Q&A: Pete Jenkins, chair, GamFed
We spoke to Pete Jenkins, chair of international body GamFed, about what his organisation aims to achieve and how it is assisting in the growth of serious games and gamification….
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what you do?
From a gamification point of view I’m someone who is highly motivated by receiving feedback and getting recognition. This leads me onto projects and causes for the recognition and cool job titles rather than for the money. Hence, why I am currently Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Brighton, Chair of GamFed and an Ambassador for both of my local chambers of commerce, as well as running my own business.
When do you first hear and experience gamification? And why do you think it has become such a hot topic?
I discovered and started Kevin Werbach’s Coursera MOOC on gamification (when I took it 60,000 people started it and 6,000 eventually finished the course) at the start of 2013 and I immediately started comparing CRMs (the software I’d been working with for the previous decade) to the video games I’d played all my life. I saw that video games were big and complicated systems (like CRMs) but that they were still fun to play. I realised that if it was possible to gamify a CRM then that should be the answer to getting the most out of using one. I’ve been living and breathing gamification ever since.
Gamification is hot because it can have an amazing impact on any business or process that involves people. In Europe and the US rates of productivity per person have been decreasing for the past few years and I think gamification holds an answer to increasing productivity again.
How do you define gamification?
The simplest way I see this is that in gamification we learn from everything that makes games successful and engaging. From a more technical point of view I like Kevin Werbach’s most recent definition, that gamification is ‘the process of making activities more game like’. We have recently added some more detailed thoughts around the definition of gamification to the GamFed website at: http://gamfed.com/gamification-definition/
As soon as I started work in gamification I looked for a source of best practices in gamification and came across GamFed and immediately joined up. As I respect the ideals behind it, and the team already involved in it, I quickly volunteered to be more involved and joined the Steering Committee. After a year as Treasurer, and learning how GamFed works, I stepped up to the Chair role.
Today GamFed’s main purpose is to spread best practices in the use of gamification so that as many people and businesses as possible can benefit from it. As GamFed is truly international in its make-up our main efforts are focussed online, from directing members to resources such as case studies and white papers to holding online events such as our recent Twitter event on ethics in gamification (#gamificationethics).
In your daily life do you employ any gamification elements?
At the moment in my work life I use a gamified CRM called CRM.me which has lots of gamification features that help on-boarding new users and also a reward system built in which I use to help motivate my staff. From a personal point of view I’ve been using a great app called Headspace to train me in meditation techniques and I find that it has been really well gamified, with great feedback and progress elements.
What do you think about the future of gamification?
I think that the future is great for gamification. Researcher Marigo Raftopoulos of Strategic Innovation Lab has researched over 200 gamification case studies and out of that came the realisation that corporates now see gamification as a term that is broader than gamification’s own definitions. It includes areas that have been around for longer than gamification like serious games, simulations and playful experiences. Its scope is growing and we’re going to be seeing more of it not less in the future.