The Outstanding Gamification Awards Winners
​by Michael Wu

It’s almost Christmas, so here is my present to all of you: the final wrap-up post on the winners of the Outstanding Gamification Awards (OGA). Since the OGA process is gamified, it does involve some active participation of the contestants throughout the judging process (this is not an ordinary competition where contestants simply submit and pray). Therefore, I thought it would be helpful for the community to provide more transparency to this novel process.

Not only will we outline the HOW’s, but also the WHY’s (the reason why we wanted to gamify this process). Having a clear understanding of the entire process not only increases your odds of winning (should you want to participate again next year), it is also more fun for everyone.

The Commitment

First of all, I must offer an earnest gratitude to my panel of judges (in no particular order).

Since this is the first time we used this gamified process, the entire judging process actually took much more time than anticipated. Yet, the judges selflessly contributed their time, energy, and expertise. Keep in mind that they don’t need to do this, yet they are spending hours after hours for all of you, to help you grow, and to grow the community. So I hope that you will all remember that a huge part of what made you a winner today is because of them. Their commitment to the gamification community and the greater industry is what epitomizes the very definition of “altruism.” They are truly the Guardians of the Gamification Industry.

The Winners

Now, it’s time to announce the winners. We have listed the winners and the runner-up for categories that have more than 2 finalists, or if the finalist has been boosted. For the precise scores and placement of all the finalists, please refer the data in the attached spreadsheet for all the details.

In the spirit of transparency, the raw data for both the initial (round 1) and the finalist (round 2) are provided in the spreadsheet here. Also in the spirit of anonymity, thanks to our Blockchain voting platform provided by ChainCubed, all judges’ identities are anonymized. All their comments are aggregated for each entry and can be found at the right most columns of each worksheet.

Note: The comments for each component of the final score (i.e. Creativity, Impact, and Design) are kept separate for the finalist round to make it easy for consumption.

Outstanding Gamification for Inclusion and Diversity (sponsored by Gamification Nation)

The winner is Culture Shock.

The runner-up is Games for Peace - Arabia Felix in Yemen — magic boosted by me.

Outstanding Gamification Project in Audience Engagement (sponsored by 3radical)

The winner is Siemens Revolutionises Selection Process with GBAs.

The runner-up is The Hunt — magic boosted by Gustavo Tondello.

Outstanding Gamification Project in Learning (sponsored by Growth Engineering)

The winner is Think Codex Customer Service Training Simulation

The runner-up is Roots Gamification Impact

Outstanding Gamification Research (sponsored by PlayVisit)

The winner is EscapED.

​The runner-up is Framework for Design of Personalized Gamification — magic boosted by An Coppens

Outstanding Gamification Rookie (sponsored by SelfDRVN)

The winner is GamUp.

Outstanding Gamification Software (sponsored by ChainCubed)

The winner is GameHill - Gamified Learning Platform.

Congratulation to all the winners! Now, it’s your turn to give back to the community by being judges for next year’s OGA.

For those who did not win the OGA, don’t despair. In a way, you are winners too (remember everybody wins something simply by participating in the OGA). You are all winners because you have been spared from the judging duty next year  🙂

Remember, winning the OGA is not only a validation by the Guardians of the Gamification Industry, but it’s also a responsibility.

The How and the Why

The OGA is an innovative way to gamify a conventional award process. So the submission of your entry marks the beginning rather than the end of your work. Some of these unique elements include: Pay it Forward, Magic Boosters, Golden Tickets, which gives you Second Chance or a Quantum Leap. If you don’t know these gamification elements and don’t know how to use them, then you don’t know the rules of the game, and your winning odds will be slim.

The good new is that all these are spelled out in great detail in our OGA blog post(s). So read it, if you want to understand the rest of this blog, since we will refer to some of these elements.

So why did we gamify this award process? There are many reasons, but here are a few driving principles behind the logic.

  1. We want to drive deeper engagement among gamification practitioners
  2. So we want to encourage mutual learning and understanding of each other’s great work
  3. This will ultimately help grow the greater gamification community
  4. We want to do this in a fun and transparent way that is also fair and anonymous

The Winning Strategies

So how can you increase your odds of winning? Well, the most important thing is still to continue to do outstanding gamification work. The 3 components of how the finalists were scored should tell you that impact, creativity, and design are most crucial. Yet, to make it through the first round, you must learn to present your work well in front of a camera. This is an increasingly important skill for gamification practitioners, because you must present to a business stakeholder who may not know anything or care about games or gamification. Your presentation must be able to compete and possibly out-shine other shinier projects such as AI, IoT, and Blockchain.

Beyond the obvious, I do have 4 tips for future participants of OGA.

  1. Stay informed:

    You are all gamification practitioners, so of all people, you should know better that you cannot win a game where you don’t even know all the rules. There were 4 blog posts released since we launched OGA (listed below). They detail all the rules, as well as any changes we made along the way due to unforeseen situations. You must read them all and learn all the rules (as well as the tips, tricks, and also changes and updates) of this game.

    The Outstanding Gamification Awards: Part 1—The Opening Act
    The Outstanding Gamification Awards: Part 2—The Intermission
    The Outstanding Gamification Awards: Part 3—The Grand Finale
    The Outstanding Gamification Awards Finalists

  2. Promote your Video

    If you have read all the OGA posts above, you would have recognized that the popular votes (in the form of the number of likes you received on your video entry) has a pretty strong effect on your initial round’s final score. In fact, it’s worth 2.5x of any judge’s vote. So to increase your chance of getting into the finalist round, you should spend more time and energy on promoting your video entry to get more likes.

  3. Pick the right category

    One observation from many judges for this year’s submission was that many of the entries seem to be submitted for the wrong categories. Pick your categories carefully. Many entries in this year’s OGA received a sub-optimal score, because they were not scored with the proper category in mind. As a result, many of them did not even make the cut as a finalist. Had these contestants chosen their categories carefully, they could have made it into the finalist round. They might even win.

  4. Know your competition

    There is a famous saying by a Chinese general and military strategist, Sun Tzu (in The Art of War), “Know thyself and know they enemy, a thousand battle, a thousand victories.” Many far greater generals (e.g. Napoleon) lost their battle, because they didn’t know their enemy well enough. From my analysis of the Quantum Leap data, many contestants have chosen their Quantum Leap component irrespective of the other finalist. This is sub-optimal, and you could be wasting your Golden Ticket.

Imagine what would happen if you leaped a component where are you already very strong, it won’t help you move further ahead, because you might already be number 1. What if you leaped a component where your opponents are also likely to leap? Then you will definitely be wasting your Golden Ticket, because everyone will stay in the same rank, if everyone leaps the same component. So How do you know which components you are strong, or which component your competitions are likely to leap? You must KNOW THY ENEMY  by watching and studying the video entries of the other finalists.

​Picking the optimal component to leap is hard. But if you don’t pick any component, then you are forfeiting your Golden Ticket. And we have seen several entries lost their winning place because of this. So if you care deeply enough about winning the OGA, you need to learn about the other finalists’ great work. This is one of the ways that we gamify mutual learning among gamification practitioners.

The Lesson Learned

Despite all the good intent, design, and the collective wisdom of all the judges, who helped created this gamified OGA process, this is still the first time we test ran it. As such, there are many execution deficits. Many of these are due to the lack of time needed to properly execute all aspects of this innovative process. For example, the judges felt there wasn’t enough time to score all the entries, especially for the second (finalist) round. There was no time to produce or show the finalist videos that summarize the work of each finalist before announcing the winners. We couldn’t offer the Second Chance option due to time constraint required to 3D-print the OGA trophies. Etc. etc.

I must personally apologize for this, since this is mainly on me as the chair of this year’s OGA. We launched OGA quite late, because when I accepted the responsibility to chair for OGA, I had just left Lithium, and I didn’t anticipate that I would land a new job as the Chief AI Strategist at PROS so quickly.

Besides the time constraint, there is always room for improvement. We have collected a lot of wonderful feedback from all of you. We will learn from our failure and make the next OGA even better.

So, I hope to see your participation again next year.