At least until such time as the singularity is upon us, the point of machines is to serve humans but until now, we have been enduring an early developmental stage in data processing technology – a time when our data processing tools are so primitive that they are like human babies, ruling our behaviour with their need for constant care and attention. We have had to accommodate the needs of our machines but in the future, our technology will be an understanding and supportive partner in our lives rather than an infantile tyrant.
The singularity may still be some considerable time away – but as the Tech Crunch article says, we are already in the era when technology can serve us with a much higher level of understanding of the things that make us human. We just have to design it that way. And we already know a lot about how to do that.
It is just a matter of time before consumer expectations force the investment of capital in humanistic design priorities.
Gamification isn’t really anything new in so far as there is no single part of gamification that has not been done before under another name. Even the ground on which gamification is built, the innate human compulsion to play, is as old as mankind itself.
What is new about gamification is the systematic marriage of psychology (particularly the psychology of motivation and behaviour modification), design and data to create powerful systems for engaging people and shaping their behaviour.
But achieving a happy and productive marriage of these different elements is difficult – and success is unlikely to be achieved in the design equivalent of a Las Vegas wedding chapel.
Professor Kevin Werbach from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Professor Dan Hunter from Victoria, Australia’s Swinburne University have just published what I think is the first real ‘desk manual’ for gamification design, The Gamification Toolkit: Dynamics Mechanics, and Components for the Win.
Werbach and Hunter lay out in clear, unambiguous and simple detail what needs to go into an effective gamification design process, while emphasising that there are no ‘one size fits all’ solutions in this field. A good design comes from a careful and systematic approach that focuses resolutely on the business goals, end-users and context of the design.
I am just back from representing +Play as part of the Auckland delegation to the 2015 Tripartite Economic Alliance Summit between Auckland, Los Angeles and Guangzhou.
I formed some great relationships through the massive networking opportunities afforded by the Summit, both in Los Angeles and on our home turf of Auckland. We are looking forward to great things coming from the synergies that we have found there. There were many highlights in my two weeks in Los Angeles but perhaps the stand-outs were my talks with ace marketer Steven Seto, who has held senior roles at Starbucks and HTC among others, Richard Davis and Steve Huff at touchscreen entertainment network Scopely, and the opportunity to present some core elements of +Play’s approach to gamification to a meeting of gamification professionals in Santa Monica.
So much of lasting value was gained from this visit to one of the most rapidly developing technology innovation centers in the world – especially getting confirmation that the quality and depth of +Play’s thinking and originality can impress even in that illustrious context. I can’t wait to return!