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About An Coppens: A Journey of Innovation, Leadership, and Fun

Welcome to the dynamic world of An Coppens, a leading expert in gamification and game design, where creativity meets productivity, and innovation transforms engagement. With a career spanning over two decades, An has dedicated herself to making the world of work more inclusive, collaborative, and, most importantly, fun.

Early Life and Education

An Coppens was born in Antwerp, Belgium, and her journey into the world of business and innovation began early. Growing up in a family where her father was a sports journalist and her mother worked in graphic design, An was inspired to blend creativity with strategic thinking. She pursued a BA (Honours) in International Marketing and Languages at Dublin City University, a decision that laid the foundation for her global career. This academic background was further enriched with an MBA from the Open University Business School, where she specialised in change management and strategic HR, equipping her with the skills to lead and innovate in diverse environments.

An’s commitment to continuous learning is evident in her additional qualifications. She is a certified gamification designer, having completed all three levels of the Engagement Alliance’s certification program, and holds a master practitioner certification in neuro-linguistic programming and hypnosis. Her academic journey reflects her dedication to understanding and mastering the tools necessary to drive engagement and foster positive behavior change in various settings.

Professional Beginnings

An’s professional journey is as diverse as it is impressive. She began her career in management consultancy with Xigma Management Consultants, where she gained exposure to the world of international retail and cultural change implementation. Her ability to influence at all organizational levels, from boardrooms to ground floor staff, set the stage for her future endeavors. At Xigma, An was recognized for her success in leading the Benelux region and for her ability to upsell additional projects, showcasing her knack for both strategic oversight and detailed execution.

Following her success at Xigma, An joined Arthur Andersen Business Consulting as a senior consultant in the change enablement area. Here, she worked on a variety of projects, from middle management restructuring to IT implementation and strategy development for private and public service organizations. Her time at Arthur Andersen honed her skills in structured problem-solving and strategic development, lessons she carries with her to this day. This period also saw her completing her MBA, a testament to her dedication to professional growth and excellence. She also worked at Philips Electronics, Allergan, Modern Times Group, and American Express.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

An’s entrepreneurial spirit truly shone when she established B/Right Business Coaching in 2001. Serving the Cork market initially, she quickly expanded her reach across Ireland and the UK. Specializing in business coaching, work/life balance, and time management, An’s pragmatic and interactive approach helped numerous professionals and business owners achieve remarkable success. Her efforts were recognized with the European Coaching Achievement Award in 2007. Her coaching style is known for its practicality, interactivity, and focus on results, which has led to a solid business built primarily through referrals.

An’s work with B/Right Business Coaching highlighted her ability to support high achievers in various industries, including legal, financial, medical, and real estate. She developed innovative solutions like the “work/life balance on a stick” and was the first business coach in Ireland to create a DVD series for self-coaching. Her contribution to business coaching was also marked by her regular appearances on the RTE program “How Long Will You Live?”, where she shared her expertise on work/life balance and stress management.

Gamification Nation

In 2012, An founded Gamification Nation, where she serves as the Chief Game Changer. First in London and since 2021 also in Stockholm, Gamification Nation offers gamification and game design solutions to clients worldwide. Under her leadership, the agency has been recognised with several prestigious awards, including the Outstanding Gamification Design Agency award at Gamification Europe in 2017 and the Gamification Design Excellence award at GamiCon in 2018. An’s approach focuses on creating engaging and motivating environments that drive positive behavior change and improve business outcomes.

The projects An has spearheaded at Gamification Nation cover a wide range of applications, from sales staff onboarding and incentivisation to gamifying learning curricula and membership sites. Her work has had a significant impact on employee engagement and business results for clients such as Adidas, Google, Thomson Reuters, and Merck. An’s ability to blend strategic insight with creative execution has established her as a thought leader in the gamification industry.

Key Achievements:

  • Outstanding Gamification Design Agency Award, Gamification Europe, 2017 (Brighton, UK)
  • Gamification Design Excellence Award, GamiCon, 2018 (Chicago, USA)
  • Collaborated with global brands such as Adidas, Google, Merck and defence agencies in the UK
  • Innovated gamified solutions for diverse business challenges

Innovations and Thought Leadership

An’s contributions to the field of gamification and employee engagement are noteworthy. She is a prolific author, with books like “Leading the Boss in the Mirror” and “Tapping into the Crowd” available on Amazon. An’s writings provide valuable insights into leveraging gamification for competitive advantage and enhancing employee engagement. Her role as a thought leader is further solidified by her regular contributions to business magazines and her active participation in industry conferences around the world.

As a speaker, An has captivated audiences with her insights on gamification, leadership, and productivity. She has been invited to speak at numerous conferences globally, including SXSW, HR, and gamification conferences, sharing her expertise and inspiring others to embrace innovative solutions. An’s thought leadership extends to her online presence, where she maintains a popular blog on gamification and engages with a wide audience through social media platforms. Her influence in the industry is recognized by her rankings in the top 10 of gamification gurus worldwide.

Key Achievements:

  • Published multiple books on gamification and leadership
  • Regular speaker at international conferences including SXSW
  • Ranked in the top 10 gamification gurus worldwide
  • Prolific blogger and social media influencer

Personal Achievements

Outside of her professional life, An’s personal achievements are equally inspiring. She is an avid marathon runner, having completed marathons in Cork, London, and New York, as well as triathlons and half-marathons. She started her sports career in basketball and played at national levels, even if as a coach of youth teams she gained her first coaching kudos. Her dedication to fitness and perseverance is mirrored in her professional pursuits. An’s commitment to volunteerism is evident in her involvement with the Cork Choral Festival and the Cork City Sports, where she has served as head of athlete liaison, coordinating the logistics for incoming athletes.

An’s efforts in the community have earned her honorary membership in the Rotary Club of Cork. Her work with Rotary included several projects for young people, showcasing her dedication to fostering growth and opportunities for the next generation. An’s volunteerism extends to fundraising for charities, particularly those focused on children’s welfare. Her favourite charities include Friends International, which works to reintegrate street children into education and society, and Special Effect, a game charity that helps kids of all abilities enjoy the world of play, reflecting An’s commitment to making a positive impact.

In recent years, An has found joy in gardening in Sweden, where she has embraced the challenge of protecting her flowers from deer, moose, and other wildlife. This new hobby also involves creating a garden environment that is cat-friendly while repelling mosquitoes and other unsavory biting bugs. Gardening has become a relaxing pastime since she hung up her running shoes, combining her love for nature with her knack for innovative problem-solving.

Key Achievements:

  • Completed multiple marathons and triathlons
  • Honorary member of the Rotary Club of Cork
  • Head of athlete liaison for Cork City Sports
  • Active volunteer and fundraiser for children’s charities
  • Passionate gardener adapting to Sweden’s unique wildlife challenges

A Lifelong Learner

An’s commitment to personal and professional development is evident in her continuous pursuit of knowledge. Whether it’s reading, writing blogs, or taking courses, An believes in the power of lifelong learning. She loves learning from mentors who have achieved where she wants to go next, check out her mentors page to see who she has been hanging out with. Her curiosity about different cultures and ways of working has led her to live in five European countries and work in over 30, building an international network of contacts. This global perspective enriches her approach to business and innovation, allowing her to integrate diverse insights and strategies into her work.

An’s passion for learning is not limited to her own development; she is also dedicated to fostering learning and growth in others. Through her writing, speaking engagements, and coaching, she shares valuable knowledge and inspires others to pursue their own paths of continuous improvement. An’s belief in the importance of lifelong learning is a cornerstone of her philosophy, driving her to seek out new experiences and opportunities for growth.

Key Achievements:

  • Extensive international work experience
  • Continuous pursuit of professional development
  • Published author and prolific blogger
  • Inspires others through coaching and speaking engagements

Current Business Interests

Currently, An Coppens is focused on several innovative ventures that are shaping the future of work, marketing, and employee engagement. One of her primary initiatives is Playerence, a marketing-focused SaaS platform designed to help businesses reach their target audience in a fun and rewarding manner. Playerence aims to create sustainable growth and foster a diverse team, leveraging gamification to drive engagement and business results. The platform is envisioned as a lead generation machine, providing some of the best-known and currently mostly Swedish brands with the tools they need to thrive in a competitive market.

In addition to Playerence, An is also the driving force behind MyDigitalOffice.io, a metaverse for work. This digital workspace is designed to facilitate seamless collaboration among teams, no matter where in the world they are located. By integrating gamification elements, MyDigitalOffice.io aims to enhance productivity, improve remote leadership, and create a virtual environment where employees feel connected and engaged. An’s vision for MyDigitalOffice.io is to build a comprehensive digital workspace that meets the evolving needs of modern businesses.

An’s business interests also include acquiring aligned businesses to scale and grow an ecosystem of gamified business resources. By strategically acquiring companies that complement her current offerings, An aims to create a robust ecosystem that provides comprehensive gamified solutions to businesses worldwide. This approach not only enhances her service offerings but also positions her companies for long-term growth and success.

Key Achievements:

  • Founder and CEO of Gamification Nation
  • Gamifying lead generation and loyalty with Playerence, one quiz at a time
  • Innovating with MyDigitalOffice.io, a metaverse for work
  • Building an ecosystem of gamified business resources through strategic acquisitions
  • Driving sustainable business practices with a diverse team

Speaking Engagements

An Coppens is a sought-after speaker who has shared her expertise at conferences around the globe. Her insights on gamification, leadership, and productivity have captivated audiences at prestigious events such as SXSW, HR, and gamification conferences. An’s engaging speaking style, combined with her deep knowledge and passion for her subjects, makes her a compelling speaker who leaves a lasting impact on her audience. She shares practical strategies and innovative ideas that inspire attendees to implement gamification and drive positive change in their organizations.

Key Achievements:

  • Speaker at SXSW, HR, and gamification conferences worldwide
  • Known for engaging and impactful presentations
  • Inspires audiences with practical strategies and innovative ideas
  • Recognised as a thought leader in gamification and leadership

Get in Touch

To learn more about An Coppens and her groundbreaking work, visit her websites Gamification Nation, Playerence, and MyDigitalOffice.io. Follow her on X at @GamificationNat for the latest updates and insights.