jueves, 13 de junio de 2013

"Making work more fun" Mario Herger on Enterprise Gamification

Epic Gamification Hangout with Mario Herger - Enterprise Gamification & Gamification World Championships 2013

Mario Herger on Enterprise Gamification - Making work more fun

Who is "Super Mario? MARIO HERGER is founder and partner of Enterprise-Gamification.com. He has been Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California and Global Head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP where he has worked for the past 14 years. He also co-founded in 2013 and leads the Austrian Innovation Center Silicon Valley (AICSV)
In his work as head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP he has encountered and supported gamification efforts in the enterprise from multiple levels and departments, like Sustainability, On Demand, Mobile, HR, Training & Education, Banking etc. He has driven the awareness around gamification by organizing and leading innovation events around this topic, holding dozens of one- or two-day gamification workshops, working with gamification platform- & service-providers and game studios, consulting and advising organizations, and by incorporating gamification into SAP's strategy.
He regularly speaks at and co-organizes conferences on gamification and innovation (amongst other topics). His large network in the gamification and innovation space allows him to pull in experts from every corner of the world into projects.
Thanks to his blogs and activities around gamification, and of course people interested in this topic, in April 2013 he topped for the first time the global leaderboard of Gamification Gurus.
He has been driving communities for more than 15 years, including communities on innovative topics, like Visual Composer, Business Process Experts, mobile, robotics, and gamification, but also folk-dancing (Dancilla)
He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Vienna University of Technology and an undergraduate degree in International Business Management from the Vienna University of Economy.
He recently played through all levels of the iPad game Air Attack and currently works with his six year old son on reaching the final level of Angry Birds in Space.


Epic Win Blog (@victormanriquey): So Mario, as we have said before, you´re part of Enterprise Gamification and SAP, founder of the Austrian Innovation Center of Silicon Valley, author of the book “Gamification at work”, judge at the Gamification World Championships… quite many things!! But how did you start your journey in the world of Gamification? What is your personal story?

Mario Herger (@mherger): Thank you victor for having me! So I’m not a game designer, so I’ve never built a game except for some small ones, but I’ve been with a German company called SAP, a software giant, for nearly 15 years, and 3 years ago I basically stumbled into the mobile world and when we looked at some of the apps, they had this kind of stickiness and playfulness, and we just couldn’t understand what was going on with these apps, what they were doing so good.
So to understand it, I said: let’s have a look at maybe an industry where UX is very good, and that was the video game industry. So this was in august 2010, and I formed and internal community to educate ourselves on that and I stumbled on this term, Gamification back then, but in august 2010 when you looked for that on Google there were less than 1000 results, and 3 years later, you’ve got millions of them! (laughter)
So once we started working on it after 3 or 4 months working on it, I realised that i was actually one of the first ones, not coming from the marketing world but from software development, looking at it for not only making better software, but applying it for its enterprise use, and it really embraced me, and I started talking about it, writing about that, and that led me to April 2013 when I finally got the 1st spot of the Gamification guru’s list, ahead of Gabe Zichermann!

Epic Win Blog: Talking about this, I always say that we are living a new technological revolution, with kids having all kinds of motivating and engaging experiences through games, and it may be difficult for them to be motivated when it comes to find a job. As an expert in enterprise Gamification, how can Gamification help here? What are the main techniques that you are applying now to make work more fun? Tell us a bit more of your daily work!

Mario Herger: Exactly, that’s a very good point. When we look at the millennials, this generation that was coming into the work market right now, they’ve basically played all their lives videogames since they came out with Pong in 1992, so this millennials, these kids basically, had something like a 97% of their childhood playing videogames, and around 10000 hours of experience, and that means, according to Malcom Gladwell and his book “Outliers” (From Epic Win Blog we truly recommend it too), that they have achieved this level of total mastery, and they are coming with that.

So if you play in the symphonic orchestra, you have probably trained around 10000 hours, if you play in the soccer league, or for the national team, you’ve played more than 10000 hours. Even Bill Gates when he started Microsoft he had practiced more than 10000 hours! So this is what we call a total mastery.

So these people are coming with that, and they are expecting a similar experience from the software that they are using, and they are also very familiar with game language so we can actually use that in order to motivate them. But there is something else, is not just that this is entertaining, but it also is engaging and one of the main reasons is because it always tells you where are you, how you are doing and how you can become better, and this is a really critical point. Because in the end, what this millennials are always trying to do is to learn how to become better, and in the work environment we are not doing that.

"A game is giving you feedback on how you are doing all the time, and at your work place… when was the last time someone said “Thanks!” to you? Probably months ago!"
And when you go to a performance review, you hear stuff that happened 9 months ago, and this is absolutely not helping people on how to improve and learn from mistakes, so there is a clear opportunity for us by providing better feedback loops through Gamification.

Epic Win Blog: Following this former topic, you are preparing your new book called “Enterprise Gamification” that is coming out soon, how is it different from your first book and what are its main key points?

Mario Herger: So the first book that is out right now is called “Gamification at work” and I wrote it with Janaki Mythily, a colleague from SAP, and she is the director of the UX team here at Palo Alto, and this book is basically an introduction of how Gamification at work delivers great results and why, through two examples, a community and an application. 

So it gives you a good overview if you are new to Gamification or to Gamification at the work place. And the other book, called “Enterprise Gamification”, is the one I’m working on at the moment, having around 600 pages, and will probably be out in July. I’d call it “The ultimate guide for enterprise Gamification”, because we look at the design methodology, behavioural psychology, tons of examples, and around 150 pages about technology and platforms that can be of use. And that as a whole should give you an overview of how to use Gamification, serious games, simulations, etc in a work environment

Epic Win Blog: Great! And how should read this book? Is it suitable for everyone?

Mario Herger: Well this book is certainly not for everyone, it's for those people that want to get really serious into it, so perfect for developers, game designers, UX designers, CIO, product managers, solutions owners, businessmen and owners who run a company, and the main point here is to add value to their products or services and indirectly getting value for themselves, to motivate and engage their teams.

Epic Win Blog: And back again to your projects, you are going to be one of the judges of the amazing first edition of the Gamification World Championships, a really exciting project with big prizes and a fantastic final in October at San Francisco. Many of our followers will know it, but, just as a reminder, will you be able to tell us what is it about, and a brief introduction of the whole contest? 

Mario Herger: So I’m excited about this opportunity! I think there are a lot of incentives for Gamification designers to participate, we have a semifinal round, where you can submit your Gamification solutions, systems, processes, ideas, etc and there will be a pre selection for the final where my other cool judges and I will be looking at all those materials. 

So basically what I’ll take into account is first: -are they just putting points and badges to that?-, because that’s not what I’m expecting, even when you might have some impact and success with it. But what I’m really looking at is a most sophisticated approach, something that really adds value for the player, and that’s the difference from a great system and a poor one.

We’re also taking into account if they really understood their players, because if the players get some value out of that, they’ll be way more engaged. Also if they are using many design elements as storytelling, fun mechanics that are making people feel like a hero, feel like a rebel, giving them those kinds of experiences, and -how did they do that?

Also, how is the complexity of it? Is this an elegant design having innate complexity or is it emergence complexity? And how much fantasy did they use? Is it just the kind of boring thing?

Epic Win Blog: Cool! And when is it going to start?

Mario Herger: I think it will be in july when you can start submitting but it’s not decided yet, so there might be some changes, so the best thing to do is checking the website, that is www.gammify.com, and the final will be in San Francisco in mid October, with more than 40000k in cash prizes, and even paid flights to San Francisco for the 16 finalist who will be in the final. 

Epic Win Blog: As a way to finish this interview, i´d like you to tell us how you see the future of enterprise Gamification and its natural evolution in the next few years. So what is the next step?

Mario Herger: So, well of course I have a lot of ideas of how this could evolve and how it might really evolve, because you know, here in the enterprise world we like taking the fun out of things, we make it to serious (laughter), but, one of the things that I think will happen is that, what we call Enterprise Gamification today, or in other words, adding fun to the enterprise world, will turn into a technology that will be able to collect all that data of how players are doing, what’s their status.

So if we gamify every system, app or software, we’ll have a pretty detail skill profile that is timely accurate and tells us how good people are in certain areas, will show us the strengths and weaknesses. 

Anyway, that’s already happening with some systems like Stack Overflow, the SAP Community Network, or in any platform were experts are basically helping each other, and now just expand that to all the cases. So suddenly we see who the experts of it really are!
And that has so many uses, for examples bringing people that have complementary skills together, and people will put that on their CVs, like “I’m a level 7 designer” or “I’ve got a thousand points on the SAP Community Network”, which is actually already happening right now but we’ll see that way more. 

"So the key point here is that for the first time we’ll have real data on the skills of people, which is critical for promotions, giving feedback to make them better, for project teams, and much more!"

Epic Win Blog: So thank you Mario for being with us today, lots of great content and epic insights here to be analysed! Thanks again for this interview, and hope to see you soon!

Mario Herger: See you soon too Victor!

This interview was done on Wednesday 13th June via G+ Hangouts

Victor Manrique

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