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Kerstin Oberprieler is award-winning gamification designer and Co-Founder of PentaQuest. She is also studying her Ph.D. in gamification. As a leading gamification academic and practitioner, Kerstin is pushing the boundaries of what is possible with gamification, building gamified solutions that are intuitive, highly effective, and engaging. Her recent clients include private businesses, government, not-for-profit organizations and schools, all seeking to engage their employees and learners through gamification. Her gamification experience includes card games, board games, digital games, and team and workplace-based gamification experiences and platforms.
Kerstin is a sought-after speaker and is known for her engaging and energetic style. Kerstin has presented all over Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, and the US. She also spoke at TEDxCanberra about the future of gamification (bit.ly/GamificationTEDtalk).
Her days are quite diverse as it depends mostly on the clients she might be working with. She is sometimes working in the office with the teams, others it is full of possible clients interested in gamification which can be all over Australia (which is quite large!)
Her favorite fail (first attempt in learning) or flearning as they call it in Pentaquest, was working with a client team for an employee engagement project. Their team got changed and they had a brand new team to work with and the handover was not optimal and the rollout was only two weeks to launch! They needed to reeducate that team, the staff in the end did not get effective communication at the start and although they managed to turn it around it was far from ideal for the client. Now they make sure that there is adequate time to onboard staff, to increase the stakeholders in the company involved so communication can be a lot better in general.
At Pentaquest they use a behavioral gamification approach to help innovative companies get the best out of their people. Through a behavioral assessment tool they uncover the behaviors, motivations and engagement styles to tailor the game mechanics and inform the behaviors they are incentivizing. This is measured on an ongoing basis. This way they’ve had great results in many aspects for their challenges. A successful example she shared is with an Australian governmental department with which they worked last year and now this year as well. They achieved a 71% regular ongoing engagement, a 140% increase in non-mandatory L&D activities (beyond the mandatory), a 33% increase in employee wellbeing in four weeks, among many other things! It comes to show how good gamification can achieve great objectives.
At Pentaquest they have a five-step methodology founded on human-centered design as well as psychology and behavioral sciences. The first step is about clarifying the intent, what success looks like for the individual, team and ultimately the company. This is the usual thing that needs to be clarified and deepened. The second is exploring, it is about understanding where things are currently, what is the job-to-be-done, they speak a lot to users and so on. The third is a make-test-learn phase, so having a prototype that may be rough and showing it to people, it can take from a couple of days to several months. Once this is done in paper or digital, whichever is the final product, it is time for launching. It is all about communicating with the users and building excitement, it is a time to be a little creative and build some fun around the whole concept. Finally, it is about evolving, measuring and evaluating to improve and add new features for instance.
A best practice for Kerstin would be to have an in-depth understanding of psychology. This could be formal in a degree or even just keeping up-to-date with the latest relevant research. The other thing would be about measurement and ROI. This sounds difficult in gamification because we are focused on experiences, however, this makes it even more important to make sure what you are creating is actually having an impact. Her current favorite game is Dungeons and Dragons!
She would love to hear from Marigo Raftopoulos once again! Her book recommendation is The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. Kerstin’s superpower would be the ability to take the fuzzy intent of the client and turning it into something actionable and gamifiable.
The random question this time was about gamification as a side hustle… Click play and listen to the full question and answer! We also had a chance to talk about our views on the future of gamification.
Her final advice is to give gamification a try and to learn from the fantastic resources (both academic and practitioners). She finds it painful to see people “try” gamification without doing proper research and when it doesn’t go as planned blame it on gamification and not on bad design. So do it and in an informed way!
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