Episode 62 – Gamification Carrots & Sticks

Phaedra and Michael M hold down the fort for the podcast, discussing the treatment of video games in the media in the wake of the tragic Navy Yard shootings and drawing some interesting thoughts on the nature of serious games to assist with mental health.

Gamifying Travel
They continue with a discussion on gamifying travel, and explore an idea where the game is to crowdsource the best travel options & prices between city pairs, setting up a competition to find the best solution using humans instead of algorithms.  The suggestion for how to monetize this game brings up the experiment in Sweden with the speed camera lottery, where abiders (those who observe the posted speed limit) are entered into a lottery to win the fines of those that speed.  As is their nature, Phaedra and Michael explore ways to game the game, and come up with some interesting solutions, including having an option in Waze to optimize travel routing to maximize entry into such contests and methods to avoid creating situations such as in Benson NC where people might cruise up and down the road in hopes of getting more entries in the lottery.

Gamifying work processes
Strava is a geolocation-based exercise game for runners and bikers that reward the fastest times on a stretch of road with a crown to be defended and won back, should someone best your time.  Strava is used as a base to consider whether there’s a way to find a process that we want people to comply with, want them to execute as quickly as possible, minimize escapes by reinforcing abiders are put into a lottery to win something of value to them.  The additional randomness of the reward – the carrot – may get more people to opt in and play.  Figuring out what is meaningful to the player is key.  How can gamification and serious games help people to adopt a new process with carrots and sticks?   There is a game in there, we just need to tease it out.  We would love to hear your ideas!

upcoming conferences 
Michael M will be speaking at IBM Business Connect ( http://www-01.ibm.com/software/de/events/businessconnect/agenda.html ) on the theme of Smarter Supply Chain on the 15th of October in Mannheim, Germany.  His other speaking engagements may be found on Lanyrd – http://lanyrd.com/profile/carolinabigblue/

Phaedra will be a panelist on October 28th, at TransOvation (http://www.transovation.org) in San Jose, California, focusing on the theme of “New Technologies and Workplace Practices That Can Help Organizations Become More Innovative”

Selected show links:
Huffington Post article “House Set To Examine Link Between Video Games, Culture Of Violence In Wake Of Navy Yard Shooting”  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/20/video-game-lobby_n_3957441.html
Sweden’s speed camera lottery — http://www.thefuntheory.com/speed-camera-lottery-0
Strava – http://www.strava.com/mobile


Episode 60 – Bubbly Bubblers in Gamified Buildings

Happy Water CoolerPhaedra, Michael and Michael were delighted to be accompanied by Ross Smith, Director of Test in the Skype division of Microsoft for this show, centered around games for employee engagement.

Ross described the recent work that he and his team have done with giving personality to buildings and using the building itself as the ‘game master’, to orchestrate and facilitate employee engagement.

Games for health
One of the intriguing examples (also discussed in Episode 58, but without the benefit of Ross’s first hand experience) uses a water cooler with personality as the mechanism for gamifying health.  While drinking eight glasses of water a day is a pretty well known health tip (I’m drinking my 4th big glass as I’m writing this!), it is easily forgotten in the hectic business day.  The team at Microsoft gave their water cooler a bubbly user interface and 4 emotional modes (sad, happy, attract/flirt and party) to experiment with increasing the amount of water consumed by the building’s people.  The results:  more water for more people, and a wealth of data, feedback and ideas to continue the innovation.  The picture above was inspired by Ross’ story and is my low-tech example of giving the water cooler in my apartment some personality as well!
Another example is classifying the food choices in the cafeteria as green, yellow and red, and then using that data to guide behavior.  If less healthy food choices are selected, the building might suggest using the stairs or a longer route for a meeting later in the day.  This has helped the team learn more about what people are willing to share, and what they are not, and inform future game design on what should have individual vs team collective goals to maximize participation while respecting privacy.

Games for social / business interaction
The game ISHI was used as the buildings were being opened to help the team come together in an open office, connected community.  Ross described how people may respond to some survey questions indicating preference between skiing and snowboarding, or cat / dog fandom, and then how that kind of data can be used to create groups and teams with common interests and help people to get to know one another even better.  The building invited people to come to a central space, then you have met a number of people with common interest across job roles and functions, with the goal of beating the clock to figure out what do they have in common.  This method of dynamic team creation could be leveraged to bring a creative team together to brainstorm how to solve a client’s problem just as easily.
Windows Language Quality Game was another game with similar tremendous results, this game wound up attracting more than 4,000 people play and review over half a million screens, separating actionable feedback from non-actionable feedback received from public beta testers of Windows software.  Ross noted that rigorous data collection is key, and his experience of 4x – 16x increased participation and results because of the game mechanics can demonstrate even to the skeptics the business impact and win them over.

We were delighted to have Ross on the show with us today, and if you would like to learn more about him and the projects he’s involved in, you can find him on the following links:

Web www.42projects.org
Twitter   @42projects
Facebook  www.facebook.com/42projects
blog  http://42projects.blogspot.com/

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Selected show links
ISHI game for the Skype team at Microsoft — http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=200275
ISHI game documentary rough cut — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0W431tP6SM&feature=youtu.be
Water Cooler — http://www.businessinsider.com/like-to-flirt-at-the-office-water-cooler-a-microsoft-intern-built-a-water-cooler-that-flirts-back-2013-8
Vote for Sentient Buildings for SXSW — http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/21393
Microsoft Interns — http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/interns13-082613.aspx
Magic Circle of Play — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Circle_(virtual_worlds)
Everymove.org — https://everymove.org
Chore Wars — http://www.chorewars.com
uTest — http://www.utest.com

Games we’re playing (or thinking about)
Madden 25 — http://www.easports.com/madden-nfl
Assassin’s Creed — http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-us/home/index.aspx
SimCity — http://www.simcity.com
Bioshock 2 — http://www.bioshock2game.com/en/
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 — http://www.callofduty.com/blackops/
iPad games for toddlers?  Phaedra would like your suggestions!
Dragon Box — http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=200275
Motor World — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motor-world-car-factory/id580666714?mt=8
Plants vs Zombies 2 – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-vs.-zombies-2/id597986893?mt=8


Episode 58 – Zombies vs Mummies

Porter Stowell joins Phaedra and Michael M for a rockin’ good time across a broad set of topics for this week’s show. Phaedra shares her stories from the Serious Play Conference in Seattle earlier this week, highlighting how Ross Smith has created a building with personality to interact with the people who enter and use it. We playfully riff off of the idea that a water fountain may say “glad to be of service” and how other aspects of the building personality may interact with people, and how municipalities could interact with citizens, rewarding them for taking action to help maintain the city.

Porter highlights how crowdsourcing has been incorporated in charity concerts, and the team speculates how technologies such as Foursquare (and Foursquare mayors) might be engaged for validation of the crowdsourced contributions.

The panel then turns to the question of ethics that was started during last week’s show, and reaches a consensus that disclosure is key for organizations using games to achieve a goal beyond that of simple entertainment. If you play a game, and the outcome of that play may be in the furtherance of another goal, the player should know in advance what their play is helping to attain so they may make an informed decision to play or not. Porter, Phaedra and Michael speculate on what it would take to gain informed consent to build the Death Star, and what kind of spin would be needed to do so.

How does Michael spend his vacation? Well, playing games! He shares his experiences with a couple of iOS games — Sid Meier’s Pirates, Plants vs Zombies 2, Motor World, and Simpson’s Tapped Out. We have an intense discussion as to whether mummies are zombies before Porter calms Phaedra and Michael back down. A thread between Motor World and the Simpsons is that both use doughnuts as a scarce currency. It’s all about the doughnuts.


Porter has been playing a game played by 30m people, growing by 60% every year, where you sorting through useless data points in order to win. Porter stumped Phaedra and Michael on this riddle – see if you can identify what game it is before Porter gives it away!

Selected show links

Serious Play Conference, Seattle August 19 – 22, 2013 — http://www.seriousplayconference.com
Ross Smith — http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosss42
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy
Bill Gates, The Road Ahead — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_Ahead_(Bill_Gates_book)
Nolan Bushnell — http://nolanbushnell.com
Gabe Zimmerman — http://www.gamification.co/gabe-zichermann/
Zoran Povović — http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~zoran/
Fold.it — http://fold.it/portal/
Dragonbox — http://dragonboxapp.com
ESP Game — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESP_Game
reCaptcha — http://www.google.com/recaptcha
World Community Grid — http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org
SETI@Home — http://setiathome.berkeley.edu
Waze — http://www.waze.com
Ender’s Game — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ender%27s_Game
Sid Meier’s Pirates — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sid-meiers-pirates!/id499794670?mt=8
Plants vs Zombies 2 — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-vs.-zombies/id350642635?mt=8
Motor World — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motor-world-car-factory/id580666714?mt=8
Simpson’s Tapped Out — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-simpsons-tapped-out/id497595276?mt=8
Techmo Bowl — http://tecmobowl.org


Episode 49 – Crowdsourcing & Crowdfunding

Episode 49, Crowdsourcing & Crowdfunding was recorded Friday the 14th of June 2013.

While Michael R is recovering or enjoying (or perhaps even both!) from his 6-shot espresso drinks, Michael M and Phaedra discuss adaptable games, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and much more in this episode of the podcast.  Concepts such as gaming as a service and simulations as a service are explored, as Phaedra and Michael consider how micropayments, donations and volunteerism can speed the delivery of key functionality in games for the education and defense spaces while leveraging marketplaces such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  Waze and Dragon Box surface as some key examples, alongside some tried and true games such as Fold.it, Civilization, Ingress and oh, so much more.

Selected show links
From fantasy to reality: The story of Vugar Huseynzade — http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/bootroom/id/330?cc=5901
Football Manager — http://www.footballmanager.com
The Screen Savers — http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240295/combined
Soda, Pop or Coke — http://web.ncsu.edu/abstract/science/you-say-tomato-i-say-soda-or-is-it-pop/
Civilization — http://civilization6.com
Railroad Tycoon — http://www.2kgames.com/railroads/railroads.html
Eterna — http://eterna.cmu.edu/web/
Fold.it — http://fold.it/portal/
Ingress — http://www.ingress.com
Waze — http://www.waze.com
Noah Falstein — http://www.linkedin.com/in/gamedesignexpert
Internet Response League — http://internet-response-league.com/
Crowdsourced searching for Jim Gray — http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/15-08/ff_jimgray?currentPage=1
Kickstarter — http://www.kickstarter.com
Indiegogo — http://www.indiegogo.com/
Dragon Box Algebra game — http://dragonboxapp.com
Microprose — http://microprose.com
Bean Traders — http://www.beantraderscoffee.com

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