamentally. Octalysis Gamification offers insights and tools to actually make that change. Together we can design that ensures better education, engaged and creative students and a workforce that is prepared for the requirements of a new knowledge-based and innovation rich global economy and society.

Why Education is broken…
For hundreds of years, the way you were thought at school has only changed marginally and remains based on 19th century models of teaching. Meanwhile, our economy and societies have changed rapidly and will continue to do so even faster in the future due to ongoing innovation, the internet of things and increased global connectivity. Our production based economy is rapidly being replaced by a new knowledge-based economy where innovation and creativity are needed to succeed.

But teaching students how to be innovative and creative needs a system that allows for autonomous choice, trial-and–error, non-linear learning and empowerment of intrinsic motivation. However, our current educational system is not suited for this purpose:

1. It promotes linear learning

We still treat all our students with the same uniform one-size-fits-all approach: everybody in class starts at the same point and follows exactly the same learning path with the same time lines attached to it. In most classrooms there is no place for individual paths to glory. Follow the herd or get left behind.

However, this is not how effective learning takes place. Most students learn best in sprints, taper off and then do another sprint. Also, we know that learning is more efficient through trial and error, something that is not possible in the current win-lose testing set-up. Successful games have perfected the art of learning through fail-learn-fail-learn–succeed. In a game you learn not be be afraid of failure: you pick yourself up and try again, and again until you succeed. The test is not the target, but finding the path to the solution is. In summary: we need more non-linear learning!

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-23-22-12

2. There is too much emphasis on Extrinsic Motivation

Most children are pushed quite heavily with the lure and threat of getting high test scores in their educational journey. This means that the motivation to do these tests is overly extrinsic (Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment). Many students mainly learn with the expectation of getting a reward. While keeping score is a useful tool to provide justification for innately intrinsic behavior (learning), it leads to over-justification when used in abundance. Extrinsic over-justification kills Intrinsic Motivation (like creativity, problem-solving and long term thinking). Preparing for the future you say? Not in the current system!

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-23-22-04

In fact the pressure on students is increased even more by parents who constantly push for more homework and better test performances. They leverage their social relationship with their children (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness), which leads to increased anxiety for children who fear disapproval by their family (leading to Core Drive 8: Fear and Avoidance of Loss). As parents themselves have been raised in the same reward based system as their children, it is only natural that they push the way they do. Unfortunately.

3. School is boring…

Humans don’t like to sit through long, one-directional lectures or read through long texts. We learn through stories. We learn through doing and trial and error.
Crucial in this respect is that students want to feel a sense of agency in their learning. With this I mean that you need to feel that you feel like you are in control of your own path/life and that you believe in your capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior.

Unfortunately, the overly one-directional teaching method takes agency away from children and leads to underdeveloped feedback on your own autonomous choices (Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback). Since this Core Drive is a long term motivator for people, this underdevelopment leads to even less intrinsic motivation to learn in the long term. Extrinsic overjustification beat the intrinsic motivation down and the loss of a sense of agency is slowly killing it off…

What can we do? Is all lost?
A system that has been sustained over many generations will take time to change. Don’t expect an educational revolution anytime soon. Teachers and parents themselves are wary of change and even children that have been in the system may find the change awkward at first.

Most people suffer from Status Quo bias (Core Drive 8), which means that our brains actively resist any change regardless of the rational benefit of the change. So, we need to make small steps, but significant ones! Let’s see what we can do:

Create a Journey that children can believe in
Children often feel that school is a road to nowhere. Parents often like to pitch distant ‘adult’ goals: “You can become a doctor if you study hard. Or a veterinarian!”. Children believe in such dream only in role play, where they can actually act like they are in these jobs already. They hardly ever get motivated to do well at school because of this dangling of distant opportunities. It’s not present enough to be motivational.

What can work better is to let students join a Journey to a higher purpose that is connected to concrete daily or weekly activities. Epic themes, like saving the animal world, and combatting poverty are themes that children can relate to. Connect these themes to learning activities (the educational desired actions) so that doing their homework, or finishing a group assignment progresses them on their Journey with that higher purpose. When the class levels up through completing these tasks they unlock awesome new content or it allows them to invite an environmental specialist who shares her secrets about how to save animals. This also contributes greatly to a sense of agency and progress (Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment).

Adjust the grading system to reflect the leveling up system
Our current test grading system often feels like a pass or fail environment. A zero-sum extrinsic rewards set up that leads children to do just enough to pass, nothing more. In games you almost never lose your full progress, you just stay at the level you were at and if you fail you just try again. Until you discover how to solve problem. The objective is not passing (or failing) but learning how to overcome obstacles and learning through non-linear learning.

If we grade students with levels and experience points they will not have the fear of losing as much as they do now. You never fail hard, only need to try again while keeping your level intact. The only option is progress, in whatever speed you are capable of.

Create Class Group Quests where individual goals and that of the group overlap.
Social cohesion in classes is mostly lagging and many students feel out of place in their class group. Create Group Quests (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness) so that students can complete and focus on collaboration more than competition. Make sure that students can contribute at their own level and allow them to contribute in the areas that they are particularly good at. Group Quests work really well if you design it in a way that individual goals of students (leveling up to unlock new skills and power ups) overlap with the quest (here the Epic Journey theme can play a great role).

Ensure enough Unpredictability in their Journey to add additional fun and spice!
School mostly feels like a drag for students: the same routine everyday (a little bit how work feels for most people). It is important to design for unpredictable events to happen relatively often (but irregularly).

Make sure that unexpected surprises are build in. Students need to know that these surprises will come if they do desired actions (finish an assignment) but they don’t know when they will happen or what the surprise reward will be. Perhaps there is a mystery speaker that turns up one day. Another day students get to play their favorite game for an hour or get 15 minutes more playtime outside.

Create a number of choices that students can take to level up in their path.
Not everybody is good in the same topics. Allow students to focus more on their strengths and desist from continuous hammering on improving weaknesses. In games, we don’t put our healers in the battle front line nor do we keep tanks in the back line. Every player type has their own preferences and playing style. In the end though, each path reaches a satisfying outcome.

Highlight and praise the strengths of a student’s strong area every alternate week. One week it can be Sports, the other it is Math, and the next Languages. Make sure to emphasise how the particular strength is going to contribute to the joint Epic Meaning and Calling Journey and how students can profit from using the strengths of the other students to advance faster in their individual Journey.

Is there more?
The above are just a few easy to implement changes that will result in increased student engagement. But it is still a far cry from structurally changing our educational system. In the end we want a system where there is no separation of the user experience in or out of the classroom.
A system where children happily do homework assignments as they enable them to level up in their Journey, while constantly unlocking new skills and new areas to discover or conquer. A system that will allow them to work on assignments with their classmates online, or even with other kids of their level globally. There is no reason for education to be limited by national boundaries anymore. In real life and through social media we are already constantly in contact with people from different nationalities and cultures and we should open our educational system to be a much more global system.

What if we could build an Alternate Reality Game (a game that uses the real world as a platform and connects it to virtual experience(s)) for education that makes the above reality. A system perhaps as addictive as Minecraft, Candy Crush or World of Warcraft. We know that we have the technology and design knowledge to do this, so it only needs resources and commitment to pull it off.

In terms of economic feasibility, such a game would be a no-brainer. The global user base for such a compelling game would be in the hundreds of millions users and low fee subscription revenues would be astounding.

It needs leadership and political will to make this happen though. At Octalysis we believe in this mission, and will push for educational change whenever we speak in public or interact with officials. Help us with our mission to change the world by sharing this blog post or write to us!

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

FREE lessons learned from Octalysis Design projects

FREE lessons learned from Octalysis Design projects

Ever did a project and thought: “Mm, I have seen this challenge before. Maybe with another client? Dang, I wish I had written down the things I learned then, to make my life easier now!”

We do a lot of projects and try to learn our lessons well: after every project we write them down. Now we have a handy database with lessons learned that all our team members can tap into!

Let me share two lessons here, just to give you a taste of what is in our database. Unfortunately, I cannot share a lot of client information or design slides due to NDAs, but the below examples will give you a taste of what kind of lessons we were happy to learn!

octalysisgamification

1.     DON’T GET FOOLED BY THE FUNCTIONALITY SHOW

Many of our clients have awesome UI/UX designers working for them. Man, these people really know how to make functionality look good! So good, that some of our clients start to believe that the functionality is so beautiful that people will automatically want to engage with it. In addition, because clients spent a lot of time designing their product concepts, they have a lot of feelings of ownership over their products (Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession). They are often so enamored with what the product functionality can DO, that they think everybody will automatically want to interact with it.

 

Unfortunately, this belief is misguided. Many games have AMAZING UI that works flawlessly when you interact with it. But many ‘beautiful’ games are still boring and financial failures. Yes, looks do matter, but in the end they do not determine whether users will interact with your product.

Minecraft is the classical example of an ‘ugly’ game doing very well indeed. In the non-game world there are examples aplenty too: many Alpha or Beta products that come on the market are not beautiful at all, but can nevertheless be hugely successful.

 

The secret sauce here is that these products have optimized their designs for maximum user engagement. They often allow user unlimited autonomy (Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback) like in Minecraft. Often they also manage to create a curiosity push for the user to constantly want to experience more and leave them wondering what is next (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity). Facebook ‘s design is a good example here.

Add design that allows users to have meaningful interaction with others (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness), which Linkedin still doesn’t do that well, and you have a good base for your functionality to thrive in long term.

LESSON LEARNED: FUNCTIONALITY IS IMPORTANT, AND BAD FUNCTIONALITY LEAVES PEOPLE FEELING STUPID, BUT IN THE END IT IS THE USER ENGAGEMENT THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE.

octalysisgamificationreferral

2.     THE POWER OF MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL REFERRAL PROGRAMS

We often get asked: “Please make our product go viral. We need to reach 1000% growth in the next 6 months. Can you help us?”.

Virality has been a HUGE buzzword worldwide and many people are looking for the holy grail to grow their user base. A growing user base can mean the difference between an investor wanting to invest or leave you sitting in the cold (sometimes literally!).

Now, there are many ways to help a product go viral. SEO and effective marketing are very important of course. But we have seen most viral growth through User Referral Design. User referral is not as easy as just asking people to refer friends and reward them for their efforts. Straight up monetary rewards are expensive and giving someone a bit of extra XP wears off quickly after the initial second of happiness.

 

Also, people are very hesitant to include their friends in your database unless they are really convinced it is worth it and they do not look too silly. Only when you have a very large user base and MANY people use your product, a blank referral may work. Farmville did this successfully. Remember the requests for sheep, combines and other useful ‘offers’ we got through Facebook requests? Too annoying right?

 

For us the trick has been to make the referrals connected to mutually beneficial boosters. Boosters have the effect that the user can do more in the experience (and save more money for example) for a limited period of time. So we do not say: “If you refer a friend, we will give you a $5 discount on the $15 price”, but we make it so that every referral becomes a power up.

 

We design it so that people get a xx% of the price for every friend they refer, up to a 100% discount (referrals need to happen within 15 days for example). At the same time, your friend gets an immediate $10 discount on their first bill. We dangle the prospect of getting something for FREE which would make us feel very accomplished (Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment). It really feels like you are doing your friend a favor as he gets $10 off without having to do anything in return but just pick up the discount (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness).

 

Obviously this does not always work and if the product is irrelevant for your friend, it will still be annoying for him. No need to send me referral request if you are selling bikinis! Oh, and remember to always offer referral programs after the user has reached a Major Win State. This occurs when people have taken a major desired action the experience that is beneficial for the product owners. So for AirBnb, for example, the first major win state for renters would be hosting, and getting paid by, their first guests.

 

Oh, if you don’t believe the results: for La Quinta hotels and resorts we reached a K-factor of 700% (every user referred 7 other users). Another client now gets close to 50% of all its new users from our referral system.

 

LESSON LEARNED: USE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL BOOSTERS IN YOUR DESIGN TO SPEED UP USER BASE GROWTH.

 

At The Octalysis Group we have many more lessons learned that we use in our consulting work with clients. Let us know if you want us to advise you on how to grow your own user base through Octalysis Human Focused Design.

 

Joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

 

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Top 5 Lessons to Follow when Designing Octalysis Gamification

Top 5 Lessons to Follow when Designing Octalysis Gamification

hands counting from one to five isolated on white background

There we were. Speechless, and a bit ashamed at the same time. Did we really have to redesign the full Octalysis design set up we did for this client? How was this even possible? So much work, for naught…what a disaster!

We had spent weeks making sure we knew exactly what business metrics our client wanted to improve. We had analyzed who our primary users were and what motivated them. Ran through all desired actions, feedback mechanics and rewards (Octalysis Strategy Dashboard). And finally we had come up with amazing features that would be included in our visual wireframes. This would be an epic experience, filled with little gems and with great balance between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation!

“Everything in our system can be integrated and designed exactly the way you want us too. There are no limits to what we can do!”, said the Marketing Director. We had believed her. She spoke for the company! Surely she had checked all of this? We were happy campers…until that meeting with the corporate IT Manager: “Mm, well, you see…we are using this 3rd party CRM system. And…er…nothing is really adjustable, unless you are willing to pay BIG money”.

We just fell for the most blatant overconfidence bias ever. We should have checked with IT ourselves rather than relying on what corporate heavyweights were telling us. It felt like a beginner’s mistake. Luckily in the end we found a way out, and we managed to implement a very engaging experience. But it was a costly lesson, and one we will not repeat ever again (and we haven’t).

We don’t wish for other people to experience the agony we went through, or make other avoidable mistakes when preparing for design work. So, here are our Top 5 Lessons to follow when designing Octalysis Gamification. Learn from what we have learned, for free!

download

Narrow down your clients’ priorities

You always want to create a relationship of trust with your clients, but never forget that you have an advisory role. You are hired to give advice, discover possibilities and help set priorities. Many of our clients have a long list of priorities that they want to see implemented. But often it is better to be 80% great for the top 20% priorities, rather than being 20% good for the 80%.

Help them prioritize by creating Tier 1 and Tier 2 priorities to make sure that you have solid objectives to design for. Always ask them questions like: “If there is one Business Metric that would make this product a success, what would that one Business Metric be?”

Oh, and always make sure you take a firm stand on the priority setting during the design process and to avoid mission or feature creep: the tendency to want constantly more and newer features before even the basic product has been established.

download-1

Some of our first contacts with clients are through charismatic high level visionaries in companies. They are Octalysis fans and want to use the potential of our method to get an edge over the competition. Often these managers/owners are very persuasive. Since it is their role to advocate new directions in the company, they are more preoccupied with the big picture rather than the IT details. However, these details often matter a lot and can lead to huge obstacles.

So as a rule: always involve the IT managers or CTOs in your discussions from the outset. They are the people that can tell you what can and cannot be done in the app or site. Always double check with IT what is possible, lest you design a Ferrari sports car that has to drive on a 4×4 back end!

download-2

Insist on clear and timely feedback

Many start up leaders and corporate managers have many priorities that need to be addressed simultaneously. Gamification design may be important to them, but so are marketing, accounts, investments, personnel and many other areas. These can sometimes take full attention away from what you are trying to design for your client. Don’t blame them for it! Recognize that this is company reality and adjust.

Make sure that you insist on regular feedback so that you can move on with the design process. Even better, try to present a concrete deliverable to discuss with the core team every week. This way people will stay involved and constantly interested in knowing what is next (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity). Examples of deliverables: new features to be designed; the in game economy; levels, badges; and, of course, visual wireframes!

download-3

Stand behind your expertise!

A good Octalysis designer is an multi colored expert in its own right. Octalysis combines insights in behavioral science, UI/UX, project planning, game design and a few more! You have built up insights that other experts do not have: they are either too tunnel focused (maybe only on UI/UX) or are too general in what they know. Octalysis fills the gap between big picture and the overly detail-orientation of some experts.

Don’t get sold by people that say they already have created a User Journey, when all they have is a UI/UX deck of slides that show how you can get from function A to function B. That is NOT user experience, nor a User Journey. Explain them that we are interested in WHY people would want to use the UI/UX presented, not so much in the fact that this functionality is there. Also don’t give in to people who just want to add “this Gamification layer” to their existing product and expect it to be amazing or engaging (hint: it won’t). In your feedback, however, do not be patronizing. Just tell them what limitations their vision or choices will have on the ROI of their product. Remember: you are a consultant, not an oracle!

download-4

Recognize what your client really wants

Many clients hire The Octalysis Group because to recognize the power of Octalysis and how implementing it can set them apart from their competitors. However, it does mean that our products are more refined and need a bit more work than just slapping some Points, Badges and Leaderboards (PBL) on a product. Quality just needs a bit more time to shine.

It also requires setting expectations with clients. If they want something fast and launch quickly, we can still do a PBL design for them (and ensure they will have far superior in-game economy than most off the shelf products). It won’t be as engaging as the full Octalysis premium package, but it will be better, much better, than the average product.

So what’s next?

Well, that’s up to you! We showed you some of our lessons learned, but we have learned so much more over the years. Contact us to know how we can put those lessons in practice in your company or for your product. Profit from our lessons learned rather than making mistakes yourself!

joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Octalysis Gamification and the Hypocrite Brain

Octalysis Gamification and the Hypocrite Brain

My friend told me the other day that she is really angry about the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest by palm oil producers. “It’s a shame! All these poor animals that die just because people want to buy highly processed food that is full of palm oil. It makes me sad!”

The following morning, I saw her prepare breakfast and she layered a nice sandwich with chocolate paste (which is full of palm oil).

Another friend (who is a diplomat) told me that she was very happy to go on a cruise with other diplomats to an island that was endangered by climate change. There, she would join a conference to discuss ways on how to mitigate climate change. She was well aware that cruise travel is highly contributing to climate change, but it did not seem to matter.

How come we are all so hypocrite sometimes? How come my friend wants to save the world’s forests by not eating palm oil products, but then cannot help herself to really really want to eat that processed chocolate bar (with a lots of palm oil in it)? What’s wrong with us? Let’s find out and maybe even find a few Octalysis angles!

Successful Irrational Beings by design?

We know now that we are highly irrational in our behavior and seemingly not completely in charge of what we want and need. Leading psychologists, like Benjamin Libet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet) maintain that we actually do not have free will. We only have free wont: the power to consciously not do things that we unconsciously want to do.

Great, so we are irrational weirdo’s? Surely there is more sense that we can make out of our brains? Isn’t there a very rational reason behind all this rationality? How can Homo Sapiens have become arguably the most successful creature ever and be an illogical being? Man cannot become the Top Dog on this planet by being mainly plain stupid and designed badly. Right?

Many of our decision biases, errors, and misjudgments might actually not be design flaws; instead, they may be great design features that have brought us where we are today. Moreover, our biases and inconsistencies may exist because we do not have one super brain that calculates a net motivation balance and then acts on it. Rather, our brain is fragmented in different components, all with different purposes and different time objectives. Some of these work together and some of these don’t. It explains our inconsistencies and biases and it explains why these biases are so important for us.

So why is this important? Well, once we accept the fact that we do not have one big centrally guided brain, but possess merely a collection of semi-independent parts, it becomes much easier to understand why people can be motivated simultaneously by, for example, Epic Meaning and Calling as well as Scarcity and Impatience. Or why we really want that last brownie in the shop now, while simultaneously are struggling to save every penny we can spare for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or Mecca. Also it makes it easier to know how certain design can empower certain motivation, while keeping other motivation “down” (even if they exist at the same time in our brains).

The Brain’s priorities

Lots has been written about the factors that determine what we find important in life. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has become well known for detailing what humans think they need and in what order. According to Maslow we desire to fulfill in order: Physiological needs; Safety needs; Love and belonging; Esteem; Self-actualization and Self-Transcendence.

Deci and others have taken another angle and looked at needs that all human beings share. Their Self Determination Theory states that Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness are needs that are priorities for humans.

The Octalysis Framework has folded the analysis of what motivates us in a coherent framework. The 8 Core Drives for motivation show us what human core drives need to be present for any motivation to exist. If none of these Core Drives are present, there is no motivation and no behavior happens.

But the problem with motivation is that it is not a black and white picture: we are motivated by different needs at the same time. Maslow’s hierarchy nor the Self-Determination Theory cannot explain why some poor people without housing use their money for alcohol, rather than improve their house for example. This is where the concept of the Elemental Brain comes in.

The Elemental Brain

Most people that think about their brain, think of it is as one unit that weighs options, needs and wants and then somehow autonomously makes the decision on whether to act or not. Some of us have accepted that sometimes we do or think things subconsciously and against our, what we then call “Self Interest”. But we still feel that The Brain is in power.

The problem with this thinking is that if The Brain makes these weighted decisions, what or who does the weighing and who is in charge? And if there is something in charge, what steers that something? Also, what is “doing things against our Self Interest”? Surely everything we do is for some reason or another? Isn’t eating that extra chocolate bar also in my Self Interest? Doesn’t it also fulfill a need that my Self, or should we say our Selves, has identified?

More and more it is clear that there isn’t a Something or Self that is making our decisions. Rather there are most likely different, often competing, parts of our brain that want different things at the same time. Sometimes these parts communicate with each other and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes their ‘wants’ get resolved and sometimes they co-exist.

In this way, Martin Luther King was known to have various mistresses, but at the same time he preached family values and sexual restraint. Obviously some elements did not resolve their differences…

In the same vein, there are elements in your brain that are responsible for communicating with the world around you (what Robert Kutzban in “Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite” calls your ‘Press Secretary’). Their role is to show to your friends and family that you are complying or even excelling to actions, norms and values that connect you to the group or groups you are part of.

So one part of your brain may want to “do” one thing, and another part may make you feel that you want to do the opposite, but meanwhile you tell your colleagues that you will actually do something else. An example: I tell my colleagues that I will work hard on my tasks in the weekend. Another part of my brain makes me feel that I should mow the lawn. What I do in the weekend is play games instead. All motivations exist at the same time, yet only one wins out over the others.

Designing to catch the elements

Gotcha.png

In Octalysis Design we use our knowledge of elementary motivation to create experiences that appeal to the users’ brain components that we want to be in charge. We know that motivation is a function of:

•    Environment: the way we design the user experience determines a large part of the motivation we create. By tweaking our designs to either more short term oriented brain elements or rather long term elements, we will get a very different motivational outcome.

•    History: we all carry a history of how we have been raised, what we have experienced before and how we always do things. Often you do not want to do new things because of this Status Quo Sloth situation (Octalysis Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance). At the same time  once we have done the “new thing” a number of times, it becomes a habit and it can supercede our previous habits.

•    State: the way you ‘feel’ determines what elements are more dominant. We know for example that ovulating women tend to have more affairs. And when you are hungry (or see pictures of yummy food that is out of reach) or stressed you often take more short term extrinsically motivated paths.

As you can see this goes further than determining a Player Type to see what “person” you have to design for. Johnny is not just an Explorer or Killer. In fact he can be both. He may be a “socializer” at work in between colleagues, a competitive “killer” at home and an explorer during his nature walks. The way we design and what state we can bring people in through our designs has a major impact on how the Player Type evolves along the way!

To conclude: there is a lot more fragmentation in our brains than we know. This makes that people can be seen as hypocrite or even weak. But in a sense, we are all hypocrites. Even the most distinguished people have contradictions in their behavior, even flagrant ones (as the abuse in certain religious institutions has shown us).

These kinds of excesses are awful and cannot be condoned. But they also have a positive flipside: you don’t have to be so hard on yourself the next time that you break your good intentions. It is part of human nature. More importantly: don’t be so hard on others whenever you feel they are hypocrite. You now know that all human beings are hypocrite sometimes.

From a design perspective, our insights into how our fragmented brains really work helps us designing better for really engaging experiences through Octalysis. This is what we do at The Octalysis Group, day-in and day-out. If you want our help in designing high quality design for your product, company or organization, contact us:

joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

The Scientific Foundations of the Octalysis Framework

The Scientific Foundations of the Octalysis Framework

The Scientific Foundations of the Octalysis Framework

Any serious framework that aims to explain and predict human behavior needs to build on solid scientific evidence. The Octalysis Framework does just that and combines all this evidence in a unified framework for human behavioral analysis. It merges scientific insights from the following academic fields into one coherent analytical and actionable framework for human motivational design:

Behavorial Economics

This scientific field studies the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the decisions of individuals and the impact of different kinds of behavior, in different environments of varying experimental values.  Behavioral models typically integrate insights from psychology, neuroscience and microeconomic theory; in so doing, these behavioral models cover a range of concepts, methods, and fields.

The Octalysis Framework most notably has incorporated crucial insights from Noble Prize winners (in particular Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky) and other acclaimed scientists in the field (Richard Thaler; Robert Cialdini; Dan Ariely et al). Most of these insights pertain to heuristics and biases that lead people’s behaviors rather than rational analysis.

Sample literature list:

  • Kahneman, Daniel; Tversky, Amos (1979). “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk”
  • Thaler, Richard H. 1992. The Winner’s Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life.
  • Thaler, Richard H. 1993. Advances in Behavioral Finance
  • Cialdini, R. B. (1984). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Positive/ Motivational Psychology

In particular: the Self Determination Theory (SDT) by Deci, Ryan et al. SDT is a theory of human motivation that concerns people’s innate psychological needs. It is concerned with the motivation behind choices that people. SDT focuses on the degree to which an individual’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined.

In addition, The Octalysis Framework integrates insights from Flow Theory, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he is doing. It is characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.

Sample literature list:

  • Deci, E. L. (1971). Effects of externally mediated rewards on intrinsic motivation.
  • Deci, E. L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation.
  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behaviour
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow : the psychology of optimal experience.

Other Sources

We have been influenced by many other sources as well, in particular from the realm of Game Design and UI/UX Interfacing. Jesse Schell’s A Book of Lenses in particular has been valuable. We consider these sources very valuable but since they are not scientific, we shall not detail them further at the moment.

If you want to know more about the proven science behind our work and the Octalysis Framework itself, or how we can help you create great engagement please contact Joris Beerda:

Joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Gamification of Pensions: Octalysis advises UK Government

Gamification of Pensions: Octalysis advises UK Government

Gamification of Government

The subject of pensions is arguably one the most boring topics that you can talk to younger generations about. It is considered uncool and is mostly related to old people and finance. How could it get any less exciting? Many younger people do not seem to care one bit about pensions, and it is endangering their own financial futures as well as that of the pension system as a whole.

So could Octalysis Gamification come to the rescue? Can we perhaps make (preparing for) pensions fun and engaging?

The Octalysis Group just started some initial advisory for the UK Department for Works and Pensions to achieve just that. But why are they so interested in making pension systems fun and engaging? What has changed suddenly? My grandparents and parents surely did not need to be engaged.

Let’s find out!

The Pension Crisis

The population in the developed world is quickly getting older. This means that in the future, there will be more pensioners living off the tax contributions of others. In a sense, the pension fund acts like a benevolent Pyramid Scheme: it can only continue to grow if enough people keep contributing and the majority of the members do not take their money out of the system.

So far this has not been an issue, but we have now reached a state where the collective contributions to the pension funds system are increasingly lagging behind the uptake by pensioners of these funds. Average pension ages are being increased rapidly to try to stop the bleeding. For my age group it is expected that we will be able to take pension at age 73. This is 15 years later than the age that my mother retired at! But will it be enough to save the system? Many doubt it.

So with the future of the pension system (as we know it) in doubt, it is even more important that younger generations save more than their parents and grandparents. The problem is that they don’t. They save even less. Young people seem to have lost any interest whatsoever to start saving and governments around the world have no clue how to change it.

Luckily the UK Government and its charismatic Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann, are forward looking. The Baroness has publicly stated that she thinks that Gamification is the way forward for pension systems. Last month we did some initial advisory to help her department discover what Octalysis Gamification can do to create engagement for pensions.

The Discovery Phase of Pensions

In the 4 Experience Phases of Octalysis, the Onboarding Phase is where users find out why they even want to interact with your product. The product here is pensions (more specifically Workplace Pensions).

In this phase we want to create curiosity based on something new and exciting that is also supported by other people we can relate to. At the same time, we want to create some urgency to act/buy now (rather than to appeal to a vague ‘Good Cause’).

Unfortunately, Workie did not learn about Octalysis or Behavioral Science when he started his promotions, which meant the campaign was doomed to fail.

In fact, the video already fails within 10 seconds. The commentator laments about Workie (the embodiment of Workplace Pensions): “…at the moment, unfortunately, people are ignoring him”. The producers try to appeal to Octalysis Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness, to make people want to act (out of pity). In fact, what they achieve is the opposite. If nobody wants to engage with Workie, why should anybody? In this case, anti-Core Drive 5 leads to Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance. People have just become even less enthusiastic about pensions!

In Yu-kai Chou’s book Actionable Gamification, Yu-kai writes about a National Park in Arizona that was trying to prevent people from stealing their petrified wood. In an experiment, when they put up a sign that says, “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, destroying the natural state of the Petrified Forest,” theft of the petrified wood not only did not decrease, it nearly triple! That is because when people see that it is the Norm that people are stealing, they think they should steal too.

So does the video at least bring anything exciting or a promise of future benefits for citizens? Strangely enough no. In the full 42 seconds clip there is no promise of anything that would make me feel accomplished or excited. There is no Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment.

In addition, the only thing that is (initially) mildly exciting, is Workie itself as he looks somewhat novel (but not necessarily slick or likable for a younger generation). But since he is actually a boring, slow-trotting and negative character, that excitement wears off within seconds. So we are left with no Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity push, and the lack of excitement adds to Anti Core Drive 8: let’s not waste my brain cell and valuable time to care about what this character has to say.

In the end we are only left with Core Drive 8 motivation, the type that makes you anxious and not in control. The final nail in the coffin here is that Workie starts to talk about fines and that you “need” to get a pension “by Law.” But obviously, if nobody is getting a workplace pension, why would you conform with the law huh? Social Proof tells your brain you don’t need to, so now the Big Brother threat sounds hollow. Also, by pointing out it is a legal requirement to compensate for  it not being appealing, Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience will cause people (especially the younger generation) to want to rebel against it even more. “Oh, here is something that no one likes and you don’t want to do. Please have sympathy. But if not, Big Brother will force you to do it against your will!”

In fact, if there should be Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance (which generally drives urgency which is good), it would be much better to show negative consequences of these people ignoring Workie . “Look, everyone is ignoring Workie. They don’t care. But oops! Look what happened to them later.” The fear tactic should not be about making the government sound evil, but from the actual negative effects of such behavior.

Also, we know from Behavioral Science that when there is a fear tactic, there MUST be a simple direct action item that alleviate that fear, or else people move into denial mode and prefer to not think about it. At the end, the narrator talks about the website to learn more about the workplace pension, which is good. However, the Desired Action can be more clearly presented on the screen, as opposed to the passive message, “Don’t ignore the workplace pension.” It should be actively telling them to visit the website now with large fonts, preferably with a friendlier shortcut URL. We know that every action that the brain can’t comfortably process will hamper conversion rates. Having a long URL will create that cognitive dissonance and make people who have an intention to do something procrastinate until later (until they retire?). It is better to have a shorter link such as VisitWorkie.co.uk that continues on the story of Workie and how the audience can help him make the future better for everyone.

The future of Gamification in the UK Pension System

Baroness Altmann, the Minister of State for Pensions recognized the failings of the previous campaigns. She has come out as a fan of Gamification and we think that is a smart move. Pensions is a boring topic, so it is not easy to create engagement around the theme, based on content alone. You need to make the experience surrounding pension systems more engaging and Octalysis Gamification can help.

Just as we have achieved with other Governments Institutions and companies, the key lies in making the experience so engaging that people hardly feel they are focusing on pensions. It is the experience around it that creates the engagement push. The interaction with pensions will now lead to win states in the game, so all of a sudden it becomes fun and rewarding to deal with planning your financial future. We have designed Gamification for all sorts of boring and “unsexy” topics, ranging from healthcare all the way to SEC compliance training for financial firms. Before our designs, people would only learn about these rules because their boss told them to do it (Core Drive 8, you do it because you are afraid to lose your job or promotion). Now they learn in fun ways and even are excited to interact with the content when they are not at work!

It is not yet clear where our contacts with the UK Government will lead to. It would be great if the UK Government and the Octalysis Group could work together and resolve these challenges in engagement. Octalysis is ready to play its part. Pension systems are essential for societies. We are happy to help avoid a future where the elderly have no money and have to rely on family and friends to survive.

Let’s use the power of Octalysis to prevent this dreaded image from ever becoming a reality.

If you want to know more about what Octalysis can do for your organization to drive engagement, contact us at:

Joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Exclusive content: secret Octalysis Gamification design tips

Exclusive content: secret Octalysis Gamification design tips

(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.)

If you have read the first chapters of the book, you have built a strong foundation for understanding the 8 Core Drives, their natures, and how they individually and collaboratively influence our behavior. However, this does not necessarily mean this knowledge can be easily applied to designing an engaging gamified experience that also fulfill business metrics. For that, we need another tool.

After some of my talks on Octalysis, some people ask, “How do I actually start to design a gamified campaign with the 8 Core Drives? I can now create an experience that’s interesting and engaging but I’m not sure how that will drive business success.”

In order to design a successful project, we need the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard.

The Octalysis Strategy Dashboard is a constantly evolving document that clarifies the most important aspects of a Gamification campaign. It focuses the attention on the critical elements that will ultimately direct your efforts for maximum impact.

The Strategy Dashboard contains five critical elements:

  1. Business Metrics, leading to Game Objectives
  2. Users, leading to Players
  3. Desired actions, leading to Win-States
  4. Feedback Mechanics, leading to Triggers
  5. Incentives, leading to Rewards

The Strategy Dashboard should provide a minimum amount of critical information to help clients execute an actionable Gamification campaign to drive their business metric goals.

1   Business Metrics = Game Objectives

Business Metrics are the key numbers and results that the business wants to improve on. These are high-level items that the company may present to their executives or investors in order to show the campaign’s success.

Some Business Metrics are the numbers that indicate success for your business. They include Revenue, Daily Active Users over Monthly Active Users, Conversions, Time Spent on Site, Retained Users, Registrations, etc. If these numbers are growing, your business is in good shape.

When defining Business Metrics, make sure they are quantifiable and prioritized in order of importance. We need to be able to track success, benchmark against other campaigns, and even run split tests to see which of your efforts produce the best results.

Business Metrics also needs to be prioritized in the order of importance to your business. If you try to get users to do everything on one screen, users will face decision paralysis, leave your site, and go back to their comfort zone.

If by implementing a gamified campaign, your Business Metrics have not improved, then we have failed the Game Objective.

2   Users = Players

Users are the second element to define within the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard.

Whatever model we use, we need to ensure that we define user categories based on how they are differently motivated. We don’t want groups that seem different, but are motivated in a similar fashion. This will make it more difficult to optimally design Desired Actions for the Win-State.

For instance, employees are often more motivated based on their positions in the company, than by gender. As a result, it may be more productive to divide the users into “Managers” and “Workers” rather than “Males” and “Females”.

Creating Octalysis Charts for your User Personas

Once users have been identified we can start to apply custom Octalysis Charts for all these players using the Octalysis Tool (this can be found at http://www.yukaichou.com/octalysis-tool).

By considering which of the 8 Core Drives motivate which user types more, we can then identify and implement game elements that appeal best to those Core Drives.

By understanding why the user does not take the desired actions, one can address it authentically and constructively engage the issue instead of chasing around the bush on topics that are irrelevant to the user.

Once the Users are defined, we have the Players for the gamified system.

3   Desired Actions = Win-States

Desired Actions are the third element to define in any Octalysis Gamification campaign. Desired Actions are the little steps we want users to take such as: go onto the website, fill out the form, register, come back every day, click on the ad, sign up for the newsletter, etc.

Whereas the Business Metrics are laid out in the order of importance, we want to lay out all the Desired Actions in chronological order based on the player’s journey. This is important because oftentimes what happens ten minutes before a Desired Action will significantly affect whether the user will do it or not.

No Step Too Small

One thing to remember when defining Desired Actions is that no action is too small to be included. In Octalysis Gamification, each Desired Action leads to a Win-State.

This means that every time the user commits the Desired Action, she has reached a Win-State and may receive some type of reward.

Whenever we are designing a gamified campaign, the Win-State in the user’s mind should always be accomplished by committing the Desired Action, which increases your Business Metrics. These three elements should always be aligned.

And this, again, is actually the core difference between Games and Gamification. Games can simply be fun and engaging, but Gamification has to improve your Business Metrics, and it has to drive behavior towards a certain productive activity.

 The First Major Win-State

One of the key practices to define your Win-States is to identify the First Major Win-State. The First Major Win-State is when a User first says, “Wow! This service/experience is awesome!” If your experience does not offer any Major Win-States, your experience is not emotionally compelling.

Once the First Major Win-State is determined, we want to count exactly how many minutes it takes for users to reach that First Major Win-State. With every second that goes by before a user hits the First Major Win-State, there will be dropout. The longer it takes to reach this experience, the higher your dropout rate will be

Creating a profile is not a First Major Win-State. Uploading a photo is not either. If it was 20 years ago, uploading your photo might be a First Major Win-State. “Wow! I can see my photo on a screen!” Not in today’s world, unfortunately.

Strong Win-State design is critical for the success of a Gamification campaign and their identification and masterful creation is fundamental in Level 4 Octalysis.

 4   Feedback Mechanics = Triggers

Feedback Mechanics are the fourth element to define in any Octalysis Gamification Campaign.

Feedback Mechanics are cues (often visual, but can be audio or use other senses) that users have to keep track of their progress towards the Win-State. These often come in the form of points, badges, levels, trophies, progress bars, and even avatars. In the end, Feedback Mechanics are meant to Trigger users to commit more Desired Actions.

User Metrics should align as much as possible with the Desired Actions and the Business Metrics. They should also be what users actually care about. Again, no matter what the Feedback Mechanics are, they should motivate users and be relevant to the flow of the experience. In addition, they should all be Triggers for users to further take the Desired Actions.

5   Incentives = Rewards

Incentives are the fifth and final element to define in the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard. Incentives are basically what we can give users within our power that rewards their behavior and entices them to further action.

After we have determined what we can give users, we want to strategically place these incentives in the different Win-States that we have designed to motivate players to feel great about committing the Desired Actions.

These Incentives become Rewards in a game. Rewards do not have to be merely physical rewards such as gift cards or cash, which is what most companies like to think about. Rewards can be physical, emotional, intellectual, or even spiritual.

 SAPS

A catchy and easy model to think about in terms of rewards is Gabe Zichermann’s SAPS model: Status, Access, Power, Stuff. The interesting thing about SAPS, is that as you go from Status to Access to Power to Stuff, the reward becomes more and more expensive for the company, but less and less sticky for the user.

It doesn’t cost us anything to tell you that you are amazing and you’re the #1 User on my site, and you will likely be excited about it for weeks or months and tell all your friends about your new status. But if we gave you cash, you likely will become excited for a few hours or a day, and then you may spend the money at a mall and then emotionally forget about it. Now your emotional state is wondering about when you will receive your next injection of cash.

Again, most companies like to give their employees stuff to incentivize them but it’s actually a lot more effective if you can figure out how to give them more status, exclusive access, or more power to control their environment..

6 Reward Context Derived from Octalysis

While SAPS describes the nature of the reward, there’s also a variety of Reward Contexts that can be derived from the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis.

With Octalysis, we loosely define six reward contexts that can be utilized, including:

  1. Fix Action Rewards (Earned Lunch)
  2. Random Rewards (Mystery Box)
  3. Sudden Rewards (Easter Egg)
  4. Rolling Rewards (Lottery)
  5. Social Treasure (Gifting)
  6. Reward Pacing (Collection Set)

Ultimately, these reward contexts are derived from Octalysis, because we are all incentivized by the Core Drives. Even if it’s not something you gain, avoiding a loss or satisfying your curiosity are also very strong rewards that can be strategically placed in every single one of your Win-States. Without them, users will have no reason to commit the Design Actions moving forward. 

Further Implementation

Once the Strategy Dashboard is completed, we will set out to design features for every Phase of the User Journey. Most people treat interacting with a product as one experience but we have to look at a product as 4 different products. The first day a users use LinkedIn, for example, is very different from subsequent days they use the site.

Once we have mapped out all features for the main users and all experience phases, we then set out to rate the motivational power these features against the ease of implementation of these features. In addition, we will map out the game structure, game levels and rewards. Finally we will design a suite of visual concept wireframes detailing (frame-by-frame) what the Octalysis Gamification Journey looks like. These wireframes are ready for product development by the art and development team.

For more information on how we can assist you in creating a truly motivational and long-lasting Gamified Experience, contact us!

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Playing the Starbucks Game – An Analysis through the Octalysis Lens

Playing the Starbucks Game – An Analysis through the Octalysis Lens

Starbucks was one of the first iconic chains that transformed commodity consumption into a daily gratifying experience. For years, millions of coffee enthusiasts treated Starbucks as their “third place” beyond work and home. This is not only because of its culture and overall experience, but also because of their highly effective gamified mobile app.

The main structure of Starbucks’ loyalty program is a “stamp card,” where a customer gets a “stamp” every time they make a purchase. After a certain number of stamps, a free reward is given. Other stores have this type of marketing initiative, but these “cards” tend to be forgotten or thrown away. I have collected many of these but rarely have I followed through to receiving the freward, except Starbucks.

So why was I so engrossed with Starbucks? Why did I keep going back even when its coffee isn’t necessarily superior to coffee from other mom-and-pop stores?

After my constant visits to Starbucks, I noticed my motivation was fueled by its loyalty program’s gamified experience. I’ll be using Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis Framework to analyze the reasons behind my motivation in this Starbucks Experience.

For those who are not familiar with the Octalysis Framework, you can read about it on The Octalysis Group Website. Throughout this article, I will also define keywords on Octalysis and gamification. Hover over underlined words to view the definition.

Overall, Starbucks incorporates mostly Left Brain Core Drives, which deploys Extrinsic Motivation to reel in and keep their customers. The Left Brain Core Drives include:

But unlike other companies that apply these Core Drive, Starbucks went a few steps further and tied them in with Right Brain Core Drives, which deploy Intrinsic motivation such as (Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback Core Drive 3; Social Influence and Relatedness (Core Drive 5); and Unpredictability and Curiosity (Core Drive 7) to increase sales.

I will analyze how this implicitly gamified design uses the 8 Core Drives in each of the 4 Experience Phases: Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame. Let’s first start with the Discovery Phase.

Discovery Phase of the Starbucks Experience

The Discovery Phase is when a user, or in this case, the customer, becomes aware of and decides to try out the experience. For Starbucks, it is obvious that a Starbucks coffee shop is easy to find. Placing a shop every other block becomes a trigger that creates “cognitive ease.” This is a concept expressed in Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment, which allows the customers to easily achieve the desired action of buying their food/drink. This ubiquitous placement primes us with a sense of familiarity, and thus we subconsciously succumb to social conformity (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness).

But even if there’s a Starbucks everywhere I go, what really triggered me to make that first purchase and transition from hardly ever drinking coffee to becoming a coffee addict? What made me stop going to my favorite local coffee shop that used aromatic Peruvian coffee beans? Well, my friend gave me a Starbucks gift card.

But so what? There are other coffee chains and we all know that a gift card is not a novel concept, so why Starbucks? To answer the first part, let me reference Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational.” He states that Starbucks owed much of its success in the beginning by “selling fancy French coffee presses, showcasing alluring snacks” and offering their sizes as Short, Tall, Grande, and Venti along with “high-pedigree named” drinks.

Starbucks created a new anchor, an anchor that gave a different ambience, a different feeling — a feeling of “Elitism.” This sense of pride may be downplayed in the U.S. or European countries, but it definitely is strong in other areas of the world such as Asia where people would brag about buying a drink at Starbucks. Whether or not you have a sense of “Elitism” with Starbucks, it doesn’t matter, the brand has now become anchored into the minds of many coffee consumers as the go to coffee shop.

What made the gift card different was that it was synced to a mobile app. The owner of the card can sign up for a Starbucks membership to receive bonuses and rewards that links it back to the card. With the mobile app, you can store as many cards as you want virtually, allowing you to share your card with family and friends to help you score more rewards. In addition to this, Starbucks is well known for their cute, artsy cards that make them even more appealing.

One issue, however, is that there isn’t a strong push for the desired action of downloading the app. From my personal experience, I actually didn’t download the app until after I shared my card with my family and needed two ways to swipe my card.

This weak link exists among the three mediums: membership sign up, card registration, and app download. When a customer obtains a card, it isn’t very clear right away that they need to register their card and sign up to receive benefits. Also, if a customer who doesn’t have a card directly signs up on the site, they still don’t receive benefits because they need a registered card to swipe.

Then they’d have to make the effort to buy the card and register before earning a point on their next purchase. The process isn’t streamlined and can cause frustration within the user. Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance pushes them to avoid the action and eventually the customer may never go through the loyalty program.

Downloading the mobile app leads the user to the desired action of signing up but not visa versa. The push to download the mobile app is very low in the experience and can be a critical area where users don’t continue past the Discovery Phase of the loyalty program.

Starbucks needs to make the information about the membership and mobile app more transparent and noticeable in their overall experience through better application of Triggers and possibly Black Hat Design (since it drives urgency). But once the customer discovers the membership and the mobile app, it’s on to the Onboarding Phase.

Onboarding Phase of the Starbucks Experience

The Onboarding Phase occurs during the first few purchases the customer makes and includes the learning process of the menu, the decision to sign up for the membership, and finally learning about the loyalty point system.

The loyalty point system, mentioned earlier, mainly pushes the extrinsic core drives. The customer starts out at the Welcome Level, moves on to the Green Level, then to the Gold Level where you earn a physical shiny golden card. Each level has its own benefits and requirements to unlock the next level (Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment and Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience).

The onboarding phase of the membership is well implemented during this phase because the customer needs only 5 stars (5 swipes) to reach the next level. This makes the customer feel accomplished and progressing.

Once the customer has made their first few purchases, leveled up to at least the Green level, and earned a reward, they then enter the Scaffolding Phase.

Scaffolding Phase of the Starbucks Experience

Within Starbucks, the Scaffolding Phase occurs when the customer becomes a regular customer and makes purchases consistently. During this phase, the customer starts to learn not only how they can modify their drinks (Meaningful Choices – Core Drive 3) and purchase items habitually, but they also engage in more initiatives the company introduces. To list a few:

  • Leveling Up
  • Starbucks for Life
  • Star Dash

Starbucks also gained habitual weekly visits to the store by laying out different free-app cards from the iTunes store every week, and promoting new products seasonally, thus pushing Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity within the customer.

Levelling up

Level and reward system within the loyalty program increase Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment, pushing customers to make purchases to accomplish higher levels within the loyalty program to obtain rewards and privileges (defined to be Core Drive 4: Ownership and Possession).

download

download-1

The interface of the mobile app has a feeling of extravagance, quality, and class to it as well as a fun interactive to-go cup to filled with Starbucks points, or “Bonus Stars,” in the form of gold stars that move around based on how the user moves their phone. The point system uses the common “buy X number of items and get a free item” technique. After a customer makes a person, they are reminded clearly that they have received a new reward – in their email, message box, and their history box within the app.

Once a customer registers their card, they are at the “Welcome Level” where they receive special Birthday Perks and a 15% discount off purchases. After obtaining 5 stars, the customer levels up to the “Green Level” where, in addition to the perks of the previous level, the customer receives free in-store brewed coffee and tea refills.

Finally, to obtain the last level, the “Gold Level,” the user has to work harder by gaining 30 stars within 12 months and maintain that level by completing the “30 stars in 12 months” requirement every year (Core Drive 6: Scarcity). This allows customers to receive a freebie of their choice every 12 stars and the beautiful shiny personalized Gold Card I mentioned earlier. The pairing of Core Drive 2 (Accomplishment) and Core Drive 6 (Scarcity) is so strong that even NFL Wide Receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson gave a video rant about how deeply disappointed that his Starbucks Gold Card was stolen because of all the coffee he had to drink to obtain it. He was even more disappointed about having his Gold Card than his credit cards stolen. And it was “not just any Starbucks card, but a Gold Starbucks card.”

Starbucks has elegantly implemented, what Yu-kai Chou calls the  “Collection Set” Game Technique #16 because:

  1. Stars are easy to obtain with a swipe of a card or a simple scan off your mobile phone and the feedback is instant and clear.
  2. Obtaining stars is tied into other Core Drives such as Creativity (a little), Social (a little), Ownership and Possession, Loss and Avoidance, and Scarcity

Starbucks for Life

“Starbucks for Life,” held during the winter season, is an initiative similar to McDonald’s Monopoly game that uses the “Collection Set” Game Technique. The customer, driven mainly by Core Drive 4: Ownership and Possession, earns a chance to unwrap a virtual gift box after making a purchase and the gift box can hold a number of icons that belong to a section: starbucks for life/a year/a week/a month.

Collecting 3 icons under a group rewards the player with the respective prize. Many companies use this game technique, but players tend to stop playing after learning about the nearly impossible probability of winning. This behavior is the result of what Yu-kai calls an Anti-Core Drive, when a core drive prevents behavior instead of motivating it. The anti-core drive of scarcity makes the user feel that the chances of not obtaining the prize is so high that the player gives up. Starbucks, however, provides meaningful feedback to the user, telling them how much of each prize is available and uses Social Proof (Core Drive 5) through the “Map of Cheer” to keep customers motivated by showing winners from all over the nation.This allows customers to feel like they have a chance (Core Drive 2)!

download

Giving users the chance to open the gift box not only gives the obvious sense of Curiosity and Unpredictability (Core Drive 7), but it also a bit of Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback by allowing the user to feel that they are being creative with the timing of their gift openings. Some players also feel they are more in control by thinking that if they spread out the openings, they are more likely to receive a new icon.

One downside of Starbucks for Life is that it’s not very well integrated

with the mobile app. It’s advertised on their website and emailed to customers who are registered, but there is no feedback on the app. What cutomers see most is their mobile app (assuming they use it, and many do) when they make a purchase. Emails usually get ignored and are considered as spam, websites go unvisited, but every time a customer takes out their phone to scan, they open the app and if this initiative is a mechanism the company wants to promote, then advertising it in the app would be highly effective.

download-1

Another improvement would be to also display that they earned that extra chance to unwrap the gift box when the customer earns a Bonus Star. By doing so, the company can also use this initiative to increase the number of app downloads and sign ups. Stores can give out tickets for those who don’t use the mobile app or are not registered, then place restrictions on these tickets to be only redeemed if they download the app and become members can increase the business metric of more app downloads and sign ups.

Overall, Starbucks’ approach stands out by taking a common game technique, which is high in extrinsic motivation that drive customer purchases, and ties it in with other mechanics that trigger Right Brain Core Drives (intrinsic motivation).

Star Dash

Star Dash is another initiative that uses the Bonus Star as the main game economy to drive behavior by giving out extra Bonus Stars for a certain number of purchases. At this point, the customer has gone through a few rounds of rewards and Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback may start to kick in for some people. Some customers start to get creative by trying to maximize on their Bonus Stars by spending as little as possible such as swiping for a little pack of almonds or the cheapest drink.

Also, if they’re close to receiving a free reward, they might purchase enough to get the extra Bonus Stars and gain the reward to redeem for the item they really want to have and then use that redemption as another “purchase” to stack more Bonus Stars.

The Star Dash acts as a booster to instill not only Core Drive 2 (Accomplishment) and 4 (Possession), but also Core Drive 3 (Creativity & Feedback). For Core Drive 3 to work well, the feedback needs to be quick; and the mobile app does just that — the reward shows up instantly, and can be redeemed right away with a simple scan of the phone.

Endgame Phase of the Starbucks Experience

After going through Starbucks Experience for a long period of time and experiencing everything all that the customers think they can, the customer then enters the Endgame Phase.

Luckily for Starbucks, caffeine is an addictive and a reward in itself so quitting may not be so easily done. However, nothing stops the customer from purchasing at another coffee shop and making that their new habit. This is why the Endgame is important.

Aside from the three dominant extrinsic core drives that exists in the overall experience, Starbucks mostly uses Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity in the Endgame Phase to keep the customer engaged by releasing new drinks and food items and other novel products such as seasonal drinks, mugs, coffee beans, and freebies.

A newly released feature allows the customer to order and pay via the phone so the customer can save precious time by skipping the line, triggering Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience.

In this phase, Core Drive 5: Social Relatedness and Influence isn’t very strong and overall, Starbucks is weak in this motivation. The environment itself welcomes social gatherings but the experience can be more compelling by increasing this drive.

Most customers in the Endgame Phase are motivated by this Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling, a core drive I haven’t mentioned much besides the “Elitism” Game Technique #26 and should be made stronger in this Endgame experience.

This Core Drive is implemented in the company’s business model, but is not at the forefront of the general experience, especially for the Endgame customers.

download-2

Starbucks used to have the “The Way I See It” initiative where its cups had meaningful quotes about life and social issues. Unfortunately, some quotes were removed because they were considered controversial, such as The Way I See It #289, an opinionated quote on global-warming. But despite its removal, they set a strong precedence to the Starbucks culture and connection to its customers.

Nowadays, though not very prominent in Starbucks’ mobile app, the company is very active in other higher purpose campaigns such as the 1912Pike commitment where they plant a tree for every bag of 1912 Pike coffee purchased.

Yu-kai Chou states that it is very important that the meaning and purpose a product presents, has to be believable to be effective. Otherwise, it can backfire. Starbucks works hard to make sure its statements aren’t false promises nor fluffy and they take action and connect to the community proactively (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Core Drive 5: Social/Relatedness).

The downside is that the average customer is highly unaware of these philanthropic programs. Higher visibility and integration of this core drive can push engagement further because Core Drive 1 (Epic Meaning/Calling) is a strong motivator within Endgame customers.

Overall the Endgame Phase for Starbucks relies heavily on Core Drive 4 (Ownership and Possession), 7 (Unpredictability and Curiosity), and 8 (Loss and Avoidance). The Bonus Stars play a major role and the desire to maintain the Gold Level keeps a lot of Endgame customers to continually engage in the experience.

Potential Improvements

Now that we’ve analyzed the overall experience through the 4 Experience Phases and 8 Core Drives in each, let’s see how Starbucks can improve. First, they already have many initiatives in place to trigger Core Drive 1 (Epic Meaning and Calling) and Core Drive 5 (Social Influence and Relatedness) which are the drives that are more lacking in the overall feel of the experience. To make it stronger, they can tie these weak Core Drives into its star system.

One idea is to use the “plant a tree” program by introducing it in the Onboarding Phase. Customers can start small by contributing with a cup of coffee instead of buying a whole bag of beans. Also, instead of a coffee cup, sometimes they can use images of a sprout that grows every time the customer makes a purchase.

Starbucks has another existing feature called “MyStarbucksIdea” where customers can input their ideas on how to make the Starbucks Experience better. This feature is similar to Lego’s LegoIdea initiative where customers input an idea, others vote and discuss about it, and see if the company will make the idea happen. A great feature, but lacks visibility. Again, Starbucks can take advantage of the Bonus Stars to promote more Social Game Techniques such as referrals or gifting a drink via the app.

Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback is usually difficult to implement in these types of environments where extrinsic motivation is the driving force for behavior, but we can take advantage of the point system and implement the “Chain Combo” Game Technique.

For example, Starbucks has seasonal themes such as holiday lattes. The customer can earn a buildup of 2 times (2x) or 3 times (3x) the Bonus stars if they order from the holiday lattes consecutively in a row within a certain time period.

Let’s say there’s 3 holiday lattes. The customer buys holiday latte 1, that’s 1 Bonus Star. The next purchase (Holiday latte 2) can earn them 2x so 2 Bonus Stars, then the 3rd purchase (Holiday latte 3) can earn them 5x so 5 Bonus Stars. If they break the combo, then the increase in weight reverts back to 1x.

The Bonus Stars and freebies acts as the system’s main economy and the desire to obtain these rewards, paired with a supporting core drive, pushes the execution of the company’s desired actions by the customer.

Starbucks’ New Point System and its Possible Impact

Starbucks has announced that they will be changing its point system to be revenue-based starting early April 2016. What it means is that instead of earning 1 Bonus Star for every swipe and earning a freebie after 12 Stars (Gold level), the customer will earn 2 Bonus Stars for every $1 they spend. However, a reward is given after 125 Stars. The table below shows a summary of the changes:

download-2

A customer will have to spend $62.5 to get that free item whereas in the original program, if a customer averages $1 per swipe, only $12 is needed for the extra reward. However, of course, it’s very rare a swipe will value at $1, but the customer will have to average over $5 per swipe in the original program in order to break even in the new program.

This changes the economy of the game and for those in the Scaffolding and Endgame phases, they could feel Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance if they usually make purchases below $5 because they would have to pay more than they usually do to earn a reward.

However, other feedback mechanics within the experience may be strong enough to overcome this issue. For customers who are going through the Discovery and Onboarding phases, they have no anchor system to relate to so this change may not affect their behavior.

We shall see how this pans out!

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Gamification Scarcity Design: creating wantful thinking!

Gamification Scarcity Design: creating wantful thinking!

We are all Homo Illogicus

“Stop being so irrational! Please think before you act! Why do these people act so illogical all the time? Can’t they think?” Ever heard other people say this? Or even said it yourself? I know I have, and I am certain others have said it about me.

It is widely understood that human beings are not infallible creatures of logic. Through the discoveries of Behavioral Economics and Psychology, we have realized that perhaps up to 90% of our decisions are actually made almost fully irrationally. Some authors have even convincingly argued that there is no such thing as “free will” to make decisions. All we can do is use willpower to override decisions that our minds have already made for us. All we have is “free wont”. Maybe we should stop telling people to “make up their minds.” Their minds are already made up for them, but it is their willpower (or the lack thereof) that is blocking their action. We just can’t help being irrational.

Even though we have discovered that we are predictably irrational creatures, most of our social-economic policies are still based on the assumption that people are rational actors. They presume that mankind is Homo Economicus, a species that can carefully weigh its options and make the best possible decision based on the outcome of this analysis. If only that would be true.

The consequences of this persisting myth of the Homo Economicus are often quite sad for those at the receiving end of criticism for their (completely normal) irrational behavior. Poor people who make bad economic decisions are seen as stupid and ignorant: “See? You became poor because you are stupid, and because you are stupid you will stay poor!” In the same vein, stressed people also make a lot of mistakes, making them look more stupid: “No wonder she is stressed. She is stupid so she makes a lot of mistakes!”.

But aren’t we applying inverse logic here?

I am going to argue that it is not stupidity but scarcity (whether lack of money, life options or stress) is what causes people to commit so many mistakes. So what is scarcity? And why does it lead to so much destructive, illogical behavior? Let’s look at it through an Octalysis lens and find out!

Octalysis Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience

Feelings of scarcity occur when we want something that is exclusive or in low supply. That wantful thinking causes more people to fight for that already-scarce resource, even though there may be more abundant alternatives out there. “But of course!”, you might say, “when the supply of an item becomes low, the price goes up. That’s common sense!”

Well, how about the fact that people buy bags with price tags of $900 USD? Or mobile phones that costs $25,000 USD (yes the Vertu mobile phone can set you back for the price of a car…). Is this because there are not enough Louis Vuitton outlets? Is it difficult to get a Vertu phone? Not at all! They are actually very easy to buy. The only reason we want to buy these products is because they are expensive. And the more expensive they are, the more we want them.

Traditional economic pricing models say that demand will go down if prices go up. It looks something like this:

1

The higher the price the lower the demand and vice versa. Easy right?

But have a look at how the demand curve actually differs from the tradition typical demand and supply picture when we take into account what happens on an individual level:

2

Now we see that demand decreases when prices go up (in line with traditional economic wisdom), but then actually INCREASES when prices go WAY up!

This is because of scarcity. Because people see that a product is really expensive, we value it more and want more of it. Scientists believe that human beings have evolved to have a keen eye for scarce things. In the old days, high value things like fructose were very hard to come by. So whenever we found honey, it made good evolutional sense to collect/eat it immediately (even if we had already eaten enough that day). The extra intake leads to fat build up that we can then use at a later stage when food is not abundant (this is why people often joke that we have a second stomach for dessert). Humans that were good at taking advantage of such opportunities, survived better, leading to the continuation of their genetic make up.

OK, all clear, but what has this to do with poor people or stressed people?

Scarcity: The Poor Man’s Trap

So we can see that scarcity can have irrational effects on people when they encounter valuable goods. But what if you don’t have any money and you don’t really encounter many valuable things. What happens to poor people’s scarcity for example?

Many poor people are continuously faced with scarcity. They often have barely enough to live on a monthly or weekly basis. They live in a state of constant scarcity. Remember that Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience is a Black Hat motivator. This means that we are very much motivated by it, but don’t feel in control. It is also a Left Brain (mainly extrinsic, short term) motivator. When we have this combination, it often means that we make impulsive, short term decisions. A big sale in a shopping mall, for example, makes people buy a lot more than they had planned (or even had budgeted for).

Poor people are stuck in a scarcity trap: they constantly focus on short term decisions and seem to react rather impulsively. A family I know in Italy is quite poor. Once they received an unexpected sum of $50,000 USD. They did not save even a penny of it. Instead they spent it all in one go on luxury items. Because of their short term focus throughout the years, it did not occur to them to save it, invest it or use it for longer term goals. It is not that they are dumb. It is the scarcity trap of being poor, that keeps them poor by making irrational decisions!

So that’s the problem with poor people right? Well, most wealthy people (who laugh at the poor) fall into the scarcity trap too, primarily because a majority of wealthy people go through a lot of stress.

The Stress Trap

Not only the poor live in a scarcity trap. Many stressed people are also caged in this way. They are not necessarily poor (many have very successful careers), but their stress leads them to commit to more irrational actions that others do.

A growing number of people are now classified as being permanently stressed. Many are labeled impulsive, hyper-active or even disturbed. And more and more people are effected every year. In a stunning finding from a 2013 study, researchers found that 83% of Americans are often stressed at work (up from 73% the year before).

A consequence: mankind is now taking huge quantities of medication to calm down and get rid of stress. But obviously we are not tackling the real cause of stress here. Humans have not suddenly become mentally unstable in large numbers. What has changed is the fact that more and more people feel that they have no control over their lives.

In Octalysis language: we are increasingly victims of an onslaught of Black Hat motivational pressures from our environments. Because of Black Hat motivation, we are very motivated to act and participate in the societal rat race, but we never feel in control and always feel that time is running out. We live in unpredictable times where we feel the pressures of never-ending scarcity.

And indeed, many people feel that life is like running a race.  That there is never enough time for anything and options are always running out. A new house. I need it now! A promotion, you say? Get it quickly before it is too late. So many wishes and wants, but never enough salary. We are constantly feeling the effects of scarcity.

When you are stressed, you feel that there is not enough time to do what has to be done. You become anxious as your perception of the timed challenges ahead are much greater than the skills you possess. Just like people who are poor, this leads you to tunnel vision. You focus mainly on short-term, non-analytical choices in front of you. No time (no rest) to focus on longer term rational analyses.

Stress is a self fulfilling vicious circle. Because you are caught in a scarcity trap, you don’t finish the things that need to be done. People don’t open important mail; don’t pay bills and don’t go to the doctor when they need to. And because they don’t tackle these issues, even larger issues will present themselves, leading to even more stress. Maybe now you have to confront bill collectors, fines and illnesses…”dumb” behavior? Yes. But this is what scarcity does to people.

Next time you see a less fortunate person than yourself, try to be kind. Creating more stress or insulting people is not going to make them act smarter. Remember, these people are not dumb, just tunnel focused!

How to Design for Positive Scarcity

OK, so you know now what the negative aspects of scarcity are. But can we use scarcity for beneficial purposes as well? Yes, we can. Most people intrinsically want to do something healthy, like going to the gym, but they lack the urgency to do it. In this case creating scarcity is a great way to get people to move. Offer people a discount that has a countdown timer associated with it for example. Get 20% off if you sign up before tomorrow!

As you can see, this doesn’t mean that Black hat motivation is necessarily bad. It can be used for good causes too! Often people need a bit of Black Hat motivation to act on their intrinsic desires. Moreover, you often need such a trigger to develop what we call intrinsic interest in an activity. You never “know” that you like an activity, and often you need an external motivator to even realize that you are interested in something. This external factor can be a friend introduction (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness); a bad health checkup (Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance); a chance to win a prize if you join the gym (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity) or, yes, scarcity!

We often use Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience design in our Octalysis Gamification Designs. But we always remind ourselves that it is Black Hat, Extrinsic motivation. When used in large quantities, it will lead to unhappy users who don’t feel in control. No need to add to the growing number of stressed people in the world!

Always make sure to balance Octalysis design with White Hat, Intrinsic motivation elements. This is design that makes people feel good about themselves and appeals to our innate needs. Give users a believable higher purpose, meaningful choices, and feelings of accomplishment. When well balanced, scarcity design can become part of an amazing Octalysis journey!

For more information on how we use scarcity design in Octalysis to create awesome experiences, contact Joris Beerda at:

joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Octalysis Gamification and the Hypocrite Brain

Hypocrite apples

My friend told me the other day that she is really angry about the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest by palm oil producers. “It’s a shame! All these poor animals that die just because people want to buy highly processed food that is full of palm oil. It makes me sad!”

The following morning, I saw her prepare breakfast and she layered a nice sandwich with chocolate paste (which is full of palm oil).

Another friend (who is a diplomat) told me that she was very happy to go on a cruise with other diplomats to an island that was endangered by climate change. There, she would join a conference to discuss ways on how to mitigate climate change. She was well aware that cruise travel is highly contributing to climate change, but it did not seem to matter.

How come we are all so hypocrite sometimes? How come my friend wants to save the world’s forests by not eating palm oil products, but then cannot help herself to really really want to eat that processed chocolate bar (with a lots of palm oil in it)? What’s wrong with us? Let’s find out and maybe even find a few Octalysis angles!

 

Successful Irrational Beings by design?

Yesting
We know now that we are highly irrational in our behavior and seemingly not completely in charge of what we want and need. Leading psychologists, like Benjamin Libet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet) maintain that we actually do not have free will. We only have free wont: the power to consciously not do things that we unconsciously want to do.

Great, so we are irrational weirdo’s? Surely there is more sense that we can make out of our brains? Isn’t there a very rational reason behind all this rationality? How can Homo Sapiens have become arguably the most successful creature ever and be an illogical being? Man cannot become the Top Dog on this planet by being mainly plain stupid and designed badly. Right?

Many of our decision biases, errors, and misjudgments might actually not be design flaws; instead, they may be great design features that have brought us where we are today. Moreover, our biases and inconsistencies may exist because we do not have one super brain that calculates a net motivation balance and then acts on it. Rather, our brain is fragmented in different components, all with different purposes and different time objectives. Some of these work together and some of these don’t. It explains our inconsistencies and biases and it explains why these biases are so important for us.

So why is this important? Well, once we accept the fact that we do not have one big centrally guided brain, but possess merely a collection of semi-independent parts, it becomes much easier to understand why people can be motivated simultaneously by, for example, Epic Meaning and Calling as well as Scarcity and Impatience. Or why we really want that last brownie in the shop now, while simultaneously are struggling to save every penny we can spare for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or Mecca. Also it makes it easier to know how certain design can empower certain motivation, while keeping other motivation “down” (even if they exist at the same time in our brains).

 

The Brain’s priorities

Text Brain
Lots has been written about the factors that determine what we find important in life. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has become well known for detailing what humans think they need and in what order. According to Maslow we desire to fulfill in order: Physiological needs; Safety needs; Love and belonging; Esteem; Self-actualization and Self-Transcendence.

Deci and others have taken another angle and looked at needs that all human beings share. Their Self Determination Theory states that Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness are needs that are priorities for humans.

The Octalysis Framework has folded the analysis of what motivates us in a coherent framework. The 8 Core Drives for motivation show us what human core drives need to be present for any motivation to exist. If none of these Core Drives are present, there is no motivation and no behavior happens.

But the problem with motivation is that it is not a black and white picture: we are motivated by different needs at the same time. Maslow’s hierarchy nor the Self-Determination Theory cannot explain why some poor people without housing use their money for alcohol, rather than improve their house for example. This is where the concept of the Elemental Brain comes in.

 

The Elemental Brain

Fragmented Brain
Most people that think about their brain, think of it is as one unit that weighs options, needs and wants and then somehow autonomously makes the decision on whether to act or not. Some of us have accepted that sometimes we do or think things subconsciously and against our, what we then call “Self Interest”. But we still feel that The Brain is in power.

The problem with this thinking is that if The Brain makes these weighted decisions, what or who does the weighing and who is in charge? And if there is something in charge, what steers that something? Also, what is “doing things against our Self Interest”? Surely everything we do is for some reason or another? Isn’t eating that extra chocolate bar also in my Self Interest? Doesn’t it also fulfill a need that my Self, or should we say our Selves, has identified?

More and more it is clear that there isn’t a Something or Self that is making our decisions. Rather there are most likely different, often competing, parts of our brain that want different things at the same time. Sometimes these parts communicate with each other and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes their ‘wants’ get resolved and sometimes they co-exist.

In this way, Martin Luther King was known to have various mistresses, but at the same time he preached family values and sexual restraint. Obviously some elements did not resolve their differences…

In the same vein, there are elements in your brain that are responsible for communicating with the world around you (what Robert Kutzban in “Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite” calls your ‘Press Secretary’). Their role is to show to your friends and family that you are complying or even excelling to actions, norms and values that connect you to the group or groups you are part of.

So one part of your brain may want to “do” one thing, and another part may make you feel that you want to do the opposite, but meanwhile you tell your colleagues that you will actually do something else. An example: I tell my colleagues that I will work hard on my tasks in the weekend. Another part of my brain makes me feel that I should mow the lawn. What I do in the weekend is play games instead. All motivations exist at the same time, yet only one wins out over the others.

 

Designing to catch the elements

Gotcha
In Octalysis Design we use our knowledge of elementary motivation to create experiences that appeal to the users’ brain components that we want to be in charge. We know that motivation is a function of:

  • Environment: the way we design the user experience determines a large part of the motivation we create. By tweaking our designs to either more short term oriented brain elements or rather long term elements, we will get a very different motivational outcome.
  • History: we all carry a history of how we have been raised, what we have experienced before and how we always do things. Often you do not want to do new things because of this Status Quo Sloth situation (Octalysis Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance). At the same time  once we have done the “new thing” a number of times, it becomes a habit and it can supercede our previous habits.
  • State: the way you ‘feel’ determines what elements are more dominant. We know for example that ovulating women tend to have more affairs. And when you are hungry (or see pictures of yummy food that is out of reach) or stressed you often take more short term extrinsically motivated paths.

As you can see this goes further than determining a Player Type to see what “person” you have to design for. Johnny is not just an Explorer or Killer. In fact he can be both. He may be a “socializer” at work in between colleagues, a competitive “killer” at home and an explorer during his nature walks. The way we design and what state we can bring people in through our designs has a major impact on how the Player Type evolves along the way!

To conclude: there is a lot more fragmentation in our brains than we know. This makes that people can be seen as hypocrite or even weak. But in a sense, we are all hypocrites. Even the most distinguished people have contradictions in their behavior, even flagrant ones (as the abuse in certain religious institutions has shown us).

These kinds of excesses are awful and cannot be condoned. But they also have a positive flipside: you don’t have to be so hard on yourself the next time that you break your good intentions. It is part of human nature. More importantly: don’t be so hard on others whenever you feel they are hypocrite. You now know that all human beings are hypocrite sometimes.

From a design perspective, our insights into how our fragmented brains really work helps us designing better for really engaging experiences through Octalysis. This is what we do at The Octalysis Group, day-in and day-out. If you want our help in designing high quality design for your product, company or organization, contact us:

joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

 

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

The Scientific Foundations of the Octalysis Framework

Octalysis Science Gamification

 

The Scientific Foundations of the Octalysis Framework

Any serious framework that aims to explain and predict human behavior needs to build on solid scientific evidence. The Octalysis Framework does just that and combines all this evidence in a unified framework for human behavioral analysis. It merges scientific insights from the following academic fields into one coherent analytical and actionable framework for human motivational design:

 

Behavorial Economics

This scientific field studies the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the decisions of individuals and the impact of different kinds of behavior, in different environments of varying experimental values.  Behavioral models typically integrate insights from psychology, neuroscience and microeconomic theory; in so doing, these behavioral models cover a range of concepts, methods, and fields.

The Octalysis Framework most notably has incorporated crucial insights from Noble Prize winners (in particular Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky) and other acclaimed scientists in the field (Richard Thaler; Robert Cialdini; Dan Ariely et al). Most of these insights pertain to heuristics and biases that lead people’s behaviors rather than rational analysis.

 

Sample literature list:

Kahneman, Daniel; Tversky, Amos (1979). “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk”

Thaler, Richard H. 1992. The Winner’s Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life.

Thaler, Richard H. 1993. Advances in Behavioral Finance

Cialdini, R. B. (1984). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

 

Positive/ Motivational Psychology

In particular: the Self Determination Theory (SDT) by Deci, Ryan et al. SDT is a theory of human motivation that concerns people’s innate psychological needs. It is concerned with the motivation behind choices that people. SDT focuses on the degree to which an individual’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined.

 

In addition, The Octalysis Framework integrates insights from Flow Theory, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he is doing. It is characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.

 

Sample literature list:

Deci, E. L. (1971). Effects of externally mediated rewards on intrinsic motivation.

Deci, E. L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behaviour

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow : the psychology of optimal experience.

 

Other Sources

We have been influenced by many other sources as well, in particular from the realm of Game Design and UI/UX Interfacing. Jesse Schell’s A Book of Lenses in particular has been valuable. We consider these sources very valuable but since they are not scientific, we shall not detail them further at the moment.

 

If you want to know more about the proven science behind our work and the Octalysis Framework itself, or how we can help you create great engagement please contact Joris Beerda:

 

Joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

 

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Gamification of Pensions: Octalysis advises UK Government

Pension Gamification

Gamification of Government

The subject of pensions is arguably one the most boring topics that you can talk to younger generations about. It is considered uncool and is mostly related to old people and finance. How could it get any less exciting? Many younger people do not seem to care one bit about pensions, and it is endangering their own financial futures as well as that of the pension system as a whole.

So could Octalysis Gamification come to the rescue? Can we perhaps make (preparing for) pensions fun and engaging?

The Octalysis Group just started some initial advisory for the UK Department for Works and Pensions to achieve just that. But why are they so interested in making pension systems fun and engaging? What has changed suddenly? My grandparents and parents surely did not need to be engaged.

Let’s find out!

The Pension Crisis

The population in the developed world is quickly getting older. This means that in the future, there will be more pensioners living off the tax contributions of others. In a sense, the pension fund acts like a benevolent Pyramid Scheme: it can only continue to grow if enough people keep contributing and the majority of the members do not take their money out of the system.

So far this has not been an issue, but we have now reached a state where the collective contributions to the pension funds system are increasingly lagging behind the uptake by pensioners of these funds. Average pension ages are being increased rapidly to try to stop the bleeding. For my age group it is expected that we will be able to take pension at age 73. This is 15 years later than the age that my mother retired at! But will it be enough to save the system? Many doubt it.

So with the future of the pension system (as we know it) in doubt, it is even more important that younger generations save more than their parents and grandparents. The problem is that they don’t. They save even less. Young people seem to have lost any interest whatsoever to start saving and governments around the world have no clue how to change it.

Luckily the UK Government and its charismatic Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann, are forward looking. The Baroness has publicly stated that she thinks that Gamification is the way forward for pension systems. Last month we did some initial advisory to help her department discover what Octalysis Gamification can do to create engagement for pensions.

The UK Governement’s attempts to create engagement

The Department of Works and Pensions should be lauded for their attempts to create engagement for pensions. If engagement is left unaddressed, the system could come crashing down and many people would be without any means of income at old age. Not a great prospect for any society!

So in 2015 they came up with a funny character to add some swing to the topic. Introducing: Workie. See below the Ad Campaign featuring the fuzzy animal (“Don’t ignore the Workplace”):

 

Unfortunately, the campaign was  considered a failure and the video and Workie got ridiculed across the internet and media. In my talks with the UK Government I analyzed with them why this was, through an Octalysis lens:

The Discovery Phase of Pensions

In the 4 Experience Phases of Octalysis, the Onboarding Phase is where users find out why they even want to interact with your product. The product here is pensions (more specifically Workplace Pensions).

In this phase we want to create curiosity based on something new and exciting that is also supported by other people we can relate to. At the same time, we want to create some urgency to act/buy now (rather than to appeal to a vague ‘Good Cause’).

Unfortunately, Workie did not learn about Octalysis or Behavioral Science when he started his promotions, which meant the campaign was doomed to fail.

In fact, the video already fails within 10 seconds. The commentator laments about Workie (the embodiment of Workplace Pensions): “…at the moment, unfortunately, people are ignoring him”. The producers try to appeal to Octalysis Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness, to make people want to act (out of pity). In fact, what they achieve is the opposite. If nobody wants to engage with Workie, why should anybody? In this case, anti-Core Drive 5 leads to Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance. People have just become even less enthusiastic about pensions!

In Yu-kai Chou’s book Actionable Gamification, Yu-kai writes about a National Park in Arizona that was trying to prevent people from stealing their petrified wood. In an experiment, when they put up a sign that says, “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, destroying the natural state of the Petrified Forest,” theft of the petrified wood not only did not decrease, it nearly triple! That is because when people see that it is the Norm that people are stealing, they think they should steal too.

So does the video at least bring anything exciting or a promise of future benefits for citizens? Strangely enough no. In the full 42 seconds clip there is no promise of anything that would make me feel accomplished or excited. There is no Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment.

In addition, the only thing that is (initially) mildly exciting, is Workie itself as he looks somewhat novel (but not necessarily slick or likable for a younger generation). But since he is actually a boring, slow-trotting and negative character, that excitement wears off within seconds. So we are left with no Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity push, and the lack of excitement adds to Anti Core Drive 8: let’s not waste my brain cell and valuable time to care about what this character has to say.

In the end we are only left with Core Drive 8 motivation, the type that makes you anxious and not in control. The final nail in the coffin here is that Workie starts to talk about fines and that you “need” to get a pension “by Law.” But obviously, if nobody is getting a workplace pension, why would you conform with the law huh? Social Proof tells your brain you don’t need to, so now the Big Brother threat sounds hollow. Also, by pointing out it is a legal requirement to compensate for  it not being appealing, Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience will cause people (especially the younger generation) to want to rebel against it even more. “Oh, here is something that no one likes and you don’t want to do. Please have sympathy. But if not, Big Brother will force you to do it against your will!”

In fact, if there should be Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance (which generally drives urgency which is good), it would be much better to show negative consequences of these people ignoring Workie . “Look, everyone is ignoring Workie. They don’t care. But oops! Look what happened to them later.” The fear tactic should not be about making the government sound evil, but from the actual negative effects of such behavior.

Also, we know from Behavioral Science that when there is a fear tactic, there MUST be a simple direct action item that alleviate that fear, or else people move into denial mode and prefer to not think about it. At the end, the narrator talks about the website to learn more about the workplace pension, which is good. However, the Desired Action can be more clearly presented on the screen, as opposed to the passive message, “Don’t ignore the workplace pension.” It should be actively telling them to visit the website now with large fonts, preferably with a friendlier shortcut URL. We know that every action that the brain can’t comfortably process will hamper conversion rates. Having a long URL will create that cognitive dissonance and make people who have an intention to do something procrastinate until later (until they retire?). It is better to have a shorter link such as VisitWorkie.co.uk that continues on the story of Workie and how the audience can help him make the future better for everyone.

 

Gamification: Fun Pensions

The future of Gamification in the UK Pension System

Baroness Altmann, the Minister of State for Pensions recognized the failings of the previous campaigns. She has come out as a fan of Gamification and we think that is a smart move. Pensions is a boring topic, so it is not easy to create engagement around the theme, based on content alone. You need to make the experience surrounding pension systems more engaging and Octalysis Gamification can help.

Just as we have achieved with other Governments Institutions and companies, the key lies in making the experience so engaging that people hardly feel they are focusing on pensions. It is the experience around it that creates the engagement push. The interaction with pensions will now lead to win states in the game, so all of a sudden it becomes fun and rewarding to deal with planning your financial future. We have designed Gamification for all sorts of boring and “unsexy” topics, ranging from healthcare all the way to SEC compliance training for financial firms. Before our designs, people would only learn about these rules because their boss told them to do it (Core Drive 8, you do it because you are afraid to lose your job or promotion). Now they learn in fun ways and even are excited to interact with the content when they are not at work!

It is not yet clear where our contacts with the UK Government will lead to. It would be great if the UK Government and the Octalysis Group could work together and resolve these challenges in engagement. Octalysis is ready to play its part. Pension systems are essential for societies. We are happy to help avoid a future where the elderly have no money and have to rely on family and friends to survive.

Let’s use the power of Octalysis to prevent this dreaded image from ever becoming a reality.

If you want to know more about what Octalysis can do for your organization to drive engagement, contact us at:

Joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Exclusive content: secret Octalysis Gamification design tips

(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.)

If you have read the first chapters of the book, you have built a strong foundation for understanding the 8 Core Drives, their natures, and how they individually and collaboratively influence our behavior. However, this does not necessarily mean this knowledge can be easily applied to designing an engaging gamified experience that also fulfill business metrics. For that, we need another tool.

After some of my talks on Octalysis, some people ask, “How do I actually start to design a gamified campaign with the 8 Core Drives? I can now create an experience that’s interesting and engaging but I’m not sure how that will drive business success.”

 

In order to design a successful project, we need the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard.

The Octalysis Strategy Dashboard is a constantly evolving document that clarifies the most important aspects of a Gamification campaign. It focuses the attention on the critical elements that will ultimately direct your efforts for maximum impact.

Gamification-Strategy-Dashboard-Main

The Strategy Dashboard contains five critical elements:

 

  1. Business Metrics, leading to Game Objectives
  2. Users, leading to Players
  3. Desired actions, leading to Win-States
  4. Feedback Mechanics, leading to Triggers
  5. Incentives, leading to Rewards

 

The Strategy Dashboard should provide a minimum amount of critical information to help clients execute an actionable Gamification campaign to drive their business metric goals.

 

  1. Business Metrics = Game Objectives

Business Metrics are the key numbers and results that the business wants to improve on. These are high-level items that the company may present to their executives or investors in order to show the campaign’s success.

 

Some Business Metrics are the numbers that indicate success for your business. They include Revenue, Daily Active Users over Monthly Active Users, Conversions, Time Spent on Site, Retained Users, Registrations, etc. If these numbers are growing, your business is in good shape.

 

When defining Business Metrics, make sure they are quantifiable and prioritized in order of importance. We need to be able to track success, benchmark against other campaigns, and even run split tests to see which of your efforts produce the best results.

 

Business Metrics also needs to be prioritized in the order of importance to your business. If you try to get users to do everything on one screen, users will face decision paralysis, leave your site, and go back to their comfort zone.

 

If by implementing a gamified campaign, your Business Metrics have not improved, then we have failed the Game Objective.

 

  1. Users = Players

Users are the second element to define within the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard.

Whatever model we use, we need to ensure that we define user categories based on how they are differently motivated. We don’t want groups that seem different, but are motivated in a similar fashion. This will make it more difficult to optimally design Desired Actions for the Win-State.

For instance, employees are often more motivated based on their positions in the company, than by gender. As a result, it may be more productive to divide the users into “Managers” and “Workers” rather than “Males” and “Females”.

 

Creating Octalysis Charts for your User Personas

Once users have been identified we can start to apply custom Octalysis Charts for all these players using the Octalysis Tool (this can be found at http://www.yukaichou.com/octalysis-tool).

By considering which of the 8 Core Drives motivate which user types more, we can then identify and implement game elements that appeal best to those Core Drives.

By understanding why the user does not take the desired actions, one can address it authentically and constructively engage the issue instead of chasing around the bush on topics that are irrelevant to the user.

Once the Users are defined, we have the Players for the gamified system.

Strategy-Dashboard-Business Metrics Player

 

  1. Desired Actions = Win-States

Desired Actions are the third element to define in any Octalysis Gamification campaign. Desired Actions are the little steps we want users to take such as: go onto the website, fill out the form, register, come back every day, click on the ad, sign up for the newsletter, etc.

 

 

Whereas the Business Metrics are laid out in the order of importance, we want to lay out all the Desired Actions in chronological order based on the player’s journey. This is important because oftentimes what happens ten minutes before a Desired Action will significantly affect whether the user will do it or not.

 

No Step Too Small 

One thing to remember when defining Desired Actions is that no action is too small to be included. In Octalysis Gamification, each Desired Action leads to a Win-State.

This means that every time the user commits the Desired Action, she has reached a Win-State and may receive some type of reward.

Whenever we are designing a gamified campaign, the Win-State in the user’s mind should always be accomplished by committing the Desired Action, which increases your Business Metrics. These three elements should always be aligned.

 

And this, again, is actually the core difference between Games and Gamification. Games can simply be fun and engaging, but Gamification has to improve your Business Metrics, and it has to drive behavior towards a certain productive activity.

Strategy-Dashboard-player-DA- BM

The First Major Win-State

One of the key practices to define your Win-States is to identify the First Major Win-State. The First Major Win-State is when a User first says, “Wow! This service/experience is awesome!” If your experience does not offer any Major Win-States, your experience is not emotionally compelling.

 

Once the First Major Win-State is determined, we want to count exactly how many minutes it takes for users to reach that First Major Win-State. With every second that goes by before a user hits the First Major Win-State, there will be dropout. The longer it takes to reach this experience, the higher your dropout rate will be.

 

Creating a profile is not a First Major Win-State. Uploading a photo is not either. If it was 20 years ago, uploading your photo might be a First Major Win-State. “Wow! I can see my photo on a screen!” Not in today’s world, unfortunately.

Strong Win-State design is critical for the success of a Gamification campaign and their identification and masterful creation is fundamental in Level 4 Octalysis.

 

 

  1. Feedback Mechanics = Triggers

Feedback Mechanics are the fourth element to define in any Octalysis Gamification Campaign.

Feedback Mechanics are cues (often visual, but can be audio or use other senses) that users have to keep track of their progress towards the Win-State. These often come in the form of points, badges, levels, trophies, progress bars, and even avatars. In the end, Feedback Mechanics are meant to Trigger users to commit more Desired Actions.

 

User Metrics should align as much as possible with the Desired Actions and the Business Metrics. They should also be what users actually care about. Again, no matter what the Feedback Mechanics are, they should motivate users and be relevant to the flow of the experience. In addition, they should all be Triggers for users to further take the Desired Actions.

 

  1. Incentives = Rewards

Incentives are the fifth and final element to define in the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard. Incentives are basically what we can give users within our power that rewards their behavior and entices them to further action.

 

After we have determined what we can give users, we want to strategically place these incentives in the different Win-States that we have designed to motivate players to feel great about committing the Desired Actions.

These Incentives become Rewards in a game. Rewards do not have to be merely physical rewards such as gift cards or cash, which is what most companies like to think about. Rewards can be physical, emotional, intellectual, or even spiritual.

 

SAPS

A catchy and easy model to think about in terms of rewards is Gabe Zichermann’s SAPS model: Status, Access, Power, Stuff. The interesting thing about SAPS, is that as you go from Status to Access to Power to Stuff, the reward becomes more and more expensive for the company, but less and less sticky for the user.

 

It doesn’t cost us anything to tell you that you are amazing and you’re the #1 User on my site, and you will likely be excited about it for weeks or months and tell all your friends about your new status. But if we gave you cash, you likely will become excited for a few hours or a day, and then you may spend the money at a mall and then emotionally forget about it. Now your emotional state is wondering about when you will receive your next injection of cash.

 

Again, most companies like to give their employees stuff to incentivize them but it’s actually a lot more effective if you can figure out how to give them more status, exclusive access, or more power to control their environment..

 

6 Reward Context Derived from Octalysis

While SAPS describes the nature of the reward, there’s also a variety of Reward Contexts that can be derived from the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis.

With Octalysis, we loosely define six reward contexts that can be utilized, including:

 

  1. Fix Action Rewards (Earned Lunch)
  2. Random Rewards (Mystery Box)
  3. Sudden Rewards (Easter Egg)
  4. Rolling Rewards (Lottery)
  5. Social Treasure (Gifting)
  6. Reward Pacing (Collection Set)

 

Ultimately, these reward contexts are derived from Octalysis, because we are all incentivized by the Core Drives. Even if it’s not something you gain, avoiding a loss or satisfying your curiosity are also very strong rewards that can be strategically placed in every single one of your Win-States. Without them, users will have no reason to commit the Design Actions moving forward.

 

Gamification-Strategy-Dashboard-Main

Further Implementation

Once the Strategy Dashboard is completed, we will set out to design features for every Phase of the User Journey. Most people treat interacting with a product as one experience but we have to look at a product as 4 different products. The first day a users use LinkedIn, for example, is very different from subsequent days they use the site.

 

Once we have mapped out all features for the main users and all experience phases, we then set out to rate the motivational power these features against the ease of implementation of these features. In addition, we will map out the game structure, game levels and rewards. Finally we will design a suite of visual concept wireframes detailing (frame-by-frame) what the Octalysis Gamification Journey looks like. These wireframes are ready for product development by the art and development team.

 

For more information on how we can assist you in creating a truly motivational and long-lasting Gamified Experience, contact us at:

 

Yu-kai Chou                           yukai@octalysisgroup.com

Joris Beerda                          joris@octalysisgroup.com

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Busuu language learning through the Octalysis Lens

Iza Kozlowska

“Don’t just learn languages, fall in love with them!”

This is Busuu’s rallying cry. The social network for language learning now has almost 60 million users worldwide and its rise fits in the fast growing-trend of E-learning and M-learning (mobile learning). Seems that we love to improve our communication skills for work, for travel or for our friends abroad. I used the Busuu app for one week, to find out how it brings motivation through the 8 Core Drives.

Let’s find out whether I manage to fall in love with Busuu, shall we?

Busuu’s 4 Experiences Phases

In The Octalysis Group we like to divide a user experience 4 distinct Experience Phases: Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame. The objectives, motivation, and feelings a user has while using a product on day one is very different from their experience on day one hundred. I will analyze the Busuu experience through these Experience Phases.

Discovery Phase – Why would the user use my service to begin with?

The Discovery Phase of a player’s journey starts when the player first gets to know and learns about your product or service. In this phase the user will decide if s/he wants to even try out the app. I learned about the app via a friend who told me that I could use Busuu to improve my language skills. The first contact with the app for me is through my mobile as Busuu can be downloaded from the App Store.

In the app description I can see that 60 million international native speakers are using the app, that is a strong Social Proof (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness)!

There is also a very catchy introduction: “Don’t just learn languages, fall in love with them!”. O.K.! I am starting to feel excited! And look, reviews by users are mostly positive, adding even more Social Proof. “Hey, other people similar to me love this app. Maybe I should love it too!”

2016-05-11_1551

 

After installing the app I get a welcoming page with a “Get started” button. Thanks to the uncluttered design, it is immediately clear what the Desired Action is. Let’s get started!

Before asking the user to sign up, we should try to generate a push for people to even want to do this. One way to introduce the app is through graphics slides showing the value proposition of your product, perhaps 3-4 images with 1-2 sentences each or a 1-minute video. Keep in mind these videos should not be on “how” to use the product, but “why” they should use the product. Another option is to let users already make some progress without signing up, and when they reach a Win-State – boom! – “Please sign up”.

OK, now I can choose the language I want to learn. There’s quite an abundance of languages to choose from. After choosing a language (I went with Polish), I am being asked to sign up.

2016-05-11_1554

 

The sign-in is not badly done, but you want this to be very intuitive. By limiting the number of log in options to only Facebook and E-mail, the app could provide cognitive ease for the user, resulting in more sign-ups.

Recommendation – Discovery Phase

  • In the beginning of the user’s journey, use more Social Proof to communicate and relate to the user, encouraging them to venture forth.
  • Let the user try out the product before sign-in
  • Consider giving a small reward after sign-in. It could even be as simple as a message saying, “Welcome onboard! You are the 7,000th user from Poland. And the 30 millionth person who wants to learn English!”

The Discovery Phase ends when your client starts to use your product. Once the user tries out your product or service, the Onboarding Phase has started.

Onboarding Phase – How do users learn the basic tools to play the game?

During the onboarding phase, the users become familiar with the rules of the game, the options, the mechanics, and the win-states. In the Busuu app I am starting with a screen with multiple options. I’m not sure what I should do next. That can lead to reducing Core Drive 2: Developmet and Accomplishment and as a result, increase Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance of Loss. Users like to feel smart and once they feel frustrated and incapable, Core Drive 8 turns it into an Anti Core Drive, making it more likely for them to drop out.

The yellow button “Get fluent faster” caught my eye. After clicking on it I can see the benefits of buying a premium version of the app but I didn’t even try out the app yet! Why would I want to upgrade the app before knowing what I have now? This feature should only appear after reaching a major win-state. At that time, I will have build up enough CD4: Ownership and Possession to value the experience enough to possibly want more of it. Mainly this will happen after the user has used the app for a while though.

2016-05-11_1556

 

I was slightly puzzled by what I have to do in this app. Should I take my first lesson? Update my profile? Never make the user feel confused about what to do next. The Onboarding Phase especially needs to make me feel smart and accomplished and shouldn’t leave me thinking twice what to do next.

In this Phase you can lead the user through all the first Desired Actions. This is best accomplished through an interactive step-by-step tutorial where you get the user to commit to the Desired Actions you designed, and rewarding them with small High-Fives (Octalysis Game Technique #17) once they accomplish it. This technique will help users to get to know the app better and to use it as much as possible. For example, I was a little lost, both on the first screen of the app, and during the first task “Lesson 1”. We know from the experience that if users spend more than 4 seconds on a screen and does not know what to do, you have lost them.

I also went to “My Profile”. I’ve tried to click on the Avatar to change my icon, but nothing happened. I assume that I can change it in the settings option. But it would be much easier for me if I can just click on this icon and set my profile picture. Having the profile picture or avatar is important because it increases Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession.

IMG_1417

 

As you can see, I have “0 Votes Cast” and “0 Upvotes”. Right now, I don’t even know what they are. It’s never good to show users that they have ZERO of something. Consider showing “Votes Cast” and “Upvotes”, only after the user will get the first “points” or have a message that triggers them to take action: “you can go to X and gain Votes!”. Again it is always better to be clear about the Desired Actions.

Recommendation – Onboarding Phase

  • During the learning phase of the app, it’s important that the user doesn’t feel lost or confused. Consider using the Step-By-Step Overlay Tutorials (Game Technique #6). A Step-By-Step Overlay Tutorial slowly guides the user where to go (using Glowing Choices, Game Technique #28).
  • The system needs to reward a user when a Desired Action is taken. For example, if it’s important to upload a photo, the system should make that really obvious and easy to do reward the user immediately afterwards.
  • Avoid blank pages and empty stats. Every time the user has an empty page or stats the system should inform him what to do to make a change. Otherwise the user feels unmotivated.

The onboarding phase ends when your users are fully equipped and they are ready to take on the journey on their own.

Scaffolding Phase – How to make the journey fun?

During the third phase of the experience, users are familiar with all the rules and options they learned during onboarding to try to achieve as many Win-States as possible. Ideally this is where they come back on a regular basis to commit to Desired Actions.

Let’s start the first lesson! I want to learn Polish. First lesson pages look really good. They are clear, and include small introductions of what I will experience in a minute.

The first task is to hear some new phrases. The full colours, smiling faces, friends all look very pleasing to the eye. Also I can press play to hear the phrase repetitively.

2016-05-11_1557

 

I took a small test after the first lesson, finally got my first win-state! The colour green is giving me a thrill, especially as it is accompanied by a cool win sound. This is Core Drive 2, Game Technique #17 (High Five) an emotional reward that is given after overcoming a small quick challenge. All good!

I answered the second question wrong and a red feedback UI appeared. The message is clear – red colour means wrong. But, I’m not getting any feedback on what the correct answer is, and I can’t correct my mistake… leaving me with an unpleasant feeling. The user should always feel motivated and empowered to be able to get it right soon.

2016-05-11_1558

 

UI Note: Remember that in previous pages Busuu presented a wrong answer to users with the colour red. Now “try again” is also red, which suggests that it’s a bad choice. This is slightly confusing.

Busuu has one more interesting option for the user. Writing is something that e-learning for language skills always has a problem with, but Busuu deals with that problem smoothly!

The idea is that you can write a short response for a question dedicated to the theme of the lesson. The system counts the words, and encourages the user to write more. After sending my text I got this message “Exercise sent to the community for correction, give back by correcting one yourself!”. It’s Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness and Game technique #63, Social Treasures: incentives that can only be received if other users give to you. It is also Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity, because the user doesn’t know yet, what feedback will be received. Also it’s great Core Drive 5, when the user depends on other players. It’s a cool idea to share my work with others, and to be corrected by the community.

xa

Recommendation – Scaffolding Phase

  • This is the moment when real action should take place. Also this is the moment when the first major win-state should happen. Try to give users something to be proud of! Show them feedback on their progress, accomplishment, and how much left is needed.
  • After the user reaches the major win-state, the system can give him more Desired Actions such as: Go get Premium Membership, Invite your friends. The First Major Win-State is when a User first says, “Wow! This service/experience is awesome!”
  • Busuu could consider making the platform even more social. Let the users see who else from their Facebook or Google+ friends are also on Busuu and ask them to invite their friends on the platform (game technique #54 Recruiter Burden).
  • I would also look for some statistics to increase Core Drive 2. It would be good if the user could see their weekly or monthly progress in the profile section.
  • Consider leaderboards – with friends, but also between countries.

The Scaffolding phase ends when your users believe they have gone through the activity loop for long period of time. They are now a veteran user ready for the end game.

The Endgame – How to keep the veterans motivated?

The Endgame starts when players believe that they have done everything there is to do at least once and they start to feel like there are no longer any unexplored Win-States.

In Busuu, a free trial allows access to almost all of their functions. However, after using the app for a couple of days I am limited to only 3 exercises a day. This is Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience, Torture Break Game Technique: a sudden pause to the Desired Actions for a limited time. If I don’t opt for premium I will only have three free exercises a day! In this screen the graphics look little bit sloppy. They cover the text and it is hard to read what is underneath. So I was left with the choice: wait until tomorrow or get unlimited access.

Picture1

Recommendation – Endgame Phase

  • What about gathering friends from all around the world and enable live chat? They could give each other feedback in real time! You can find a similar idea in the Tandem app. (http://www.tandem.net)
  • Think of rewarding users that are using the app daily.
  • Add more Core Drive 5, Social Influence & Relatedness. How about Mentorship, game technique #61? Veteran users could help a newbie with tasks.
  • Also the Rockstar Effect GT#92 (Core Drive 2), could make the users feel powerful at the Endgame Phase. Make people feel like they have “earned” their way to become a Rockstar.
  • Think about spicing up the application with more Core Drive 6, Core Drive 7 and Core Drive 8. A little bit of the Black Hat Core Drives can make users be more motivated. You can use game techniques: Evolved UI #37, Random Rewards (Mystery Box) #72, Easter Eggs (Sudden Rewards) #30, Evanescent Opportunities #86, FOMO Punch #84, The Sunk Cost Prison #50. But you need to keep in mind that in the long run Black Hat techniques can make users feel like they’ve lost control of their own behaviours. A good balance between Black Hat and White Hat is very important.

My Busuu experience was an exciting journey through all of the Experience Phases! Overall Busuu has a decent motivational push, but it needs to be improved in a couple of areas. It would be great if Busuu could show a good Step-by-Step Overall Tutorial, to prevent the user from feeling lost. What Busuu needs to do more is to make sure that the user feels powerful, accomplished, and smart. I want more win-states in the app! Also the platform could be more social and interactive between users.

All in all, I didn’t fall in love with Busuu, but let me say that this could be the start of a good friendship!

If you would like to know more about how we can help you achieve better engagement in your company or on your site or app, please contact us:
 joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

iza[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com

This blog has been verified by Rise: R08785af0d0bfc93c6370e0a06d74e2bf

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news

Gamification without Borders: The United Nations of Octalysis

The global power and reach of the Octalysis Gamification Movement is growing fast. We now have fans in all continents (not sure how up to date our Antartica database is, but still). Look at them using the power of Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback to express their intrinsic enjoyment of the Framework!

 

See below a couple of beautiful national representations of The Octalysis Framework. It shows how universal Octalysis is and how it appeals across borders and cultures…

 

Please submit your own country version (mailto: joris[at]octalysisgroup[dot]com) and we will incorporate in The Octalysis Group Blog! Can we reach inclusion of all major countries of the world?

Australia (Willow Neilson)

Australia Octalysis

Azerbaijan (Hasan Hasanov)

Azerbaijan Octalysis Gamification

Brazil (Tiago Sizenando)

 Brazil Octalysis Gamification

China (Larus Yang)

Colombia (Lady Morales)

Colombia Octalysis Gamification

Hungary (Adam Pusztai and Aron Toth)

 

India (Ashish Pratap)

India Octalysis Gamification

 

Jordan (Ehab Abu Dayeh)

 

The Netherlands (Joris Beerda)

Netherlands Octalysis Gamification

 

 

Norway (Gaute Kokkvoll)

Norway Octalysis Gamification

 

Poland (Iza Koslowska)

Poland Octalysis Gamification

 

Singapore (Joshua Wong)

Singapore Octalysis Framework Gamification

 

South Korea (Jae-ho Choi)

South Korea Octalysis Gamification

 

Switzerland/French (Warren Smith)

Octalysis Switzerland French

 

Switzerland/Zurich (Jussi Mori)

Switzerland Octalysis Gamification

Turkey (Altug Yilmaz)

 

Ukraine (Olga Dudnik)

Ukraine Octalysis Gamification

Like and follow to keep up to date with Gamification techniques and news