Gamification for Engagement Across Generations

Gamification for Engagement Across Generations

Gamification for Engagement Across Generation

It is not a rocket science to realize how people are more willing to do things they are genuinely into. This can be reached by creating a fun element into the activity, making it an engaging way to spend time. Therefore, if engaging ways to spend time is one of the keys to make people happy, then in what way can people spend their time with an engaging moment? The most powerful answer might be by playing games, and this article will elaborate why game and gamification adheres to the issue.

Playing games has a positive effect on people who play it. In addition to being a stress medication, playing games can trigger the feeling of happiness and pleasure when we are in the game until the round is over.

According to a clinical psychologist, Dr Brent Conrad, the fun element is what makes games so addictive. One of the most popular forms of the fun element is the reward that is based on a levelling system. Not only players or teams can earn in-game rewards, but also real-world rewards such as the social connection that allows players to get completely immersed and generate strong emotion.

Gamification and Millenials

Millennials—those who were born in the 1980’s to 2000’s—is the generation that proactively witnesses the technology development. This generation certainly knows how to have fun with technology and gadget, especially with games. This can be seen by the growing number of gamers around the world from a wide range of fields and genres, ranging from online games, console games, even mobile games through the use of smartphone have begun to dominate the world gaming market (with the global smartphone users are expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019 with around 2.1 billion active mobile gamers by 2017 only).

As millennials are the main workforces of today, their tech-savvy characteristic more likely to utilize gadgets more and tend to avoid the conventional way of working. The old, plain, and rigid kind of way will not get their attention, let alone engagement. This is where gamification has the potential to fill in as it has the ability to turn that conventional way of work into a fun experience.

Gamification for Engagement Across GenerationIllustration of millennials and gadget usage. Image via

With gamification, millennials—who are also characterized with the gadget as their newest form of staple—will be more pleased in doing what they do because it is closer to technology or applications that they have been familiar with before. Gamification is also capable of making millennials interested in a certain topic because it is delivered in a more let-loose and fun way. Hence we can get their attention and willingness to get the work done that still aligns with our instrument, but at the same time not sacrificing their desire to do things their way.

Gamification and Generations above Millenials

Then another alarming question pops: is gamification only suitable for millennials since our workforce also still consists generation them? Well, taking the example from the Generation X—who was born between 1960’s to the early 1980’s—that was untouched by advanced technology when they were growing up till only recently to use gadgets, can also benefit from gamification.

This is based on The Human Capital Edge (Pfau and Kay, 2002), they argue that the question people are often asked to enter or survive in an organization is “Is the work is going to be fulfilling and enjoyable?” Everyone wants to enjoy the work they do and the people with whom they work. They also want to derive a sense of meaning and purpose from what they do every day. And it also does not depend on the certain generation, race, or gender. Everyone in an organization wants that.

The application of gamification in an organization has the ability to form a perception of fun and enjoyable towards the activity conducted within it. Both of these perceptions can result in a high sense of loyalty to members of the organization because they feel that their journey in the organization is fun and meaningful.

Remember the childhood discourse that always becomes the foundation of pre-school and kindergarten, “learning through play”? The adagium might sound lousy and ordinary, except actually the effect of those words is amazing if we can apply them very well. With the approach to play, all knowledge and info are more easily to be absorbed than the usual plain way. Gamification becomes important because it realizes the importance of that “learning through play” adagium very well which will give a quite visible impact on the organization.


Core Elements of Gamification

Core Elements of Gamification

Core Elements and Mechanics of Gamification

Everyone loves playing games. Playing games enable a good-feeling and more likely to reduce stress which impacts to a more productivity and a better result of work. In the other hand, play games also come with a risk of addiction. The gradual achievement such as gaining more badges or item to unlocking new stages can cause someone to continuously play it over and over again. Therefore, similar to the two sides of a coin, games can bring happiness and addiction at the same time.

However, what happens if the addictive and fun side of the game is transformed into something that can produce a real productivity that can be applied in everyday life? This question can be solved through one way of combining the mechanics of the game into real-life topics called gamification. Before speaking more about gamification, let us discuss how we would define gamification.

Gamification has many definitions. According to Yu-kai Chou, one of a renowned expertise of gamification, gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities. Meanwhile, the definition of gamification according to Huotari and Hamari, refers to a process of enhancing a service with affordances for gameful experiences in order to support user’s overall value creation.

Furthermore, gamification can lead to a change in user behaviour without resorting to extrinsic incentives such as monetary rewards or punishments. In the area of implementation, examples of gamification can be found in different application fields such as sustainability, environmentally conscious corporate resource planning, as well as production and logistics.

Still, how gamification can impact a bigger cause as well as impacting your productivity? Studies have shown that game mechanics can have a significant effect on motivation and participation in non-playful contexts (Herzig et al. in Matallaoui et al: 4, 2016). Especially latent factors such as joy, the ease of use, workflow, and perceived usefulness of an application can directly be improved.

However, the term of gamification is not only limited to how we insert game mechanics into an application. Gamification, as we know it, has a greater form. Gamification does not only include game mechanics and elements, such as leaderboard, level, and so on, but more than that, gamification requires users to be more proactive in order to get a clear meaning and purpose of what they are doing.

Core Elements and Mechanics of Gamification

Core Game Mechanics. Image via source.

The most basic form of gamification as most of us experienced may most often be implemented through education. Back to our college day, some of the materials in the campus organizations such as leadership and collaboration are taught through challenging games. The game definitely requires these two skills in order to solve a problem and come out as winners.

Back to the digital form nowadays, we can take an example when you are creating an account on LinkedIn. Whether you realize it or not, there is definitely a levelling as we complete the data of ourselves. This level will increase as we fill it out with a more extensive data. LinkedIn, as a professional networking platform encourage the users to put as comprehensive data as it can be to build the net of collaboration, or to simply facilitate recruiters to find a qualified candidate.

Core Elements and Mechanics of Gamification

Linkedin’s Profile Level. Image via source.

Another simple implementation of gamification in an app might be seen in the location-marker app, Foursquare, or now better known as Swarm. It applies the concept of gamification without having a complex game mechanics into the application. It implements the badges mechanics in the app. One of which is the “Mayorship” feature. This feature allows users to earn the “Mayor” title for when someone does the checks-in at a certain location in a certain period of time. This feature allows users to compete in order to claim the throne of a certain place. Another badges mechanics implemented in the app also redeemable with a various promotion with a number of merchants collaborating with Swarm. In this case, gamification turns into a retention rate, users get the promotional benefit while at the same time encourage the visit.

Core Elements and Mechanics of Gamification

Mayorship badges level in Swarm. Image via source.

Gamification can be found everywhere with an unlimited topic and various implementation. Everything is basically can be gamified. Gamification has the ability to turn an ordinary or even a boring material into something that has a big impact and more likely to stays longer in the minds of users. So, are you ready to be a part of this amazing change through gamification?


Gamification 101: The Rise of Game Everything

Gamification 101: The Rise of Game Everything

Gamification 101: The Rise of Game-Everything

Game undeniably has becoming a significant part of human’s culture, may it in traditional form with its traditional rules and equipment, to the modern virtual-reality ones. As the form of games may differ, the goal stays the same, to experience happiness by directly rewarded or punished for the action we choose. For that matter, developing games are quite relevant for daily use. Simply for entertainment or with a higher purpose, such as increasing the engagement rate.

As a company, employees are capital that needed to be developed in order to increase the growth of the company itself. Training is one of the solutions to develop employees’ potential. Nowadays, a method such as e-learning is seen as a comprehensive solution. It doesn’t require employees to leave their desk to join the training and can as well maintain their daily productivity while doing the training. One of the recently famed forms is gamification.

Gamification 101: The Rise of Game-EverythingThe implementation of gamification in talent management through The Code by Agate

The Origin

The word gamification starting to pops everywhere. It becomes a new trend in the game industry. Taken from Badgeville Wiki, gamification is a concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the users’ impulse which revolves around the concept of status and achievement.

The idea of incorporating game elements into non-game settings has actually started in 1896. The trend was retailers to give reward stamp for their loyal customer that later can be redeemed for gifts. It was probably the simplest implementation of reward-giving. Leaping into 2002, the game world began to recognize the term of Serious Game. The initiative has since emerged a link between electronic game industry and education, health, public policy, and training.

The very first time the term gamification was coined date back to 2003 by Nick Pelling, a British-born computer programmer and inventor. In the early of gamification rise, it didn’t gain much positive reception. It was mainly caused by the long-run assumption of gaming purpose adheres for entertainment use only. In 2010, gamification started to gain a lot of exposure and more popularity. Gamification captured the attention of venture capitals. It also dubbed that gamification as the most promising area in the game industry.

As gamification drew more attention, it even got its own conference. The first ever was held by Gamification Co. hosting Gsummit that attracted around 400 attendees. Other than its own conference, it then led to its own research expo, Gamification 2013, and was held at University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus in October 2013. Gamification has become a huge part of technology development ever since and has been implemented in mostly everything, in order to maintain or even increase the engagement.

Gamification 101: The Rise of Game-EverythingThe inventor of the term ‘gamification’, Nick Pelling. Image via source

The Implementation

Gamification nowadays also applied widely in corporate level. According to the survey conducted by Forbes Global, over 70% or 2,000 companies planned to use gamification for its marketing purpose of and customer retention. Many large-scale organisations and brands use gamification to attract new customers and to gain more engagement with their customers.

According to the survey, organisations with the likes of Marriott, Deloitte, Aetna, and Department of Defense are also using games to recruit and develop their employees. The growing interest in gamification stems from a desire to increase engagement levels among employees. This gaming process reckons more visibility, openness, and a system of rewards as well as recognition into the workplace.

The success story of gamification can be seen in many organisations or brands, in many types of industry. One of which is Nike, with its NikeFuel campaign. In NikeFuel, users compete against each other in the daily amount of physical activity. An app on their smartphone notes all activities by users and turns them into points. After reaching a certain point, NikeFuel unlocks special trophies and rewards. This then generates lots of buzz on social media and adding brand value to Nike’s customers. This program also increased the brand visibility.

Gamification 101: The Rise of Game-EverythingNikeFuel‘s interactive badges that draw users’ engagement to achieve more. Image via source

Furthermore on Forbes, the power of gamification is eliminating the evil side of competitiveness; it taps into the competitive fires and make us more engaged, feel a greater sense of accomplishment, and are more willing to go the extra miles. It transforms into the eager on whether making more sales calls, completing more training programs, or answering more customer center calls. All in all, gamification has become a ground-breaking solution to face a fast-moving world.


The Benefit of Games We Don’t Really Talk About

The Benefit of Games We Don’t Really Talk About

The Benefit of Games We Don’t Really Talk About

There has been a love-hate relationship between games and the society. For those who love it, games become an ultimate escape from the monotonous of the daily routine. For those who despise it, games become an incidental that seems to disrupt one’s performance and life habit.

However, as the universe recently revolves around technological development, games are one of the instruments that adhere tightly to it. As we cannot run away from that fact, we might as well try to shift our perception about games. Whether on the website, console, or mobile, game apparently hide significant benefits to your daily life, and here is the list to prove you.

  • Keep the Stress Away

This will be the mainstream reason on why people play games. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that fun is the strongest element when it comes to games. That element then leads to transform your feeling to be better, even reduce stress, and loosen the pressure whenever you play it. So how do we explain this scientifically?

This phenomenon mainly caused by a basic biological mechanism that happens in human’s brain, the release of dopamine. Dopamine is that “happy hormone” which has the function as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour.

Yes, reward is not a strange word when it comes to games. Whether it’s levelling up, unlocking a new stage, or simply achieving a new item in the quest, the brain translates it as a command to release the dopamine in which brings significant mood transformation to your body as a whole.

  • Stimulate Problem Solving and Decision Making Skill

Games with its quests given to the player allowing them to constantly decide, whether it’s as simple as making a jump in the right time or carefully choosing the next path. Therefore, other than fulfilling its entertainment purpose, games are also stimulating your brain to make decisions faster and challenge your problem-solving skill.

A world-renowned designer of alternate-reality games who has a PhD in performance studies, Jane McGonigal, conducts a research about the linkage of video games and problem-solving. She found that strategic games such as StarCraft, a military science-fiction game, can improve the ability to solve imaginary and real-life problems. This can occur on how through games, the players are unconsciously nurtured to both formulating and executing strategic plans in a certain period of time.

The Benefit of Games We Don't Really Talk About

StarCraft requires focus and precision on arranging strategy and decision. Image via source

  • Improve Multitasking Skill

Games may only give one main quest per level. However, if we look closely, there are many things that need to be done in the same given time in one place. This certainly requires a great deal of focus in finishing not just one task but many tasks in one time. Not only it requires focus, it also needs a multitasking skill in order to fulfil it. By all means, games also practically improve your multitasking skill.

A neuroscientist, Adam Gazzaley, from the University of California, San Francisco, has proven that game can lead to a better multitasking ability. In a study published in Nature, Gazzaley and his colleagues demonstrated that a handful of training sessions behind the wheel in a 3-D racing game could improve multitasking performance. During the research, while racing a car, participants were also instructed to keep an eye out for a specific type of sign and to press a button whenever that particular sign appears.

The need to switch rapidly from driving to responding the sign generates interference in the brain that undermines performance. After one month of research to the participant behaviour, they found a significant improvement of the multitasking ability which lasted up to six months.

The Benefit of Games We Don't Really Talk About

Multitasking study research. Image via source

  • Make New Friends

On contrary to popular belief saying gamers lack social life, it might be surprising that apparently, such a belief is no other than a degrading myth. Gamers have the same opportunity to interact with the others as much as non-gamers do. At some point, there may have more chance for gamers to make much more new friends than the non-gamers.

In this case, team-game, especially MMORPG game such as Dota 2, Arena of Valor, or other online team-game has the same concept of real-life teaming, with real-life people. Further added, this team doesn’t only contain people nearby but also reaching a wider area in many countries. These games are usually enhanced with in-chat feature, text or voice, allowing players to interact and bond virtually between each other whether through a small talk or even arguments battle.

The Benefit of Games We Don't Really Talk About

Dota 2 is able to build its own community, even to have an international championship. Image via source

  • Enhance Career Boosting

Quoted from John Hagel III, co-chairman of a tech-oriented strategy center for Deloitte on how the impact of game to one’s work, “We are finding that the younger people coming into the teams who had experience playing online games are the highest-level performers because they are constantly motivated to seek out the next challenge and grab onto performance metrics.” And Hagel is definitely right.

Gamers have the tendency to always seek a new challenge they not yet or cannot achieve before. This desire for challenges have a close linkage to the performance in the workplace and in mostly everything they do. The concept of levelling up in the game is unconsciously applied in finishing task and striving to achieve more.

These benefits listed above will surely boost up your productivity. However, just like every other thing which will never do any good if it is taken a slightly too much. The sense of responsibility and well time management will always come in handy to secure your daily routine, yet still support your love for the game.


Game as a Powerful Communication Media

Game as a Powerful Communication Media

Game as a Powerful Communication Media

People play games typically for entertainment anytime, anywhere. You may find people playing Candy Crush in the subway or on the bus, Clash of Clans in the waiting room, or some Minion Rush before going to bed. Those might seem a bunch of short time in a sight. However if we pile it in total, there you have it, a tremendous amount of time in deciphering information. Therefore, games are naturally a powerful communication media. Then how does game can be utilized as a communication media in a way other media unable to do?

Game is an interactive media that appeals to all sensory at once

Generally, games can be utilized to improve the effectiveness of the communication process. Games have a unique nature unlike any other media that appear in the one-way flow where recipient passively decipher the information. As the sender, you can use games to deliver your messages to your target recipient while as the recipient, people can productively grasp your messages by playing the game. Here “active” is the keyword. Since game demands users’ active participation, this means it demands a full concentration, resulting in an effective communication which requires the recipients’ focus on receiving the message.

On the other hands, we do recognize that people are divided into certain categorization based on how they process the information: the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic. In a case study of customer service training, the conventional way will present the visual a demonstration video of an officer serving customers, have the auditory listen to a tutorial audiobook of a customer service scenario, and hold a role-play session for the kinesthetic. All of the categorization can be facilitated through games. As we know it, games are enhanced with attractive graphics and sound effect within, quests and tutorials to begin with, and an immersive role-playing. For this matter, simulation games are the perfect example. One of them is applied in game such as SimCity, where people can learn about how to build plumbing system in a city by virtually designing and building it. The use of games in this term proves it can improve the communication effectiveness reaching all sensory.

Game as a Powerful Communication Media

Immersive plumbing construction in the SimCity. Image via source

Games give people a freedom on processing with a direct result of the communication

Games have a peculiar mechanism in letting people continuously decipher information using level design and balancing. The level mechanism in which resulting to certain reward can be gained according to ones’ pace in playing the game. This pace depends on the speed of processing message which can also be different between each and every one.

The schemes are people with faster receiving process who likely to find the communication too slow will eventually get bored. On the other hand, people with the slower process to find the communication too fast, the chances are they will decide to just ignore it. Game accommodates this different need based on their own eager to get the reward and level up, giving them a subtle sense of attachment. In this case, we can take the example from Hay Day, a popular farming game. The game starts with a player provided only a set of soil to be used to grow crops. Later on, when the player reaches a certain level, some chickens will be given as a level up reward. The purpose is to let the player get used to the core mechanism of the game: getting money by selling resource they produced on the farm. Along the way, the player will explore more ways to produce various resources.


Game as a Powerful Communication Media

The level mechanism in Hay Day. Image via source

As the game mechanic is set to recognize the players’ achievement, you can expect to have a direct feedback from your recipient. You can find out whether the player understands the message you are trying to deliver—mostly in a form of quest—through the game right away. Let’s take the example from one of the popular time-management games, Diner Dash. The game only lets you finish some stages by doing chain reaction on the activities. This means people who haven’t understood about this chain reaction mechanics will not be able to proceed to the next stage. This mechanism allows you to track the message internalization and monitor if there is any occurring error based on the players’ tendency.

Games are fun, and people love having fun 
We can’t debate that fun is the basic nature of games. Hence, people will tend to be more motivated going through the game-based communication process, compared to the conventional ones. Even though a motivated recipient is not a compulsory requirement, it is definitely a great boost to the effectiveness of a communication. Further added, this fun factor will attract people more likely to play games repeatedly in which will result in them to be exposed to the message more frequently.

Game as a Powerful Communication Media

BNI Experience Mini Games by Agate

Furthermore, there are some circumstances that make a game can be even more powerful. The information sender needs to first grasp the specified recipients you are targeting, the kind of message that you are trying to deliver, and so on that are in-lining with the game design. Nevertheless, not all things that are called as games will be definitely a powerful communication media. The key factor is, it has to be a well-designed and well-developed game, so that your target recipients can have fun while also recognizing your message.


The Serious Business of Serious Games

The Serious Business of Serious Games

The Serious Business of Serious Games

What goes inside your mind when you heard the word ‘game’? We bet it is something that has to do with fun and amusing kind of activity, as well as having no serious impression. Well, that is not entirely wrong. Most people see games as a form of entertainment that generates happiness and gives no maleficent aftermath.

However, did you know that there is a serious side of games? Serious as it can be used not only for entertainment purpose, but also for education, employee training, engineering, health, city planning, politic, and national defence purpose? That side of the game is called Serious Game, and it is a serious business. Before we talk more about what actually serious game is, let’s get into the surface, shall we?

The humble beginning

Serious games are kind of game which goal is not only for entertainment, but can also be used for facilitating the work in various fields such as education, employee training, engineering, health, and much more. Serious games had been implemented since 1960’s where education paper-based game had become popular in that era.

At the beginning of 2000’s, serious games have a lot of varieties and only marketed to children and teens to help them learn. In 1999, a technology company, LeapFrog Enterprises introduced LeapPad. It was a breakthrough technology that combined the interactive book with cartridge system where children could play games and interact with the paper-based book. LeapPad combined serious game that had been implemented in the past with the current technology. This game generated well selling-number in the market and became the forerunner of the serious game in the modern era.

Along with the growth of video game industry in the 2010’s, serious games began to look upon by companies to make training easier and fun. According to Market and Markets, it is estimated the serious game sector will grow between 2015 and 2020 at an average annual rate of 16.38%, which means the business will reach 5.449 billion dollars by 2020. Nobody has expected before that the humble beginning of serious games—from only paper-based, basic technology, now become a serious business like it is today.

The Serious Business of Serious Games

The early generation of LeapPad as the forerunner of the serious game. Image via source

The example of implementation

One of the most well-known of serious games is a leadership based game namely Pacific. The game tells a story about a team on a humanitarian mission when suddenly their plane crashed, and they are trapped on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The game objective is to lead their team while they build a hot-air balloon so that they can escape from the island and return home. To do this, players have to learn all the virtues of a good leader and team management, including motivating and rewarding their colleagues, resolving conflicts, delegating tasks or coaching team member. All the skill-set that is needed in the game are important in every company to make a good employee. Pacific has the ability to create leadership training more fun and make people more engaged to this topic.

Another example of a serious game is a medical training-based game called Pulse!!. Pulse!! was created by Doug Whatley, CEO of Breakaway Games, and Dr. Claudia Johnston of Texas A&M. Individuals—usually medical students, take on the role of a physician or nurse and play through scenarios as one would in an entertainment purpose game. Pulse!! can change the perception of complex medical training to easy-to-understand medical training.

The Serious Business of Serious Games

Pacific game nurtures leadership and conflict resolving and is usually being utilized in leadership training. Image via source

The practical benefit

  1. Improve Engagement and Motivation

Human love playing games and it is proven by a Dutch historian, Johan Huizinga with his book titled Homo Ludens. The book highlights the importance of the play element of culture and society which suggesting its characteristic as primary and necessary. Based on his theory, we know that human love playing games and feel amused after they play it. The same thing also happens with the serious game. Serious games generate engagement with the certain topic as people get caught up in the fun no matter how complex the topic is. People also feel motivated when as they can receive some rewards after they can accomplish something.

  1. Facilitate the memorization and the retention of knowledge

Teaching material that is full of words without illustrations can be unappealing somehow that it would make students instantly forget the material that had just been taught. With serious games chances are, students will always remember what they learn since it is unconsciously rendered in a non-monotonous way. Further added, the visualizations are also more likely to help student responding better.

  1. Reduce training cost and direct risk effectively

Employees who are still in training actually entitled to have more risks, especially for those who are just starting and instantly placed in the field. For example, a new cashier that is only being employed would need more time to get used to whatever they learnt at the training. This might spark some disputes on handling customer real time. Another study case might be if you conduct a construction training which usually requires sites and heavy tools. Those, not only would cost a lot, also give higher live risk to the trainee. To avoid this issue, serious games can be a solution to minimize the risk that could harm the company and the employee. For the on-site trainee, the company can utilize mobile-based serious games while for the construction trainee, a virtual simulation training will deliver the same proper training.

The Serious Business of Serious GamesVR Crane Simulation developed by Agate being exhibited in IHRS 2017

Serious games are important to the business as a medium for people to understand a certain topic or training fluently. Since it is enhanced with the gaming element, It fulfils people’s desire for their love of playing. As we reach their attention and engagement, the knowledge retention will likely to have more adhered without too much of a hard effort. So do you dare to join the fun side of serious games?