Friday, December 27, 2013

I Got The "Hooked" Book For Free

I am a fan of Nir Eyal's work around habits and how to apply them in business. Below are slides giving you a taste of some of his work.

Hooked Model from Nir Eyal

Today, I got a great book of his called Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. I discovered it from his blog post titled: “HOOKED” BOOK IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD (AND $0 FOR THE NEXT 5 DAYS).

It's a collection of his past work and more. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about habits, human behavior and applying it to products or services.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Last Quarter Beat Previous Year And It Was Only Two Months Long!

The Mentor Program is going strong! Essential technological knowledge and more is getting shared much more than before I applied Gamification to the program. To dive deeper into the Mentor Program, check out Gamification Meets Technology Mentor Program.

I am the Product Owner / Manager of the program. Due to our company getting bought, our calendar changed. Last quarter consisted of only two months, October and November. Yet, those two months yielded a score of 1010 points which is over twice what it was the year before at 440 in the year of 2012. The year before that it was 600 in that same quarter, October, November and December of 2011.

So, a two month quarter beat previous 3 month quarters!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Income Inequality Learned While Studying Marketing

While studying Product Owner / Gamification related things such as Marketing via Coursera, I ran across income inequality. Wow. Wow. Watch the video, really.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Oculus Rift Love At First Sight

Today a friend and I checked out the Oculus Rift recently made available for developers. It's love at first sight!

I was able to immerse myself into a world where there were beautiful things like a butterfly, water fountain, a house and a sea.  I could even see inside some things! As I was experiencing the world and got close to things, my imagination would soar! I asked myself, what would it feel like to touch that sunflower? My mind imagined what things would feel like as I got close to them.

That's something that has evolved in our brains. After we identify something as friend or foe, we anticipate what something is going to sound or feel like. The anticipation itself was exciting!

What's even more exciting are the real world solutions this technology will enable. Easy to imagine solutions involve surgery training and learning through immersive exploration. Other applications could be in helping people understand what it's like to be in a certain place or a person who is in a certain socioeconomic status such as being poor or conversely privileged.

Although I could not effect the virtual world around me, people are using the Oculus Rift in conjunction with other technology in order to be able to have such interactive experiences. A video example is Hydradeck Oculus Rift Demo.

There will be user experience challenges. As Peter Hornsby pointed out in The Oculus Rift and User Experience, motion sickness will be an issue for some people. I saw that today as someone else tried the system out. However, I think that issue can be minimized if the system is properly calibrated and systems are designed well.

Similar to the iPhone, I believe we are at the beginning of a new era of experience and perhaps understanding.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

515% Lift? Gamification and Mentor Program

I am the Product Manager aka Chairperson of an internal company effort known as the Mentor Program. It's our mission to empower people to share technological and other essential knowledge with each other. To dive deeper into the Mentor Program, check out Gamification Meets Technology Mentor Program.

We had a fantastic last quarter (July, August, September):
  • Our program goal was 1600. We did twice that at 3200!
  • Compared to FY13Q2 of 520 points, 3200 is a 515% increase year over year (YOY)!  

I believe increased productivity, morale, self-esteem, and a sense of empowerment has also resulted. 

Some of the new elements added / changed in this last quarter are:
  • Badges have a new easy to understand theme with a level of progression on them via stars
  • We added leaderboards that shows how the different departments are doing as instructors and students
  • Although not new, I have an awesome team of people dedicated to this effort!

Most of all, it's fun! 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Mike Finney. My favorites are LinkedIn and twitter.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

ZTEP - Zombie Technology Elimination Project; Spoonful of Zombies

Spoonful of Zombies
With a team of about 10 people, I am leading an internal engagement enhancement project to make the conversion of old technologies to new technologies more fun and more likely! As suggested by my friend Rebecca who is also one of the likely players, we're using Zombies!

I drafted up the Gamified experience complete with a narrative / story that frames the player experience. Since that time, valuable feedback has been received and the concept refined. The story is:

“Zombie Technologies (ZT) are plotting to take our community over. Why? Zombies Technologies are jealous of anything that is prosperous and fun. We, the Zombie Hunters, will take them down with new technology. It’s time to engage the enemy ZTs with a Zombie Technology Elimination Project (ZTEP).“

Our specific target behaviors are for the players to:
  • Replace an old technology code item with new approved technology
  • Support a player via news feed. Guest support is even welcome
Progression Loops
A player can progress through different levels of zombie technology engagement. Levels based on Zombie Points are:
  • Zombie Hunter Newbie - 0
  • Zombie Hunter Apprentice - 100
  • Zombie Hunter Journeyman - 500
  • Zombie Hunter Master - 2000
  • Zombie Hunter Hero Level I - 10000
  • Zombie Hunter Hero Level II - 20000
And so on for every 10000 points thereafter…
Points are calculated as: 10 x ZT Code Item Difficulty x number of Code Items converted

Example difficulty levels are 10, 20 and 30. We opted for values like 10 and 20 in case we want to adjust them up or down. If we chose 1, 2 and 3 we would have no room for motivation adjustments.

The points go through a promotion process. Thus, there are two types of points: WIP (Work In Progress) Points and Zombie Points. WIP Points reflect source code changes just saved to the source code repository. Zombie Points reflect code changes that made it all the way to production. Having source code changes that made it to production means that the people are using the changed code. We're talking about internal and external products. Since I work for CARFAX, that could even mean (Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and not CARFAX's).

Since levels are based on Zombie Points, a level is not earned until the code change is in production.

Player Has a Big And Elaborate Avatar
To appeal to the different player types (Amy Jo Kim), we are using an avatar to show successes and let people collect different reward items aka Item Drops. The avatar reflects the names (real and nickname), Item Drops obtained while promoting converted code items and his or her scores. Here's a very rough stickman representation of the concepts.

"Pete the Zombie Hunter Newbie” is composed of two parts: 1) a nickname field 2) the level achieved.

When zombie code items have been replaced in production, player gets a chance of getting item drops listed in a secret document titled Zombie Technology Item Drops.

Some example Item Drops are swords, plants, and zombie art. A complete list of all the items owned is available on an inventory page. On that page, I envision placeholder areas existing for items not dropped yet in order to excite the player’s imagination of what might be discovered. The complete list of specific items is a secret because we want the specific items one can get to be a surprise.

So at a general level, the Engagement Loop loops like the following:
  1. Player changes code
  2. Player stores code into source code repository
  3. Player tells a game coordinator
  4. Game coordinator see the changes, enters in the WIP points and change-management related information needed to track the changes going to production aka live. 
  5. WIP Points are assigned and show up in the avatar immediately
  6. The coordinator will follow up to make sure the code change has been put into production. Once the changes are in production, the coordinator converts the WIP Points to Zombie Points earned for those player(s). The coordinator personally notifies the players and tells them they did a good job!

As an aside, points are divided up between a pair of players as needed since we do pair programming at CARFAX.

Zombie Technology News Feed
System generates feed items in response to achievements entered; Examples include (items in bold are data driven variable values based on achievement):

  • July 10: Lucky Judy found a Baby Green Plant!
  • July 10: Adam is now a Zombie Hunter Master!
  • July 10: Adam and Judy earned 1500 Zombie Points each by killing some <some zombie technology> zombies! (Note: total points earned was 3000 but split between Adam and Judy.)
  • July 8: Lucky Bob found a sword!
  • July 8: Bob cashed in WIP points and got 2600 Zombie Points for killing some <some zombie technology> zombies!
  • July 6: Bob earned 2600 WIP Points by killing some <some zombie technology> zombies!

There will be a dashboard available which shows the players and their levels of achievement with stamping out Zombie Technologies. The person can navigate from the dashboard to the specific person profile page via click. Players are sorted by their real name. On purpose, we are not sorting by score at this time.

For this project, we are out of the inception phase and into implementation / execution phase. It should be noted that items specified above are subject to change based on player-concept-testing, what is discovered during detailed user experience (UX) design, small releases and any resulting product pivots.

I look forward to play-testing the ideas before we get too far into the implementation. Even more than that, I look forward to helping people get the recognition they deserve and enjoy their lives more while they are serving everyone well by shoring up our systems with the new technologies. Thank goodness for this fun approach and great people!

Update: See this article and more on Gamification Co

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fluid Intelligence and Dual-N-Back Workout Success!

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, one can increase their Fluid Intelligence playing Dual N-Back as described in a Wired article.

One can download a Dual N-Back game from sourceforge. The tutorial is there as well.

How is it going for me? Today, I got a 100% score with N being 1. That means I can remember and match 1 back for both the image position and audio sound (letter) being said. It was not trivial.

As a reward, I heard clapping which was great! It also automatically increased N from 1 to 2. So, now I am playing Dual 2-Back. Oh my gosh it is challenging!

All in all, I encourage all to try it and level-up your Fluid Intelligence!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Surrounded By Failure and Still Winning

As you know, "failure leads to success." A quote really brought it home to me again today:

Read Quote of Michael Wolfe's answer to Survey Questions: What are common misconceptions in your field that non-specialists refuse to believe aren't true? on Quora
Whether it is trying out new ideas like Gamification in engagement projects or something personal like a new exercise plan, try and try again.

 One more thing, I am trying out a TODO / good-habits-building web app called HabitRPG to see if it is fun and life enhancing! It's another micro-try. In other words, micro-failures lead to macro-successes! It looks promising.

So, try it out and let me know what you think!

Here's to failures and successes!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Huge Lift This Quarter - Gamification and Mentor Program

Today, I did the numbers and wow! There was a huge lift this last Q1 quarter compared to last year's Q1. The score for the Mentor Program FY14Q1 is 3590 compared to 1080.

Since 10 points equals 15 minutes, 3590 points equates to almost 90 hours of knowledge sharing! All of it is comprised of CARFAX employees sharing knowledge with CARFAX employees! 

Granted, the number of potential players expanded from our group / department to the whole company. If I focus on just the people in my group, the score is 2930 which is still a huge lift!

The benefits of knowledge sharing are increased productivity, morale, self-esteem, sense of empowerment and more! Doing it with Gamification made it fun and more engaging for the players. 

So, what are you doing to make your world more engaging either at work or in your life?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Love It? Share It! Gamification

Giving a presentation about something you love and believe in is one of the biggest positive rushes!

Recently, I gave a presentation about Gamification at CARFAX, Inc. The audience was awesome!

I covered the following:

       Why Do We Care?
       What Is Gamification?
       Fun? Where? In The Wild!
       Epic Win or Scary?
       Gamification Facts & Figures
       6D Gamification Framework - Professor Werbach’s Design Framework
       Many Paths To Wisdom

That format served quite well. Helping others where to get more knowledge was satisfying. In the Many Paths To Wisdom, I shared these: - Getting Started, GBase
       GSummit Conference
       The Gamification Revolution – book
       Coursera Gamification – Free Online Course

So, if you love Gamification, be sure to stand up and share the love!