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Michpoko
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Hi again Paul. Michpoko (aka Michelle Pokorny) here. I think social must be included because we are human and naturally social creatures... and it is cool, like your blog:-) Nice game mechanic and recognition with the Commentar Commissar badge. Thanks!
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Hi Paul. Pretty passionate about this so suffer my response again! Making a game of recognition=bad. 'Gamifying' the experience, program, activities that make recognition and culture of an organization come to life=good. We are trying to move away from the word games and gamification to persuasive design based on game science for that very reason - what we are doing is misunderstood. Agree, much of the human sciences explain why these game dynamics (insert human desires...e.g. achievement, reward, status, self-expression, etc.) and mechanics (points, levels, challenges, etc.) work... they tap into our innate drives, which gets our attention and interest. Lots of ways to intentionally design for that, and lots of powerful strategies and tools to help people accomplish what they want to accomplish in the context of a client business environment that are leveraged from good game design. We offer this as an ongoing engagement strategy, not a self-contained game (though that might be a single mechanic). We are seeing very positive results with participation and engagement measures, which is the very reason for doing this. Hope that helps clarify.
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Hi Paul. This will be a long response, but I respectfully disagree. While you may feel yours is an unbiased position, I believe it is a bit uninformed. At least in the case of Maritz, we are integrating game science (game dynamics and mechanics) into our client's program experiences... not 'games'. Big difference. The purpose is to make the program, the activities and behaviors associated with it more engaging, social, interactive, immersive, rewarding and - fun. We are clear with clients and shared at RPI (referenced link to this post, got only positive feedback from practitioners and providers in attendance) this is not about manipulation or coersion. In fact, we use a process called persuasive design to help identify the activities and behavior that people/employees/participants already want to do, would help them be successful, and identify where game dynamics and mechanics could help. For example, a client has a recognition solution but limited participation from part or all of the employee audience. We assume people want to recognize and be recognized, and can employ game dynamics and mechanics to encourage it. So, I might give someone a 'warm fuzzy' badge for their first recognition, and I might share that accomplishment in a newsfeed that everyone can see. Nice reinforcement for the giver, opportunity to give them some recognition for recognizing, potential to further engage them in the program and what else might be going on. If well designed (as with any program), the mechanics and what you are driving, rewarding, encouraging people to do can and should be aligned to corporate values and mission.... everything from what might knowingly or surprisingly 'level you up' to what you get back from the experience. E.g. if I have read up on recognition, taken the opportunity to complete leadership encouragement training, given three recognition and gotten two - this might flag me to be in a focus group for the recognition advocacy team where best practices are shared and plans made. What do I get? Additional status, an opportunity to shape and create the recognition experience and practices in my organization, bonding experience with others, maybe a badge or virtual reward, etc. Game science works because of what our brains like... Several examples, including Ford Focus who has a graphical flower on the dashboard that either flourishes or withers based on how economically you drive. It's not manipulative, you can let the flower die, but you likely are reminded of your desire to drive economically/save $ with that game mechanic in play. Using the same thinking to motivate employee behavior in a more engaging, effective and fun way that creates value for both the employee and the employer is a win-win. We will have a microsite out with our POV on game science soon, I'll be sure to share, and happy to show you what we are up to in the meantime. Thanks Paul.
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Paul, thanks for this article. Have read/studied much on effective goal pursuit, all that aligns (pun intended) with your post. Key: a goal isn't really a goal until we internalize it and create clear intention (plans) to act upon it. There are studies which identify approach and avoidance-oriented strategies in pursuing goals which seem relevant to the experiment: people were asked to focus on the positive outcomes (approach), but also asked to consider the hurdles they might encounter in trying to accomplish them (avoidance). Turns out we are most sucessful when employing both strategies. Finally, if we can connect the business goals and associated rewards for attaining them to our more personal, human, intrinsic drives and goals- the greater the attention to and effort that we will place on attaining them. Good stuff.
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Thanks Paul. I agree. We are one of those 'providers' to companies, and a core focus for us now is on the participant experience. It's hard to get and keep attention, more than ever these days... and if you can tap into the emotional and social side of people you've got a better shot. As a result, we are enabling ways to trigger communications that both encourage progress, recognize milestones and to surprise and delight participants (rather than just the stock, scheduled promo message). We are also incorporating all kinds of new, dynamic, and social communication methods/tools as well as game science into our programs and program websites. The result is a interesting, more social, engaging experience for the folks that will make or break the client's objectives, while at the same time reinforcing, communicating about and rewarding participants for the all kinds of participation, actions and behaviors that drive value to the client. Win-win...
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Thanks Paul, fun conversation as usual. We humans are internally, biologically motivated to acquire, so incentives work. But we also are driven to bond with others, to comprehend/create meaning and to defend all our stuff, status and relationships. Anything we are asked to do, decisions we make are filtered through our emotional brain and the influence of ALL these emotional drives. So, external incentives can tap into our drive to acquire, but that's not all that motivates us. I believe with good design, external incentives can effectively drive specific, shorter term actions/activities/behaviors without creating an addicted sales or workforce, as there are many ways to get 'doped' up!
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Hi Paul. In reading this was reminded of what I've read on goal pursuit. We have both intrinsic and extrinsically motivated goals (your triggers). Extrinsic goals we take on are essentially those which others want us to accomplish, such as work related goals. We seek to align our extrinsic goals with our own personal, intrinsic goals, and can better accomplish behavior change (goal accomplishment) when we create shorter term, more concrete goals (steps) that help to accomplish the larger, more abstract goals (such as a culture change). And recognizing progress toward goals is rewarding to the brain, and helps us stay focused on the goal (show the impact of the change).
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Good point. Still I wonder if Fairbanks were the 'loss' reward next year, would it have the same avoid punishment effect after the team experienced Fargo? I bet some might see a similar chance to 'create' their own unique reward and team experience just as or more appealing than the 'win' reward? Wonder what that might do to performance?
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Hi, Where I work, we've recently adopted a great way to describe what we do, in reasonably simple English. And though it is somewhat a lofty goal, it summarized nicely why as an incentive/motivation/loyalty solution provider seek exist. I won't share this description, else it show up on the landing page of every competitive website:-) The story is entertaining, Paul. Made me think of the thread we shared recently about how just earning points is rewarding. The reality of breakage, to some extent, reinforces a model we have adopted and are using in the design of programs, based on the work of Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria. As humans, we are motivated by multiple, innate human drives. We we are not purely rational, economically driven people. Otherwise, we'd be focused on spending those points, right? Provides more to think about in terms of what is valuable... and should be billable?
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Hi Paul, Interesting for sure! I wonder if the reward had been the Fargo trip (vs Hawaii) with no 'punishment' what the results would have been... While the 'rational' mind says Hawaii is a much better reward option, I wonder if the unique, quirky, one-of-a-kind experience of the Fargo adventure wouldn't have better held their attention, focus and mindful action towards their goals, resulting in better performance?
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Hi Roger and Paul. As we have been gathering insight from neuroscience and psychology advances, turns out accumulating points allows a build-up of anticipation that not only enhances the reward when points are redeemed, but also is in itself a reward. Psychology and neuroscience both demonstrate that an imagined reward triggers the same response in the brain as the actual reward (Knutson, et.al., 2007; Rauschecker, 2009). Seems to only bill on issuance is a bargain considering that the recipient get a) the points (earning/goal attainment is rewarding), the anticipation of an eventual reward (an additional reward) and finally the reward itself. BTW, a non-cash item or reward experience is better held in memory and cognitively associated with the company and behavior/activity for which it was received, effectively extending the value of the reward to the company. Perhaps we should bill on the earn instead?
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Dec 13, 2010