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Remember when game designer Jane McGonigal mentioned in her talks that she is aiming to have a game designer win a Nobel Award? Well, we are closer to that. This year's Nobel Award for Economics went to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström for their work on contract theory. What may sound pretty dull at first glance, is actually a pretty interesting piece on human behaviors and how it can be used to make better contracts.
Their work did not only explain how contracts are negotiated, but how the contracts become better. Contracts are an important piece in our modern life. Without them we would fall into a messy chaos. Hart and Holmström described how an ideal contract would look like and created a theoretical framework for that. But theory is one thing, real life another one. Especially when we have to consider human behavior in contracts and contract negotation.
And here it becomes interesting, because the laureates elaborated in their work on specific incentives that influence human behavior to make the contract outcome better for both sides. The Nobel Committee explicitely referred to car insurance contracts and deductibles, as well as work contracts with salaries and bonus payments.
Gamification is the concept of applying game elements to real life contexts like business or education, with the aim of creating behavioral change, enhancing motivation and performance of individuals. Even though there is a rising trend in popularity and an increase in deployment, many attempts however fail their objectives. The field is still missing theoretical foundations, valid research and best practices. It is dominated by misconceptions, poor design of practical approaches and controversial opinions amongst experts. Nevertheless, motivational theories like the self-determination theory or the concept of flow can serve as valuable foundations for understanding how game elements can influence human motivation. Taking them as a theoretical basis and thoughtfully considering their implications for the design of a gamified process can thus lead to higher success of applications.
In this thesis a gamification framework was built based upon the existing body of literature on gamification to more easily describe the processes in how a gamified experience is developed. We interviewed different international gamification companies that are currently working with gamification to test if the theoretically developed framework had practical relevance. The results from the empirical findings indicated that the framework had practical relevance and indeed represents the processes in how the companies work with gamification in real world scenarios. However, some of the companies do not utilize the different parts integrated in the framework the same way as they are described in the thesis.
Patience is a rare commodity these days, as we live in an age of instant gratification. At GamEffective, we've decided not to try and combat this trend, but incorporate it in to the way organizations work, to their benefit. We do this by providing feedback on performance, which has a great impact on employee motivation and performance.
We're big believers in real time gamification and in the possibility of being able to know how well you're doing your job at all times. We have worked long and hard so that our platform will be able to integrate in to any existing platforms or systems that different organization may be working with. Our platform is constantly pulling different relevant information from all the systems that an organization uses, creating a real-time picture of the state of performance. From the get-go, our idea was that showing employees how they are performing in real time would allow them to adjust their performance accordingly, creating a win for all parties involved. We've actually seen some great results with this, but we've also come to find that the situation is not always as simple as it may look from the outside.
When KPI's just need more time