Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things

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Senteo Rating 4.0
04/27/23
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Author:Brian Burke
04/27/23
views 7611
comments0
Author:Brian Burke
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 4.0

Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things
Brian Burke, Bibliomotion, Inc 2014
Senteo’s Review information

Brian Burke’s book offers an excellent introduction to gamification and a very useful, albeit generic, guide to developing gamified solutions. Burke begins by dispelling some of the many myths and inaccuracies that dominate popular understanding of gamification. He argues that the prevalence of misconceptions is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of a widespread adoption of gamified solutions by businesses and organizations. One example he uses is of people who think that simply slapping points and trophies onto an existing business process constitutes gamification. Rather, gamification requires a shift in thinking towards users/customers motivations and goals and orienting the solution around them.

Burke is especially critical of business leaders who see gamification as a means of manipulating people for their own ends – the targets of manipulation being either their customers or their employees. He makes it clear that such transparently cynical efforts are doomed to fail, because they are invariably poorly designed and drive away users, rather than engaging them.

Burke therefore begins his book by proposing a definition that encapsulates what gamification is actually about – it is the use of game mechanics and experience to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. In effect, gamification works best when it’s a tool for positive reinforcement.

The rest of the book is split into 2 parts. In Part 1, Burke unpacks gamification as a concept, describing how it can be used and when it is not appropriate, as well as examining some examples of successful uses of gamification. He identifies who the targets (‘players’) of gamified solutions are: these are customers, employees, or communities with a shared interest.

In Part 2, Burke provides a step by step guide to designing and launching a gamified solution, what he calls the player experience design process. This entails a specific process for understanding the players and how to motivate them in a gamified experience. The process can be broken down into structuring the tasks in a logical order, focusing the design on achieving player goals, and reducing the time and risk to design a gamified solution. This is illustrated through the example of a fictional discount brokerage firm, ‘YakTrade’, which is implementing gamified solutions to draw in investors. Throughout Part 2, Burke identifies common pitfalls that many businesses encounter when implementing gamified solutions; while the book is almost 10 years old, many of them are still relevant today.

The book provides an excellent introduction to gamification and is useful to anyone looking to understand its uses and abuses. Burke provides an excellent conceptual introduction to the concept of gamification, as well as a comprehensive, coherent, if somewhat generic framework for designing “player-centric experiences”. Burke directly encourages his readers to focus on the aims and motivations of their customers when designing solutions.

While it is a good introduction to gamification and gamified solution design, the book is unfortunately somewhat dated. It was published almost 10 years ago, a long time in a field where progress is fast-moving. Thus, Burke’s predictions about the future of gamification, to which he devotes several chapters, are of limited value to the present-day reader.

The book is focused on the application of gamification. However, it could benefit from a greater focus on game theory, as opposed to general principles. Gamified solutions tend to fail because designers do not understand the principles that actually motivate and engage people.

Organizations are facing an engagement crisis. Regardless if they are customers, employees, patients, students, citizens, stakeholders, organizations struggle to meaningfully engage their key constituent groups who have a precious and limited resource: their time. Not surprisingly, these stakeholders have developed deflector shields to protect themselves. Only a privileged few organizations are allowed to penetrate the shield, and even less will meaningfully engage. To penetrate the shield, and engage the audience, organizations need an edge. Gamification has emerged as a way to gain that edge and organizations are beginning to see it as a key tool in their digital engagement strategy. While gamification has tremendous potential to break through, most companies will get it wrong. Gartner predicts that by 2014, 80% of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives primarily due to poor design. As a trend, gamification is at the peak of the hype cycle; it has been oversold and it is broadly misunderstood. We are heading for the inevitable fall. Too many organizations have been led to believe that gamification is a magic elixir for indoctrinating the masses and manipulating them to do their bidding. These organizations are mistaking people for puppets, and these transparently cynical efforts are doomed to fail. This audiobook goes beyond the hype and focuses on the 20% that are getting it right.

We have spoken to hundreds of leaders in organizations around the world about their gamification strategies and we have seen some spectacular successes. The book examines some of these successes and identifies the common characteristics of these initiatives to define the solution space for success. It is a guide written for leaders of gamification initiatives to help them avoid the pitfalls and employ the best practices, to ensure they join the 20% that gets it right. Gamify shows gamification in action: as a powerful approach to engaging and motivating people to achieving their goals, while at the same time achieving organizational objectives. It can be used to motivate people to change behaviors, develop skills, and drive innovation. The key to gamification success is to engage people on an emotional level and motivating them to achieve their goals.

This book is an excellent introduction to gamification for anyone who is interested in improving their understanding of the concept. It is especially useful for business leaders who are looking to implement gamified solutions in their organization, as it can change the way they think about the process. The core value it preaches is for businesses to think of gamified solutions as a way of creating value for their customers, by helping them to achieve their own goals, rather than manipulating them into serving the interests of the organization. This directly encourages leaders to think about how they can align the goals of their customers and of their organization, and to be empathetic towards their customers.

The step by step guide in Part 2 is also very useful as a basic guideline for the implementation of gamified solutions. It is intentionally generic, so different solutions will inevitably require a more specialized approach.

If you want to learn more about how we think, solve puzzles and play games, check out Thinking, Fast and Slow (Senteo Review).

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Gamify is a thorough examination and explanation of gamification concepts and techniques, providing both frameworks and guides on its tactical implementation in business. 

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    Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things
    Brian Burke, Bibliomotion, Inc 2014
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