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Nicolas has been enjoying life for over 53 years. He has worked and lived in the US, UK, Belgium, Japan, Germany and France allowing him to be open and understand different cultures. He worked for Sony for many years and learned to combine marketing and gaming. He is a co-founder of GamFed. Since 2017, Nicolas is a consultant in all digital matters. He helps big and small companies to transform their business by using AI and Gamification. He writes for Le Monde Economique in Geneva as a digital expert and works for LinkedIn Learning and IBM on social media and AI subjects.
Nicolas normally starts his days at around six am talking with people in Japan and China. Moving forward during the day Nicolas talks to customers or prospects in Germany, Holland, the UK and France usually. Finishing the day he chats with those in the US.
Nicolas finds failure is part of life and really enjoys failure because it makes him come back. One of his favorite fails is a gamification campaign that he did while in France and had a customer in Osaka, Japan. Their goal was to get engaged prospects, increase audience and engagement on their site and make sure that their online campaigns would become successful. In Japan, it’s all about games and gaming but game and work have never been mixed together. So he started a campaign and would normally expect a 3 to 5 percent return. They then realized that Japan was a different culture and they could not get a single person to enroll in the campaign. They then tried to change the approach, the positioning, but nothing worked. Nicolas learned that even if you think you know the culture if it’s not yours try to get a native person from that culture to make a campaign work.
Nicolas had a big project about the digital transformation of factories in China around 2 years ago. He thought he would put a process in place to use virtual, augmented and/or mixed reality to make the factory adopt new ways of working. The biggest challenge was to make sure that the boss was on board, this was certainly a key. Another challenge was to get the teams to understand they would learn better, faster and more efficiently using game mechanics. What was important is at the beginning Nicolas made the boss play and made sure that he won due to the Asian culture. Once the boss got the highest score Nicolas found it was interesting to see how people would try to reach as close as possible to the boss, but nobody ever beat the boss.
Nicolas has different types of processes, but the beginning of every process is the same and they are all roughly between 17 and 30 steps. One of these has 17 steps, the first 3 steps are always the same, number one is an audit. Then he interviews all the stakeholders about their wishes. Nicolas finds that you really need to listen to people and have them explain what they see as a problem or a block that is really going to make their job difficult. Then based on the interview, Nicolas will work on a gap analysis about what exists and what they want to see, then presents them to management. These 3 steps he follows on all his projects.
After this, once the presentation to management is approved, he checks first what type of issue it is and based on this he decides what process he is going to use. He explained what he would do if the issue was around engagement as well as a technology issue and that game mechanics can help. Once he finds that gamification can help, he sets up the right process for game mechanics. Quickly realizing what works and what doesn’t work is important for him. Starting with the game mechanic about strategy, about the campaign, about change management he looks to see which one works best. Once he knows he has the right strategy he will deploy it for the whole company and then start implementing digital transformation processes. Once this is done, he will look at the overall requirements that he started with and check if he has met all the overall requirements, to go back to designing some more if not.
Remember that Nicolas Babin is going to be at Gamification Europe 2019 in Berlin, so if you want to join us there, get your discounted tickets on professorgame.com/GamificationEurope and support Professor Game through this affiliate link!
Nicolas’ main piece of advice for any digital transformation project using gamification is communication. Everything from the start to the end of the project he believes you need to make sure you communicate and possibly even over-communicate, the more you communicate the more successful you’re going to be.
Nicolas’ favorite game is FIFA, and he plays with his brother, who lives in New York through the PSN.
Nicolas would recommend for Roman Rackwitz to be on the podcast as well as Toby Beresford who have both already been on the podcast. The three of these started Gamfed together and Nicolas would recommend both of these to be on the podcast again. Nicolas would recommend the Gabe Zicherman‘s book collection on gamification as well as the book by Jane McGonigal about how to get better, SuperBetter, which helped Nicolas think about how you can use Gamification for everyday life.
Nicolas’ superpower is his experience, he finds himself very fortunate his whole life for doing things that he really wanted to do, and for a long time!
Nicolas is doing a talk at Gamification Europe and is not going to be alone during the speech, he is going to bring out an AI robot as he wants to see everybody’s face when he turns on the robot. What he will be talking about is how artificial intelligence scares people and what he is wanting to show is that it is there to augment people. The same way when you engaged you are augmented because when you engage all your senses you are really focused on one thing.
You can find Nicolas across the internet. On Twitter @nicochan33, on LinkedIn as Nicolas Babin and all over social media as well. His final piece of advice is not to be scared! When he was at Sony, campaigns had a start and end but what you sent was final. However, in gamification, any mistakes or problems you find in the way can be changed, pivoted or iterated on. The second advice is to be patient, precisely because gamification is also disruptive. Finally, remember to have fun!
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