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Albert van der Meer is a Creative Gamification Consultant with aeStranger, which operates from and is based in the Netherlands. His lies specifically in narrative, visual entertainment and storytelling. With these skills and knowledge, Albert has helped businesses, educational institutions, and other corporate environments to better improve team cooperation and develop deeper, more meaningful learning experiences through the use of narrative and gameful design techniques.
Before starting aeStranger, Albert worked several years as a media producer, a team-building facilitator and as a freelance filmmaker and producer in Europe and the UK. After a successful career in helping business schools, businesses, music and film talents, he decided to change careers and be a full-time gamification consultant and teambuilding facilitator. Albert now helps various institutions and individuals with delivering better learning experiences for their teams and clients.
Albert also co-authored a book on gamification, called: Press Start: Using Gamification to Power-up your Marketing. The book offers straightforward advice and immediate applicability of marketing & gamification techniques. It’s aimed at marketers who wish to fully engage their customers in a positive and meaningful manner using game techniques.
A regular day for Albert before the Covid-19 breakout would involve a mix of working from home, doing research, writing and development, and going out, meeting clients and presenting workshops. As of recent, it involves a lot more research, writing and development working from home.
One of his favorite fails comes from a time when a professor from a business school approached him wanting to create a gamified team-building experience that fits within their management workshop. They wanted something similar to an escape room that would last between half a day to a day. In the end, they didn’t go for it and one of the issues was that it wasn’t reconciled between what Albert wanted in terms of the learning objective against what they thought was more of game experience and a fun day. The lesson he took from this is that it is important to ensure both parties are entirely clear beforehand on what the objectives are!
A favorite success for Albert comes from when he was working with another business school, Albert develops team-oriented learning experiences using a medium that teaches various soft skills and incorporates what the school’s management team needs. One of the most successful ones faced the challenge initially of how to get enough people to work together and keep them working together in order to have it scalable for different groups. What came of this was building an experience that used the concept of an infomercial which was mostly successful every time it has run, and still does.
For him, it is important for the process to define the objective beforehand, first considering who they’re working with, understanding the problem they have as well as what outcomes they want out of it. Afterward, it’s important to measure and get feedback to know if what you have created has been effective or not. A lot more detail is of course on his book Press Start: Using Gamification to Power-up your Marketing. The best practice for Albert really follows this too: it is essential that all goals align and connect in the right manner and that you’re not going past each other.
Albert would love to hear Jane McGonigal on the podcast as he is interested in what she has delivered. He would also love to hear from partner businesses that have used gamification.
Albert enjoys many favorite books and it often changes but the one he would currently recommend would be Misbehaving by Richard Thaler.
His superpower is in narratives and storytelling as it comes from his film background and scriptwriting, it really interests him, and he is extremely passionate about it.
Albert has multiple favorite games. His favorite online game is the Civilization series, he can play this game for hours and hours. For day-to-day, he really enjoys Team Fight Tactics by Riot as it is accessible been on his phone. Dungeons & Dragons is Albert’s favorite offline game as you can go into a fantasy world and forget about things for a few hours.
He likes to use gamification as he has been playing games from a young age and he has always found it extremely engaging by using gamification it allows you to use those things to make it more engaging for other people. The deeper reason is that it involves so many disciplines such as behavioral psychology, user experience, storytelling as well as others and this speaks to him heavily from an intellectual and academic perspective.
If you’re doing gamification, make sure it’s authentic! That would be his final piece of advice.
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