Gamifying the gamification industry

This is a guest post by two of the Gamification Gurus, Pete Jenkins and Vasilis Gkogkidis, describing how Rise is being used to motivate gamification professionals to be more active on social media.

Introduction

Recently the Success Tracking University was launched by Toby Beresford (https://successtracking.teachable.com/blog/962609/launching).

When we read about it we immediately wanted to help spread the word by sharing some of our experiences with numerical feedback and how it can change behaviour. We have used numerical feedback as a tool to motivate users in a lot of projects we have designed or part of as it can be a quite powerful tool if used right.

In this blog post, we will talk about how Rise, a company that Toby Beresford founded, engages and motivates gamification professionals to be more active on social media. The aim of this case study is to have a look at how numerical feedback made us feel as users and changed our behaviour.

One way to use Rise is as a tool to make a leader board and keep track of how well players are doing on their social media and online presence.

The leader board we participate in is called Gamification Gurus Power 100 (https://www.rise.global/gurus) and monitors how well participants are doing on their social media. The metrics include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn interaction with the audience as well how many blog posts you uploaded for the month.

We will start by explaining how leader boards work as a game mechanic and what effect they have on the players and on audiences watching the players. Then we will list the goals behind this leader board and how it promotes the gamification industry.

How do leader boards work

The sole purpose of leader boards is to introduce competition among the players. Let’s take a sport like Tennis as an example. Let’s have a look at the Men’s Singles leader board for 2017.

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Table 1: Source: http://www.espn.com/tennis/rankings

We need to keep in mind again that a leader board works on three levels:

  1. it helps the designer of the system to reach the goals of the project,
  2. it motivates and rewards players and;
  3. engages and informs the audience that follows the sport and the leader board.

Let’s break this leader board down and analyse it to see how it works on each of these levels. Going from left to right, the first thing we see is the rank of the players and their name. It may seem obvious but it’s important to have numbers indicating the ranking every player occupies on the leader board. Being number one is a matter of status, I want to see the number 1 next to my name if I am first on the leader board. The same goes for the audience, they want to know who is the best at their favourite sport. By giving this information first the designer of the leader board awards status to the players and informs the audience about who is the best at what they are interested in.

Next element of this leader board is a list of flags indicating where each player comes from and which country they represent. The designer here wants to remind us that Tennis is a sport that people play all over the world. It’s not a national but rather an international phenomenon and each player represents his or her country. Players feel proud to represent their country of course and audiences from these countries are proud to see their flag up there on the leader board.

Third element is the movement of players and how many places they went up or down the leader board. This element shows the progress of players in time. Maybe I was third last month but now I managed to climb to number one or two. It’s important to show how stable player’s performance is. The best players always perform well over a long period of time.

Finally, we have points! Points are rewarded to players for playing the game. The better they play, the more points they get and they perform better than their competitors. This is the element that determines the ranking in every leader board. This is the numerical feedback we have been talking about. Points can be very useful because we can quantify performances based on them. You can see how many wins each player made throughout the year and how many times he lost.

What does the Gamification Gurus Power 100 achieve?

Let’s have a look now at how numerical feedback helps the gamification industry grow by changing behaviours.

A leader board that rewards people to share good content online related to gamification works on three levels as well. First, we have the designer (Toby Beresford in our case) that wants to motivate gamification professionals to share content regularly to grow the industry and create a buzz around it and around Rise, which is his product and he wants to demonstrate its usefulness.

Then we have the players, the gamification professionals that their reward is status that helps them boost their profile in the gamification community. I also think that getting credit from your peers when you share something useful is very motivating. The same goes for some of the conversations that start online and the information you may get on a new project you didn’t know about.

We can’t forget the audience of course. People that want to know more about gamification and they can have a look at the leader board to know who to ask for some information and knowledge on gamification.

Getting numerical feedback from this leader board has really changed the way we think about our social media. We all know that it’s very good to promote good content on social media and have active profiles that help you promote your work.

Participating in the Gamification Gurus leader board though, has really changed the way we use social media. We now feel that we get something extra for being active and for creating engaging content.

As we mentioned earlier, points can really help you analyse a performance and see what you need to improve and of course how well other people are doing on the same thing. Curiosity is in all of us and can motivate us to participate in something to see how good we are compared to other people.

We hope you enjoyed our small case study, if you want to know more about us please have a look at https://gamificationplus.uk/ and find us on Twitter: @petejenkins and @v_gkogkidis

PS. Editor’s note: you might be interested to see that Pete has increased his score from 24 this time last year to 73 (out of 100) on the Gamification Gurus, and Vasilis has increased his from 31 to 65:

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Pete Jenkins Gamification Gurus Score. Source: https://www.rise.global/gurus/p/2249879
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Vasilis Gkogkidis Gamification Guru Score. Source: https://www.rise.global/gurus/p/5916048/r/2526853

Why Opt-In Matters When Applying Digital Success Tracking to Patient Care

One Nucleus Blog

This is a guest post for One Nucleus by Toby Beresford. Toby is the Founder and CEO of success tracking network Rise.global. Previously he has worked as a developer of web based disease management for patients, dermatology tele-referrals for GPs and was deputy chairman of the public health sub-committee for Wandsworth Council. His email address is toby@rise.global

At the recentPRISM SeriesDave Snowden told the story of how he self-managed his recovery from Type 2 diabetes – he called it his hero’s journey. It’s a story he has told before in a blog post “Early Detection, Fast Recovery”. Critically, he caught the disease early, refused to countenance “palliative” care and instead took control over his cure, targeting key factors such as diet and exercise. After 7 months he was rewarded with an all-clear diagnosis, saving himself from early death and the NHS from another expensive chronic patient.

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Holiday Reading for Success Trackers

If you’re planning a success tracking program then consider these books for your holiday reading list:

Essential

These two books are the critical piece of the success tracking puzzle – Scorekeeping for success focuses on the need for tracking to be for the benefit of the player not just the manager, while Drive highlights the need to avoid if-then rewards in the success tracking program.

Optional

  

These books provide a wider background to the design components of a good success tracking program – scorekeeping positively, using data storytelling, gamification and dashboards well.

The two simple questions every manager must ask themselves

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There are two simple yet powerful questions that managers of all kinds must ask themselves if they want to succeed:

  1. What does success look like?
  2. How will I track my progress to achieving it?

These two questions are easy to ask, yet the answers may take time to form.

Ideally you are looking for a metric or a series of metrics that reflect your definition of success. Then you need a way of tracking progress in a low hassle way – for example by automatically gathering the data for the metrics, calculating them and outputting the results in a convenient way, i.e. as a weekly email.

When you track success it’s not enough just to watch the data itself in a pretty line graph – that’s like watching the waves on the ocean: it may be comforting but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

To succeed, you need to score yourself.

You need to create a score that tracks against a target of some kind – for example percentage of quota achieved, rank versus your competitors and so on.

If you’re wondering what metrics to start tracking on your way to success then do read GERM – digital media metrics for really busy people next.

 

The Success Tracking Difference (5) – Player Controls

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

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Giving staff more control over how they are measured can lead to higher motivation and performance. Photo by Sergey Svechnikov

If you’re success tracking for your team, for example tracking your Facebook page against your competitors, then there’s no need for privacy controls – you are both the player and the manager.

However if it’s your team who are success tracking then you are the manager and they are the players.

As a success tracking manager you need to lay aside your old dogma of command and control and instead use coaching and calculation to influence your staff behaviour.

As a coach you are as interested in your player’s development, as you are in the success of the team – they go hand in hand: team success and player success. You cannot have one without the other.

As a calculator your job is to create and maintain a score algorithm that blends both sets of objectives. The score algorithm, it’s ranking rules, metrics and weightings, now become your management lever instead of traditional sticks and carrots.

On the player side we know from Deci and Ryan’s research that high performance comes in a context where they feel in control of their circumstances. In most cases that means having some power over how you are measured.

Contexts supportive of autonomy, competence, and relatedness were found to foster greater internalization and integration than contexts that thwart satisfaction of these needs. This latter finding, we argue, is of great significance for individuals who wish to motivate others in a way that engenders commitment, effort, and high-quality performance. – Deci and Ryan (2000)

A good success tracking system should therefore offer players a number of abilities that allow them to control and manipulate the scoring system, without compromising the overall goals of the program for the manager.

Examples of this might include:

  • a granular level of privacy over how they are represented on any leaderboard (whether shown as anonymous or identified)
  • control over their inclusion in the program (the ability to opt-in to receiving a score without appearing on the leaderboard, the ability to opt-out entirely, the right to erasure)
  • communications forums such as a scoring committee or leadership council with the ability to represent the views of players
  • transparency over how the score algorithm works (the ability to reverse engineer so you can see how you got your score)
  • control over how your score and rank is displayed on your social profile (the ability to choose to highlight your best score ever versus your latest score for example)

Now, not all success tracking programs will be able to offer players all the possible controls. There are some contexts – for example a sales leaderboard at work – where opt-out is not viable – however we believe that by maximising the controls available to the player, a manager can, to paraphrase Deci and Ryan, provide a context that supports autonomy and that leads to greater buy-in and ultimately higher performance.

We might characterise it as “Give more to Get more“.

The Success Tracking Difference (4) : Sorted One Way

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

When you look at team statistics on an excel spreadsheet and find yourself at the bottom it can be very tempting to reorder the spreadsheet on a favourable metric which puts you near the top.

This ability for players to reorder the leaderboard by any metric is not used in a success tracking program because it allows multiple worldviews. In a peer success tracking program, part of the value of the single score and the weighting is that this has been commonly agreed. By allowing different leaderboards to be generated this dilutes the impact of the main leaderboard.

Success tracking is also about flexing the algorithm until it’s right. By forcing everyone to focus on the single score it encourages a deep debate on what metrics should be tracked, their weighting and the score algorithm itself.

That’s why on Rise you won’t see a leaderboard with the ability to sort by any metric even if there are more than one metric shown such as in the Gamification Gurus Power 100 board below:

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In Success Tracking everyone focuses on the main score, you can’t reorder (sort) the leaderboard by any of the sub metrics.

Now you know!