Gamification Psychology

Psychology BrainI am fascinated by the human psyche and the drivers behind it – whether internal or external. The value that can be achieved using a properly designed gamification application is massive. Whether it’s to change behaviour, develop a skill or to encourage innovation, the growing role of gamification is becoming more mainstream.

Psychology is the driver and technology the facilitator.  Both are vital to a successful result. The Gartner group says that 80% of gamification applications will fail by 2014 as a result of poor design.

Irrespective of the desired goal, at the end of the day an application has to be very focused, goals driven, measureable, community oriented and ultimately an engaging experience.  It must tap into the basest of human drivers:  Mastery, Meaning and most importantly Recognition to succeed.

As humans developed, we were hard wired with an instinct for survival.  Survival required constant skill development, achievement and community engagement.  We have not lost that instinct.  We crave success, self-improvement, gaining of skills and inherently want others to recognize our achievements.

As insignificant as points, badges and other forms of experience recognition seem on their face, they are powerful drivers when viewed in the totality of human psychology.  The immutable desire for personal satisfaction and transparent recognition is a tremendously powerful tool. That tool when leveraged will modify behavior, encourage desired behaviour and promote learning.

The game is not the end, it is the means.  The human psyche, and a very specific and measurable mission goal is the area of focus to be always in the forefront of designers’ minds when designing a gamification application and avoiding being a member of Gartner’s 80%.

In It To Win It


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Gamification is no longer a tool solely for video game makers.  Organizations everywhere are revolutionizing the way they do business.  Top organizations are motivating, encouraging, engaging, even recruiting, not only their employees but their customers as well.  These organizations use … Continue reading