An email from the team at Google Maps landed in my inbox recently. I knew that it was a “robo-generated” email, and yet I got engaged. The title of the email grabbed my attention first – “Your review is making a difference”. As I looked at it further and digested fully the message, I realised that Google was using the 5 core principles of Success Tracking
So, here’s how:
This bit of the email shows that I have opted-in to receive the success tracking report (score)
And the main part of the email shows how Google are adhering to no prizes, a simple score, storified content and positive score keeping
This is a great example of how just relevant feedback, storified and positive, is driving my behaviour change.
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.
We need to keep in mind again that a leader board works on three levels:
it helps the designer of the system to reach the goals of the project,
it motivates and rewards players and;
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.
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:
operational dashboards that enable front-line workers and supervisors to track core operational processes
tactical dashboards that help managers and analysts track and analyse departmental activities, processes and projects
strategic dashboards that let executives and staff chart their progress toward achieving strategic objectives
Each type of dashboard offers three sets of related functionality – monitoring, analysis and management but in different degrees. For example operational dashboards focus more on monitoring, tactical dashboards help users analyse the root causes and strategic dashboards focus on achievement of overall management goals.
Instead of being focused on a traditional command and control management structure, the Success Tracking approach recognises staff to active participants in their own management. We want to see staff discover autonomy, mastery and purpose.
To enable, this a Success Tracking dashboard blends Eckerson’s three types of dashboards from the point of view of the user not the manager.
In success tracking we are now doing requiring all three performance dashboard types – monitoring ourselves, analysing our patterns of behaviour and managing our own progress journey.
This is different from the traditional approach where only an operational dashboard is given to staff. Each staff member is expected to monitor specific activities but is not being asked to take a wider view. Someone monitoring activity isn’t expected to ask “is what I’m doing as effective as I could be? Does it help me reach my overall goal?”
Real time isn’t that important
One side effect of this is that real time information, as is usually associated with monitoring use cases, can get in the way of analysis best practice. Instead freezing the data into periodic “releases” is more helpful. This means we can faithfully compare this week’s performance with last week’s for example.
Introspection and analysis requires time set aside to look at the data from a wider perspective. By notifying staff on a regular timetable – say the same time each week – you encourage the formation of analysis habits, setting aside time to consider progress.
The key though to understanding and planning your success tracking program is think of it from the “player point of view” – how does this help someone achieve their epic win? how does the dashboard show them how they are progressing on the journey? how does it allow them to self-optimise?
Career development isn’t something most of us do very well. Our horizons are all too often limited to the career progression offered by our current organisation, our bosses job or perhaps a dreamy, unfocused vision of turning our hobby into a day job.
Even in well run organisations, career progression is only properly discussed in an annual performance review and tends to be narrowly focused on roles within the current business unit. Of course this makes sense, there are few rewards for HR and managers who “outplace” cost effective and high performing staff!
However in the digital age, employees no longer need to accept the status quo. Just a mouse click away are the informal learning resources and opportunities for us to take our career in a new direction – we just need the guts to try.
In this post I want to talk about the journey of Andrzej Marczewski who in 2011 set out on a journey to leave his job as an intranet manager to become a leading gamification consultant. It took him 5 years but he eventually achieved his dream job!
To do so he used a number of informal learning methods, not provided by his then employer, that brought him success. We can learn from the route he took.
In his own words, the tools he used were:
“Social media was the key to getting really going as it gave me access to people who had the same interests as me and could point me in the direction of what to read to learn more – as well as being willing to teach me directly. If social media didn’t exist, there would have been no chance at all for my work to get me noticed.”
“Kevin Werbach released his Coursera MOOC course on gamification. I wish this had been around in 2011 as it was a great way to validate a lot of what I had been doing.”
“I started to write about my version of gamification and my views… I continued to research and produce content on a weekly basis and just kept gaining traction.”
“I went to meetups and events about gamification as often as I could and eventually started to speak at them. I remember my first Gamifiers Meetup talk with abject horror. I spoke at conferences such as the Gamification World Congress which helped with exposure greatly. ”
“By 2012 I was getting fairly established, I had started to be a regular in the Gamification Gurus top 10. I have to give credit to being on the Gurus leaderboard as well, for better or worse it provided good exposure over the years!”
“I did a little bit of gamification consultancy on the side, but it was not until 2016 that I finally broke into gamification as a career – 5 years after I started making a move on the industry!”
So those are the some great lessons learned!
For me, the most interesting aspect was how Andrzej used the Gamification Gurus Rise board to track his social media success. The board tracks his blogging activity, engagement with his twitter content and the reach of his talks using Slideshare. By optimising all three of these metrics, over time Andrzej was able to reach the top 10 and improve his online social presence. Having such a strong online presence in the sector was a big benefit to his prospective employers looking to offer expert advice to their clients. Success Tracking in action!
Fiona MacNeill, Learning Technologies Adviser, University of Brighton and UCISA Digital Capabilities committee member. AboutMe: http://about.me/fmacneill Twitter: @fmacneill
In early June I had the pleasure of implementing a conference-wide gamification activity in support of the UCISA Digital Capabilities event. The event took place at MediaCity, Salford; a vibrant and engaging venue for an event stocked-full of innovative ideas. The event focused on showcasing successful practices for supporting academic staff and learners in their use of technology within further and higher education. Another goal of the event was to highlight findings from the recent Digital Capabilities survey. So when a member of the event organising committee, Iain Cameron (University of Aberdeen, and UCISA Digital Capabilities committee), mentioned the idea of a Twitter selfie (or Twelfie) competition as part of the proceedings; Rise immediately came to my mind as the right tool for the job! I had encountered Rise before at a demo at the International Confex event in 2013 and then again during the Mahara 2014 Hui held at the University of Brighton.
The rules of the game were simple and already outlined for me by the organisers. One point was awarded for original selfies; @mentions; and retweets featuring the #udigcap hashtag. Two points were awarded to reward the befriending behaviours needed to: take selfies with another delegate; take selfies with a speaker; and take selfies with organisers. Three points were awarded for imaginative selfies; selfies with passing celebrities who work or visit the television studios of MediaCity; and a selfie with a famous landmark. Although the game was simple, we entered into it with a sense of playfulness, completed by my donning the literal udig-Cap on my head, to signify my position as the twelfie official! Here’s the photo evidence
Observed positive effects of using Rise Leaderboard:
Rise really stoked attendee engagement via Twitter. There were around 90 tweets that included twelfies. Overall, there were almost 1200 tweets related to the event, many of which were a direct result of attendees taking part in the Leaderboard.
The competition called for attendees to take photos of themselves with other attendees, speakers and celebrities. This encouraged both in-person and online engagement.
The twelfie competition promoted a sense of fun and resulted in crowdsourced documentation of the event proceedings. The documentation is now archived as a Storify
The competition boosted discursive engagement and publicised the twitter feed prior to the event. This was largely achieved by some pre-conference challenges where attendees were asked to take engaging photographs of their journey to the conference.
Top tips for using Rise in a conference situation
Our photo-based metrics meant that we had to do a lot of manual scoring. I suggest using a wider variety of metrics, including a mixture of automatic metrics derived from twitter polling and manual metrics.
I recommend linking a Google doc to the active leaderboard to enable simpler player addition and
Limit the number of times a certain metric can be scored. We found that some of the twelfies became repetitive, as there was not a limit on the number of times that a twelfie could be scored.
Include some wildcard activities to promote positive conference behaviour:
g. tweet and tag someone whom you met at lunchtime (with their permission);
engage in the conference treasure hunt and tweet what you found etc.
Take greater advantage of the need for the human superviser, or games-master, and consider using them to lead tweet-ups of certain topics raised during the event. These could also have point-awarding options.
Consider day-by-day scoring and options for remote attendees and second day attendees.
Points for @mentions of anything other than the conference hashtag, can affect the quality of tweets’ written content due to the character limit. Best to keep it to one @mention metric.
Add players in advance of the conference, if possible.
Having clearly defined board release times was a good strategy and led to a sense of anticipation, e.g. breaks worked well as times to release and show the updated leaderboard. Leave at least 10 minutes for the polls to complete and to release the board. I owe this idea to Katie Piatt (University of Brighton), who used this strategy to great effect at the 2014 Mahara Hui.
As I contemplate gamification at the next iteration of the Digital Capabilities event I have been considering how the competitive element could be developed further. Here are a few ideas, although I won’t go into specifics, as I don’t want to give the game away in advance!
Make awards unexpected – as Daniel Pink, explains in his 2010 book, Drive expected extrinsic rewards can negatively affect performance (pp. 63-70). Therefore adding some unexpected rewards for completed tasks could add value. However these rewards will not be itemised on the rules list, so a disclaimer about judge discretion may be helpful!
Reward introverts as well as extroverts – one of the best conferences that I have ever attended was Eyeo Festival based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (http://eyeofestival.com). Eyeo is an awe-inspiring event focusing on data visualisation, interactivity and maker ethics. However in the midst of all the flashy stuff, in the two years that I attended they had quiet spaces where one could engage in puzzles and inventions related to the event, sans supervision or sales influence. This was an invaluable opportunity to play and learn. Having an area in a conference like this provides time for time-out and inspiration as well as hidden scoring opportunities!
An idea inspired by Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken (2012): we allow attendees to +1 each other. This is like an in-person analogy of a “favorite” star or a “like” thumbs-up, but because it is real, perhaps it means even more within the context of the event. I like the idea of using physical +1s (think cardboard cutouts the size of a plate) which could become the subject of a selfie; a nice option for camera shy attendees.
Finally this is an idea that I owe to Pete Jenkins (http://gamificationplus.uk), who suggested making the next iteration of our competition, a team-based activity. Rise Leaderboard can support this mode of use. The concept is that player interest will be more sustained if they are contributing to a group effort, as opposed to seeing individuals rapidly ascend up the leaderboard and losing the will to compete due to very high leading scores. In the team model points can still be awarded individually for small activities and these can contribute to the collective team score.
Well, I for one am excited about the next Digital Capabilities event!
McGonigal, J. (2012). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. London: Vintage.
Pink, D. H. (2010). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Edinburgh: Canongate Books.
During September 2015’s TELFest (a week long festival consisting of workshops, discussions and drop-in sessions related to Technology Enhanced Learning) we introduced a leaderboard to enhance participation throughout the event, and to encourage the use social media to share experiences amongst colleagues that were unable to attend. Having experienced the leaderboard at the UCISA Spotlight on Capabilities Conference in June, I was interested in using it to introduce ideas related to Gamification, and bring an extra element of fun, to TELFest. The leaderboard is generated by a website called rise.global, which automatically calculates the scores for tweets that contain a specific hashtag, and, following some pointers from Fiona MacNeil who had set it up for the UCISA event, I set up a leaderboard for TELFest. Given the aims behind using the leaderboard, I decided that points should be primarily awarded for tweeting with the #TELFest hashtag and there were additional points for attending drop in sessions and tweeting TELfie’s (TELfest selfies). Below is a breakdown of the points that could be earned:
Tweets with the #TELFest hashtag
Being Mentioned by someone else
Having your #TELFest Posts Retweeted
Tweeting a TELFie with the hashtag #TELFest (TELFest, Selfie)
Attending a drop in session
Each day we saw the top tweeters changing positions and there was healthy competition amongst TELFest participants.
To keep tweeters motivated, automated tweets were sent out every evening, informing them of their position on the leaderboard.
Twitter activity increased significantly compared to September 2014, there was a tenfold increase in the overall number tweets, a tripling of the number of tweeters and, on the Friday, TELFest trended in the Sheffield area, meaning that it was promoted to local users on the main twitter interface.
An additional benefit of promoting the use of Twitter through the leaderboard was that it helped to capture the variety of views and opinions shared by participants during the event. We were then able to use the tweets to create daily blog posts summarising these discussions using Storify, allowing us to produce a record of the day’s events for participants to look back on and to give some insight into the discussions for those unable to attend.
While the leaderboard was highlighted during the Gamification session as an example of a method to encourage participation and motivate learners, it is hard to say whether, in this case, the leaderboard led to an objective increase in Twitter usage. Early feedback indicates that its’ introduction did motivate some people to tweet more than they might ordinarily, yet others stated that they were unaware of the board. Another reason why the increase in the use of Twitter at TELFest this year cannot be solely attributed to the leaderboard is that we integrated Twitter directly into some of the workshops. It is however clear that the leaderboard did not appear to influence the number of colleagues attending drop-in sessions.
We closed the board on Friday at 12pm and as a token gesture awarded chocolate medal to colleagues that were top of the board – congratulations to Gary, Nik and Maria.
As a leader, one of your jobs is to keep those you lead focused on the goals you are trying to reach.
An underused tool in every leader’s toolbox is to create and share “the score”.
“The score” is how you have decided everyone should measure success, whether as individuals or as a group.
Whether we realise it or not, we all take account of the score in our daily lives. Indeed, if you don’t share the score, people will invent their own. This can have hideous consequences as people chase after the wrong activities. No, it’s far better for you to take control of the score by choosing which KPIs matter and communicating them clearly.
As a leader it is your job to identify the scores that matter for the objectives you are seeking.
To do this, first write out the objectives and the success criteria for those objectives. These may be fairly numerical already. Then break down those objectives into the constituent parts and identify the important signals that you can measure reliably and easily. These are the metrics that go into making your score.
Next you need to attribute the score correctly. You have several options:
personal scores – this is a score for each individual. This approach works best in a group setting where there isn’t really a team objective – e.g. a conference, a group of separate businesses or a very large business
team scores – a score for your team. This works best when you are seeking to focus the efforts of your internal team – e.g. a KPI such as number of visitors to our website each month
market comparison – in more mature markets it may be more useful to focus on the comparison with peers – e.g. we are the number 1 supplier of milk in our region.
Finally, as a leader it’s not only your job to identify the scores that matter but also to communicate them regularly.
This could take many forms from a weekly email to a big screen TV leaderboard in the office. Whatever you choose, you need to remember that facts don’t speak for themselves. The medium you choose is important – people will take more notice of a leaderboard engraved in stone than one hastily scrawled on a piece of paper!
The score is an essential part of leadership. We all take account of the score whether we realise it or not. As a leader you can leverage the score and its communication to achieve the goals you’ve set for your team.
A great example of the importance of leaders and ‘communicating the score’ has recently taken the world’s media by storm. The Republican Party or Grand Old Party (GOP) Presidential candidates for the 2016 US elections recently debated each other on Fox News and presented to the audience what “scores” were important to them to keep and raise for the country. From here on in, how these individuals communicate their leadership goals to the people will be paramount. The use of Social Media will be more important than ever in reaching out and speaking to the electorate.