Ep 020 How values and culture align with epic meaning in gamification with Juliette Denny

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Juliette is the Ideologist in Chief (AKA Managing Director) at Growth Engineering, and her unwavering mission is to wage war on dull online learning!

She is a pioneer and expert in applying gamification and social functionality to online learning. She has an unrivaled passion for learner engagement, which leaves audiences inspired and electrified. She is the complete package: influencer, expert and also has direct access to primary research through her own products and solutions, meaning that her talks are packed full of stats and case studies proving the truth in what she’s saying.

Juliette has also been named #30 on the eLearning Movers and Shakers list, which just so happens to be the highest any learning technologies vendor placed! She’s also a mom of two amazing kids and the cutest dog, Lilly!

It’s hard to find a “regular day” but it starts with the kids, then the dog and then work. Since its an international business, she can be working with people anywhere. Her office is a nice walk away from home and the gym is on the way, where she likes to put her “thinking cap” on. At work she really enjoys working with her team and clients who want to learn more of what they’re doing.

Juliette always tells her team that around 50% of her decisions are going to be wrong, so there’s no negative perception around failure. Not getting passionate about what you’re doing, that’s when something is going wrong. She’s come to realize that the creative and dynamic culture they have at Growth Engineering is not always the case of her clients, so change is only as good as how many and how passionate people are around an idea. Those ideas cannot be of a single player, you need to bring people onboard, the more you have and the more people are also owners of it, the more chances of success there will be. A good example of a failure was of a company where they created a product that could only be accessed by logging in through Facebook, young female drivers. They were creating leaderboards that could be shared to friends. However, those passionate about the product were actually older and male! Since they didn’t understand the sphere of influence of the company they weren’t really able to reach the expected audience. They are now turning this around by looking for new ways to create a sense of community around this audience.

Her best experience is when, because they are also a technology provider, some clients come to them and they introduce gamification, which is something they still hadn’t considered. One example is a client that when this happened, it was an external reseller platform, so they turned the training into a series of games. It was what they call “campaign learning”. It was called a “Game Plan” instead of a training. She relates this to self-determination theory, autonomy, competence and relatedness, so as a learner you need to have a clear idea of where you are in the process. It is a journey and it has stages. The campaign learning she’s found its great since it can change the narrative, the core dynamics will not be engaging forever, so it is a great opportunity to change things around. She doesn’t want for people to think of it as learning but rather as edutainment.

The first thing that Juliette does when approaching a project using gamification is trying to determine what the client is telling, not saying, but telling, so inquiry is the base where they can start. Then they take a look at the tools that they have to achieve that and decide on what they are going to actually do. Taking into account the dynamics, then they move into the narrative and how it correlates to the organization’s culture and values. What they call epic meaning has to be aligned with the organization that it’s being created for. This is what she would name as a best practice.

Her favorite game is Agri-hazard, it’s sort of a Monopoly but about farms! Juliette would love to listen to Karl Kapp interviewed in Professor Game! A recommended book would be Raph Koster’s “Theory of Fun“. She uses it a lot to explain a lot of her theories. Her superpower is enthusiasm around lots of ideas! She can advocate for many of them.

The final advice is that many people get scared around gamification, game-based learning and similar. If you unpack what it means, it is the place where there is so much that can be useful for organizations, so perhaps use the terminology in their favor depending on the values and culture of the organization.

You can fin Juliette through her Twitter handle: @juliettedenny and of course through the company’s website growthengineering.co.uk

5 Replies to “Ep 020 How values and culture align with epic meaning in gamification with Juliette Denny”

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