Reflections from Gamification Summit Turkey

Gamification Summit Turkey has closed and had a theme of changing behaviour running through it.  I have great respect for conference organisers the world over because there are so many moving parts to looking after, so well done to team Gamification Turkey. What was outstanding is to have the consecutive English translation for the talks in Turkish, it made me feel very included.

It is always an honour to be invited to a conference and share your knowledge. I also enjoy learning from other people’s experiences and insights which is why I tend to stay around for the other speaker presentations. So here are my reflections on the event.

The conference started with a double act keynote of Joris Beerda and Thomas Lindemann which basically took us through the Octalysis framework and touched on a Volkswagen case study around their soon to be launched loyalty program. For me,  it would have been more interesting to hear more case study rather than the framework, but I guess giving away the details before the launch would not leave much for curiosity. It will be great to hear more about this case again after roll-out. Loyalty schemes and gamification have been old friends but stuck on status and points as Thomas pointed out, to include loot boxes is a bold move especially given the negative press they were getting.

A stand-out presentation from a client perspective was the food ordering gamification for Yemeksepeti. Okan Erol shared their journey with pitfalls and highlights that brought them to the current gamified ordering service. They had shortlisted 3 well-known gamification platforms, 2 of which they engaged at different times, but failed to deliver and resulted in the project being put on hold. In the end, they went with a bespoke solution created by people who had been watching their efforts (if I understood that correctly). This is the unspoken story of so many clients. Most platforms will have success and failure stories, but we don’t hear about them. I understand it isn’t good for business, and I am also reluctant to share those kinds of stories, but every consultancy and every platform will have them. I guess it is the client prerogative to share the true story. I loved how ‘mayorship’ plays a big role in the gamified solution and caused a lot of buzz on social media for the company.

Another stand-out presentation came from the other lady speaker in the line-up Gunet Eroglu of HMS Health. She started designing a solution because of her dyslexic son, combining brain-computer interfaces and mobile applications. What I found interesting to hear is how important emotional brain activation is to learning for dyslexic learners. I believe research is going on in this field so it will be great to hear more about this. I personally feel we haven’t explored the connection of both movement and emotion and their respective impact on learning. I think brain sciences will add value as we learn how our brains take in information.

Maarten Molenaar shared an interesting model for understanding the culture of an organisation when rolling out a change project from Leon de Caluwe and Hans Vermaak. He also made the valid point that estimating realistic timing is key in managing change expectations. He also shared how on some projects the culture in the company needs to be reflected in the design and translated into the language all can understand and buy into.

Sylvester Arnab also shared valuable findings from the work they do with Coventry University in the field of collaboration, gamification and game-based learning. I often find that when you listen to academic researchers that there is so much more they could be explaining and they have to just stick to a quick overview of something that can have a lot more depth. One of the parts he touched on was how trans-disciplinary collaboration could impact the design process for gamification and serious game design. I think that in all of our work the co-creation with clients is the most vital part of creating acceptance and ownership of a change project. At the end of the day, most gamification projects end up being some sort of change project by default.

The day had more interesting presentations and workshops, we didn’t get a chance to attend all or retain great information about everything. But the above were my takeaways. I would have like to have asked a few questions here and there, but maybe the risk of having silence may have prevented this or sticking to a tight timeline.

Thank you team Gamification Turkey for making us feel welcome, included and organising a great event. I hope it spurs on great projects in Turkey and further afield.



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