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9 People Teaching Us Gamification

Finding effective ways of improving productivity and problem solving is a major focus for many of us. Whether it is in our own lives, or in teaching others, everything from metaphors to pneumatic devices can be helpful. One that has been around for awhile but was only recently named and applied in a more modern way is gamification.

What Is Gamification?

Coined by British computer programmer and game developer Nick Pelling, gamification is a term used to describe the application of "game thinking" into non-game related situations. It also uses "game mechanics" to the same effect.

It taps into the natural competitive spirit of human beings, and offers rewards for achievements at every level of success. Points can be awarded, special titles given, an end prize worked toward, and the whole process can be done as an individual or as a team. Anything that makes a task, either professional or personal, feel more like a game is gamification.

Who Teaches Us Gamification?

This is a principle that is being applied a lot in the technology and business worlds. So it is no surprise to see how many people are now expounding on it as a practice, and eagerly teaching it to others. These are nine of the best well known participants:

1. Dennis Crowley @dens

Dennis Crowley

With a unique sense of humor and a personal touch in everything he does, Dennis Crowley seems like he would be the perfect candidate to push the idea of gamification. His Twitter feed is a weird mix between professional updates from others in the industry, his response to those updates, and a lot of information about his life. He also appears to like Game of Thrones and Foursquare.

2. Andres Moran @dremoran

Andres Moran

Co-founder of and current Senior Director at Outbrain, this is a much more industry focused account than Crowley's. He doesn't say much on gamification most of the time, but if you ask him he is great about responding. He is also great for discussing startups and business development.

3. Raph Koster @raphkoster

Raph Koster

A lot of Raph Koster's focus is on games as a whole, of which he is both a fan and a designer. He gives a ton of updates and discussions on such topics, and is great for picking up pointers on how to apply the features of games into real life. He is also very chatty, which is always a positive for Twitter.

4. Eric Zimmerman @zimmermaneric

Eric Zimmerman

Always considering himself a teacher as well as a game designer, Zimmerman is friendly, interesting and informative. He also has a cat that gets a little too aggressive when they 'play'. Might wanna get kitty a scratching post, Zimmerman!

5. Natron Baxter @natronbaxter

Natron Baxter

Rather than being casually invested in teaching about gamification, Natron Baxter is all about developing methods and games that bring it to life for individuals, communities and businesses. He is one of the must-follow people on this list.

6. Jane McGonigal @avantgame

Jane McGonigal

Best selling New York Times author and game developer Jane McGonigal is a firm believer in the ability for games to improve the world. Her entire book, Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, is all about gamification applies on a massive scale and in all areas of life. But as she said in a recent set of tweets: "Also I don't encourage gamification per se. I encourage self-motivated learning around real challenges that don't have predetermined or known solutions."

7. Sharleen Sy @SharleenSy

Sharleen Sy

Co-founder of Play Dynamics and writer on all things gamification and UX design, all of her accounts/blogs are fantastic. Her focus is usually on product management and social games, making her better for those looking to develop gamification methods in a business setting.

8. Sebastian Deterding

Sebastian Deterding

A researcher into gamification and persuasive design, Sebastian Deterding writes for Coding Conduct. Be sure to check out his presentations and publications, which have a ton of information. He also offers services you can hire him for, including workshops and training.

9. Amy Jo Kim

Amy Jo Kim

Metagame designer Amy Jo Kim currently works at Shuffle Brain, a company that develops games that are "smarter" or require more challenge on a brain teaser degree tham others. She was recently featured in an article by the LA Times on the use of gamification for businesses.

What do you think of gamification? Is there anyone out there who you feel has taught you a lot about the principle? Let us know in the comments.

By Ann Smarty


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