From Player to Professional
The brand of gamification has been changing since it's conception. This article looks to explore the the theme of our upcoming conference and hopefully to generate some discussion points before the conference.
Here are some of the sub-themes we will explore in this article:
- Gamification is moving into the 'Slope of Enlightment' and what this means
- By learning from our mistakes we are becoming a profession and we propose that the community can lead from the inside out to generate a new standardized system of 'best practice' which can be applied onto new projects for maximum success
- Gamification has successfully become a singular area of study rather than the cross-discipline it once was
Out of the 'Trough'
Gamification has not been on the Gartner hype cycle since 2014. Is this a subtle hint to pack our bags, to move on? We don't think so. Gartner gave Gamification a decade to go through the cycle, so we argue that it actually needs a chance to go through the cycle. In 2014, gamification was heading towards the 'Trough of Disillusionment'. We suggest that the past few years have seen us through the trough and we're now embracing a new era of gamification and feel this needs to be dicussed and reviewed. To find what flourishes and what fails and to cultivate or cut the relevant aspects.
What is this new era? It's the regrowth. New practitioners are coming into the sphere everyday, either because they are interested in learning the techniques or participating in the thought-leader aspect of the community. How we as practitioners, direct our efforts over the next few years will determine how the new entrants embrace or are able to enhance gamification.
Becoming a Profession by Learning from our Mistakes
Last year our conference highlighted the failures which many of our speakers experienced and how they overcame them. They detailed the woes, the mistakes and incorrect implementations of features leading to projects which were unsuccessful. Even some projects that were objectively successful were deemed as a failure in the eyes of the individuals who ran the projects.
Why do gamification practitioners still experience failure? If our projects keep on failing doesn't that suggest that maybe we haven't become a profession? By establishing ourselves as an industry, one of the strongest things we can do is to admit these mistakes, see where we've gone wrong, to share with the community and learn from them.
FAN ART © THE POKEMON COMPANY
Gamification design is going to have mistakes, in fact, mistakes should be expected in most design projects. Expecting to get things right first time is naive. The mind engages with mistakes and, where you share them, it can strike a new model or approach that you generate so as not to experience the same fault again.
From a Cross-Discipline Community to a Profession
Gamification was initially an assortment of several interest areas that have threaded together to eventually become its own profession, which has been designed and accepted by the community itself.
Bartle's player types were used to analyse gameplay, based on players of MUD's in the 1990's and was found by many practitioners of gamification to be lacking key aspects that could be applied to gamification and how other aspects of gamification integrate. A gamification-based system was generated by Andrzej Marczewski, which has been widely adopted in the industry.
This single example shows how we've gone from a series of collective professions to an industry profession in and of itself which generates it's own frameworks and models when approaching problems.
Conclusions and Key Takeaways
First, we'd like to challenge the idea that mistakes and failures are 'an end to the game'. If you do not complete a game level on the first try you look to see where you went wrong, you try with different techniques and you go all in. Become a better player overall . Better yet, by sharing our mistakes and failures we can help others avoid them which will surely generate such growth in the community.
Second, gamification is in need of a more distinct line between theory and application, because there is a difference. Approaching a problem in gamification is to be expected (purely because gamification is such a new profession and sometimes the framework needed for a specific solution hasn't been designed yet) and by generating new frameworks which can be applied in future scenarios you are directly adding to and influencing the community.
Finally, by designing together, non-experts will be inclined to choose the models and frameworks that automatically integrate into each other, rather than choosing frameworks with more tenuous connections which they may try to alter to fit. This can present an unsuitable solution to the business issue they want to gamify. Therefore we need to generate a new set of 'best standards' in design to avoid being a failed statistic.