Archives for posts with tag: south by southwest

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Try it out: Next time you talk about the future of marketing, add the words “Gamification” and “Game Mechanics.” Suddenly you morph from marketing expert to marketing genius. You might be promoted on the spot. The world will be your oyster.

Even better: Gamification will transform education and finally fix that darn Global Warming thing.

Seriously, wouldn’t you study that much harder if a class valedictorian was called “White Knight Paladin Level 20”? Of course you would. At least that’s what Seth Priebatch, the founder and Chief Ninja (You can’t make that stuff up.) of SCVNGR told the world at his South by Southwest keynote in Austin. He referred to the education system as “one of the most perfect game ecosystems that’s out there, “full of challenges, rewards, rules, allies, enemies, countdowns, and incentives, “all sorts of things that basically make school the best real-world implementation of a game that’s out there. Priebatsch called education “a poorly designed game; it’s kind of broken.”

What is gamification?

Gamification is the use of game place mechanics in order to encourage people to adopt applications and, ultimately, change behavior. Think about Foursquare: People are encouraged to check-in at physical locations in order to earn badges, mayorships and rewards (coupons, freebies, etc.). Gamification or Game Mechanics work because it makes technology more engaging/entertaining by encouraging desired behavior and taps into the human desire to play a game. It can help to perform tasks that are normally considered boring or arduous.

Gamification will gain in importance

There’s a good case to be made that ‘Pleasure’ should be added to the 5 P’s of marketing. Why shouldn’t pleasure be an extension of a great customer experience? Right now, customer experiences are mostly limited to well-working and easy to use. In the near future, a great customer experience has to add the fun factor. When you’re being rewarded to do your timesheets, you’ll do them more timely. And it might be even a task you’ll be looking forward to. You can create ‘player journeys’ to reward people with status, access and power – you create meaning inside of the mechanics. Loyalty programs can be expanded through leaderboards, each customer interaction can become an enjoyable experience.

But, please, don’t overhype the hype

Gamification is an important tactic to help change human behavior. It can make life more entertaining and more pleasurable. It will make arduous tasks more enjoyable. It can be used to change bad habits and transform into more positive actions. But, let’s stop the hype before it gets really started. Let’s deliver on small promises before we promise the world.

SXSW2

Hurricane Party, Liquid Space, View, Localmind, Situationist – just some of the apps I’ve downloaded in the last few days at South by Southwest. I’m sure I missed out on tons more. And I’m glad I did. The appsphere has become unmanageable. I have around 100 on my iPhone, use maybe 5 of them regularly, 5 more on a weekly basis and a handful during special events. Foursquare is an interesting tool during events like SXSW, it helps me track people I want to connect with. Personally, I have no use for this tool when I’m back home. (I see benefits for the youth market but doubt we’ll ever see adoption throughout all segments.) The ‘dealification’ of location-based services as David Berkowitz calls it, might prove to be successful for Foursquare and Facebook Places (all others seem to fade rather quickly). But it will also transform its value from social to pure commercial. Hey, Valpak is still around and making money.

It makes sense for companies like Foursquare to cash-in as quickly as possible. When Mubarak’s regime an be swept away in 17 days, Foursquare can be forgotten with one tap of a new app. There a new apps that move location-based services into a more semantic and intention-based space. And there are apps that are more focused and useful when you’re in a certain mindset. The cold hard truth is: We have way too many apps. And it’s getting harder and harder to break through the clutter.

We need to aggregate functionalities

QR Code? I need an app. Picture sharing? App. Location? App. Intention? App. Conversation? App. Information Sharing? App.

Why? I want an app that integrates all these functionalities. How many photo sharing apps do I need? I want one app where there’s one camera button and I can choose between QR Reader, Photo (include Instagram while you’re at it), Video and, if possible, Google Goggles. Suck in my complete Social Graph and allow me to engage with them on my terms. Integrate readers (RSS/Instagram). And let me customize it. In short: help to delete 20 apps by aggregating all their functionalities. Cleaning the apps wasteland will help me clean my screen, clear my mind and give me back some time to look for real innovation.

The time of incremental innovation is over. You either aggregate or innovate. Or I delete.