I’ve enrolled in a short course about Gamification. It’s run by Kevin Werbach of the University of Pennsylvania, and I’m studying online via Coursera.
What is gamification? It can be difficult to pin down the definition of a fast-evolving phenomenon, because it changes so quickly. But let’s try. Right now, in the context explored by this short course, gamification is the use of game elements in non-game contexts to engage users or change behaviour.
Distinguishing between facts, assertions and opinions particularly resonates with me because of my background as a public sector policy officer. I’m used to evaluating the credibility of evidence from my work in market research. It’s especially interesting in terms of the vanity metrics that Eric Ries talks about in The Lean Startup (and in this post on Tim Ferriss’s blog): does this evidence really show what it claims to show? Critical thinking is essential for designing services and products. It is a skill best developed through constant doing and practice; this course is a great opportunity for me to keep my mind in shape.
This week I’m going to two exciting meetup events. Firstly, with the London Java Community, talks about the Internet of Things (details here). With 50 billion connected devices predicted by 2020, it’s a real growth area: QR codes, Near Field Communication, Bluetooth Low Energy and Arduino. Secondly, ProductTank, the meeting for Product Managers; speakers will discuss product management in payments, fixing broken checkout experiences and how people pay online (details here). Meetup evenings are a great opportunity to find out about new topics in an informal setting. I’m looking forward to them both.