Dr Jason Fox is an expert in motivation strategy and design, and all things gamification. Dr Fox works with companies all over the world, showing them how to use gameplay to influence behaviour and make things happen.
He also happens to be a former Level 40 Blood Elf who spent his doctoral degree years killing boars, picking daisies, and working as an alchemist in the Elf Guild.
Of course, we are talking about World of Warcraft, the most massive of all massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMPORPG). See, told you he’s an expert in gamification.
In this Anthill Academy course Cheat Sheet, Dr Fox discusses gamification and motivation with Anthill’s James Tuckerman. Dr Fox shares his insights on using game-layer theory to motivate ourselves, our customers and influence the behaviours of others.
Gamification is a new way of looking at work and Dr Fox has the codebook to help you make it work within your organisation.
Here’s just a taste of what this course has to offer.
Asking someone “where do you want to be in 10 years” is de-motivational bollocks
Gamification works by taking a mundane task – like picking daisies or signing up for a newsletter, as the case may be – and making it interesting. This, as Dr Fox explains, is often achieved by making the “work” a part of a quest.
Dr Fox readily challenges the conventional wisdom of SMART goal-setting (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based).
“Some people are taught to answer questions like ‘where do you want to be in ten years,” says Dr Fox, “with exacting details. It just doesn’t work in the real world.”
“A quest is a big fuzzy goal with a clear premise. And quests consist of missions.”
According to the good doctor, the effectiveness of the quest hinges on implementing the “gap” – the divide between where the gamer is and where they want to be. Game-layer dynamics make it fun or rewarding to complete the task at hand.
Making something easy is the worst way to motivate someone
Gamification does not eliminate the hard work element. Instead, the goal of gamification is to frame the hard work within a quest that motivates the gamer.
Motivation, says Dr Fox, is the key. It really comes down to the “gap” we mentioned before. In a gamification scenario, just like the real world, there are things that make people feel enthusiastic about the work they do.
Dr Fox cites a recent Harvard Business Review study showing that the primary motivators of hard work amongst employees are:
- Recognition for good work
- Interpersonal support
- Clear targets and goals
- A sense of progress
- Incentives and rewards
Now think about that statement and recall your favourite video game. Doesn’t it seem that motivation strategy for getting work done is tailor-made for gamification – and vice versa?
“Let’s not kid ourselves,” Dr Fox adds, “If you are going to actually get anywhere and achieve anything, it’s going to depend on hard work.”
But, as Dr Fox points out, people are more willing to perform hard work than you might think.
In life, we pay people to work. With games, people pay to do hard work!
If by now you’re thinking that gamification sounds like a different means to the same old ends employee/customer motivation, with anticipatory results to boot, think again.
People will pay to play well-designed games. Take a look at golf. The goal of the game is to get the ball in the hole with as few swings of the clubs as possible. The most efficient thing to do is simply to carry the ball to the hole and drop it in. But that’s no fun, and doing it that way does not offer the right motivations for the player.
Golf, like all good games, is all about goals, rules, and feedback adding up to results. Believe me (a lousy golfer myself), when Dr Fox says golf is a game that involves hard work he’s certainly right. So every time you pay the fees to walk on the green, you’re paying to do hard work. It works this way because golf is a well-designed game, and Dr Fox says it can work for you, too.
“A good game is a goal-driven, challenge-intense, and feedback rich experience, geared toward progress,” adds Dr Fox.
How often do you harness the fundamentals of fun?
To be truly effective, gamification needs to make proper use of the role and function of fun. Fun is tension and release, simply put. The most effective gameplay is that which delivers the fun – and the mission – incrementally, keeping the player immersed in following along with the game.
“Gamification is like an amplifier,” says Dr Fox, “If the signal isn’t true and clear, you’re just going to be amplifying rubbish.”
Game-play dynamics come down to leveraging the tension and the release for the player. Effective gamification happens in the middle ground where player motivations and business objectives meet. And that’s the secret that Dr Fox shares in this lesson.
Dr Fox is a veritable fount of knowledge on the topic of game-play dynamics, and his highly informative tutorial tells you exactly how to implement gamification to motivate customers, employees, and yourself in a variety of situations.
More insights from this course:
- People will actuall PAY YOU to do well designed work. Seriously.
- Games already happen in your office. Here’s how to harness them.
- Don’t make things easy. Easy is boring. Create incremental challenges!
More lessons in this course:
- How to apply game-layer theory to conquer content creation
- How to apply game-layer theory to master decisionship
- How to apply game-layer theory to recruit passionate people