Sunday, 3 June 2012

What is my definition of Gamification? Where is my focus?

Lets start off with a confession;  I don’t really like the word “gamification” but it does seem to be what is being accepted so lets stick with it!

So as far as how I define “my” gamfication interest… I start with the standard definition of gamification as being the use of  game design, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts (see or

However, I have diverged a little bit from this starting point (otherwise what would be the fun!!) to both broaden and also narrow my own focus.

Where I broaden is by including “serious games” in what I am looking at. For those unfamiliar with the concept, “serious games” also can b called “games with purpose” or “games for change”. These are games designed for a primary purpose that is not pure entertainment although they can be entertaining! I’m really excited by the concept of playing games to better our world – there are environmental games, health games, anti-poverty games, recycling games and the list goes on! This is really insipring stuff!

Where I narrow my focus is because I exclude a large part of gamification – the part that is targeted explicitly on marketing (i.e. loyalty programs etc). I can’t really say why but I am just not particularly interested or excited about this space .  Although I do admire when I see great examples or unusual implementations, it just doesn’t ring my bell as something I want to focus on! Having said that, I am really, really interested when I see this being done AND it has a secondary (I’m not completely niave!) goal of benefiting or improving beneficial behaviour of the user / customer. Nike plus is probably one of the most well known of these.

So to be more explicit, when I talk about gamification, I am predominantly interested and discussing;
  1. How we can use gamification within the enterprise where we use game design etc to drive more efficient  and effective processes, better change management outcomes AND help people engage with, and enjoy more, their work.
  2. Serious games and games with a purpose that seek to improve the human condition by engaging their players. 
  3. Its a subset of the bullet point above that deserves a special mention; educational games. I am really excited about the how games and gamifcation can enhance education, having seen firsthand how well my son has responded when exposed to games and gamification during his own educational experience. Its amazing!!

So that is my context. Keep that in mind! 

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