… and it makes sense!

Hey folks,

some of you might already know that I am currently taking part in the CBS Social Entrepreneurship MOOC. My original intention was both to learn more about social business (which I find a great way of working on social and environmental problems in a sustainable way) and about entrepreneurs (whom I find very interesting and inspirational personalities). Now I am part of an online project working on delivering personal and emotional support online to people in need of it and training mentors to give this support. More information on this project can be found here and before starting with my main post, I will share our short presentation video (“pitch”) we just have done for the online course:

Always looking for feedback by the way 🙂

But now to what I want to share with you today:

An entrepreneur is born (… and it makes sense)

First, I don’t think someone becomes born as an entrepreneur. But if you tend to seek solutions for problems existing in your environment, you are likely to become an entrepreneur one day. I think the most organic (in the meaning of continually growing) and sustainable way of becoming an entrepreneur is to be deeply committed to solving a problem in your environment (e.g. loneliness of the elder people).

You now begin to think about and search for solutions and develop a kind of idea what your solution could look like to solve this problem. Feeling this deep commitment and therefore need for a solution, you have a fire burning within which empowers you to work a lot on your solution and communicate with enthusiasm to other people to find like-minded people and form a team. Forming a team is very important because some day you will need more skills or thought exchange or working hours than you have at hand yourself and if you don’t have a team then, your solution will be limited in its growth and loose its sustainability and you can even begin to burn out.

So far my thoughts are no rocket science I think. But a thought hit me as I was telling a friend that I lacked the feeling of having the parts/activities in my life integrated into a vision/goal which makes me feel like “This is what I am. This is what I want to achieve. I don’t just work, I burn for making my vision real and everything makes sense!”

If you are deeply committed to solving a problem in your environment and burn for it, the way you are and the skills you have will make more and more sense in your life as you will be able to use them for your solution and the puzzle of your life reveals a mystery and shows the entrepreneur required for making the solution real.

I think this must be a wonderful feeling (even if you can’t sleep at night sometimes because you are full of visionary thoughts) which gives you a lot of inner fuel and strength. I mean after all, you have just found the confirmation for the need to be needed and a really meaningful activity and you are somehow made for it – wow!

I feel like my words still lack a bit the clarity to paint the picture of this entrepreneur in my mind but maybe you can help me with your comments and questions so that I can develop this idea further?

Have a great day,



Throw Away Your Burden From Time To Time

Hey folks,

DSC_5928_smalllong time no news from me but well… I feel like today, I should tell you something. I’m feeling like waking up again, like leaving my “hibernation”. I had these days of excessive dancing in Spain this Summer and was very active afterwards. With the days getting shorter and the news in my life getting less (or at least it felt like this), I was getting more and more tired and within the last days, I struggled hard to get myself up in the morning most of the days. What happened to the guy who always woke up before 7 am and was already vibrating to do something?

The reason I am writing to you today is that I want to tell you some answers to this question I just found for myself:

  • Eating too much and too fast often takes me down after the meal, especially if I am not vibrating before the meal. So excessive eating is only good/possible for me in combination with excessive dancing – which I am currently not doing.

    Idea 1: Slow food – live fast!

  • Having something on your todo list which you don’t want to do already sucks – but with every day you don’t do and don’t throw the todo away, it feels more like a burden and will probably take you down so that you even stop doing the things you like to do less.

    Idea 2: Carefully think about what to put on my todo list – and do it in a timely manner. If I think about rescheduling something, I should instead think about throwing the task away – if I find a good reason not to throw it away, I can do it right now.

  • Some call it “sharpening the saw”, others speak of “time for myself”. Anyway – between a job, friends, family and leisure activities, there has to be time for myself – time when I can relax, think, work-out and grow.

    Idea 3: Enjoy and spend the time on my own wisely – and claim this time for and from myself daily.

I feel like I should get a task board, pin these three ideas there and start using the task board more than my Calendar.

Have you experienced similar problems with getting yourself motivated/up and running and how have you dealt with them?

Have a great day,


Can Gamification Make Us Learn?

Howdy folks,

2014-08-04-15-00-50.jpgtoday I want to share with you my latest insights about the question if gamification can make us learn. I was thinking about it again because my former lecturer told me that in her opinion, learning (especially in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)) does not need to be fun but to include top notch content.

First, for those of you who are not familiar to gamification: gamification is the application of game mechanics in non-game contexts, e.g. showing customers a leaderboard of the most-buying customers to motivate them to buy even more. So you might want to call gamification a manipulation thing using mechanics that make you feel good or try to do better in games.

The question now is, can we really be manipulated to learn something?

2013-10-11 10.45.46In my opinion, gamification can be a trigger for learning. The game-like style is likely to grab your attention and teach you a first few things in an easy way. This is supported by a good on-boarding design. On-boarding means that in the beginning, there is more help and less difficulty so that you can start smoothly and not just get scared and frustrated after the first minutes.

Gamification then can keep you for some time satisfying your curiosity to discover new things and to figure out how things work. You might enjoy yourself earning some points and achievements and making some progress.

But someday, things get boring and the question then is: What have you learned and what are the take-aways from the time spent on this gamified learning environment?

To be able to answer this question, we have to think about your original motivation why you spent this time and if your motivation changed during spending the time. In my opinion, you can only learn something in a healthy way if you are really caring about learning it. I define healthy learning as a sustainable learning which is achieved once the learner begins to ask questions and looks for answers to these questions – which leads to real engagement of the learner and application of the topic to learn.

2014-08-07-10-50-56.jpgSo if you just stumbled into the learning environment accidentally, looking for pleasure and left once pleasure became less and work became more, you might have learned a few things but they are very likely to fade away soon and you are likely to have not achieved a deep learning and understanding of the topic to learn. In short, little or no learning.

But if you came to the learning environment with questions to answer or developed an interest in the topic to learn in the learning environment, you are likely to take away much more – and maybe even stay longer or look for other learning environments.

So the point I want to make is that what matters first and most is not the design of the learning environment but your motivation to learn.

Which is the role of gamification then?

Redesign of a gamified Software Engineering course, ICL Kazan 2013(6)As stated above, gamification can be a trigger for learning. If the learner is motivated for learning (motivation is not the product of gamification!), the elements of gamification can be a great way to provide the learner with a lot of intuitive learning management tools. Think of a map which shows you the topics you could still move to. A skill tree which shows you which skills you’ve already learned and what you might want or need to work on. A quest you can give to someone so that he/she explains something to you or works on a topic you are interested in. Earning experience points for learning success and getting level-ups to find and peer with other persons of similar levels. All the tracking of your learning and the management of the topics to cover, the possibilities to work on and the communication with other persons can be enhanced and facilitated by gamification techniques so that you can spend more time on the thing you care for – learning something you are really interested in.

2014-08-08-11-44-19.jpgFinally, to answer my starting question: gamification can not make us learn in a healthy way if we are only looking for pleasure. And a last side note: It is somewhat ironic that a society which is pleasure-centered tries to cure the problems of their pleasure-centeredness (that people care more about earning money to buy more pleasure than to learn more to make the world a better place), that this pleasure-centered society is trying to cure their pleasure-centeredness problem with making learning more pleasure…

I am looking forward to learn what you think.

Have a great weekend,


For Those Who Want To Read My Paper – Redesign of a Gamified Software Engineering Course

Accumulative grading in my redesigned course

Accumulative grading in my redesigned course

Howdy folks,

if you want to read my paper with which I won the Young Scientist Award 2013, feel free to do so here.

Comments and like are very appreciated.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend.

Yours sincerely,


Lessons learned from reading “Loyalty 3.0” by Rajat Paharia

Howdy folks,

Rajat Paharia, Bunchball

Rajat Paharia, Bunchball (Photo credit: E2 Conference)

today I want to tell you what I learned from reading “Loyalty 3.0” by Rajat Paharia.

  • There are rather algorithmical tasks, e.g. making pizza in a pizza restaurant is like you have a template how the pizza should look like and what you have got to do to get there. For these rather algorithmical tasks, there is a lack of intrinsical motivation so you have to motivate extrinsically, e.g. with points and levelling up and relating the level to the salary.
  • There are rather heuristical tasks (you might say creative tasks), e.g. designing a user interface or doing research and innovate car engineering. For these rather heuristical tasks, there is often intrinsical motivation already existing or can be created by a bit of gamification, so there is only a need for support like feedback.
  • Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation do not have clear cuts, if an activity results from extrinsic or intrinsic motivation depends on somebody’s reasons for doing it. We can rather think of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation as the opposed ends of a gradient scale/spectrum.
  • On the way to happier and therefore more productive employees some enterprises implement result only work environments or even complete autonomy for employees.
  • When people lack autonomy in one activity, they strive for autonomy in another activity, e.g. if work is boring and without autonomy, people escape by playing games.
  • Rajat gives us a great example of Tom Sawyer to show that it depends mostly on someone’s attitude if something feels like work or like a game. So gamification can change the perception of an activity and makes it feel less like work.
  • There are fixed mind-set and growth mind-set persons (Tagg calls them entity and incremental theorists): Fixed mind-set persons do not believe they can improve and change their skills and growth mind-set persons believe in and work hard to improve their skills.
  • Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

    Image via CrunchBase

    I loved the Steve Jobs quote “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?” in combination with Rajat’s thoughts about Wikipedia: “People often wonder why others dedicate their time and energy to efforts such as contributing to open-source projects and writing and editing on Wikipedia for no financial gain. Now you know the answer – because there is a strong sense of purpose, of making a dent in the universe.”. Makes me think of meaningful activities… Rajat also introduces research by Amabile and Kramer about this issue.

  • A like on Facebook does not mean a company has a social relationship to the customer who pushed the like button. Real engagement on both sides is needed to create a social relationship that lasts.
  • Rajat explains the most important details about big data and big data analysis in brief and nice-to-read paragraphs with examples, thanks for telling me so that I could learn it in this enjoyable way!
  • Loyalty 3.0 can be used to implement my thoughts about building trust in your team.
  • “Don’t let the game in the name fool you.”: Gamification does not make work a game but uses game elements to make work more enjoyable, meaningful and productive if done right.
  • Khan Academy

    Khan Academy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Did you know the Khan Academy?

  • Gamification does not make a poor product a great product, for its success there needs to be a product with a core value proposition. Reminds me of my thoughts about sustainable gamification
  • Fun and positive emotions in games come from the path to the win: Autonomy, mastery, purpose, a feeling of progress and social interaction makes us happy and make the game a meaningful activity.
  • Check out Rajat’s explanation of the ten most important gamification mechanics!
  • We should suggest a next action to the user.
  • We should use personal leaderboards where the user can compete with friends or just see his position and some before and after so that he/she know what to do to get from 1001th to 999th position.
  • There are different kinds of extrinsic motivation which are more or less far away from intrinsic motivation: external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation and integrated regulation.
  • English: Autonomy Mastery Purpose vs. Carrot a...

    English: Autonomy Mastery Purpose vs. Carrot and Stick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Cash is not the only meaningful reward.

  • Always work with teams because if someone feels responsible for his/her team mates, he/she will try everything to perform better.
  • Gamification can provide you with the steering wheel for your employees.
  • Loved the Thomas A. Edison quote “Vision without execution is hallucination.”.
  • Gamification can be used to improve software testing participation and intensivity, case study: “Thwack“.
  • Scaffolding and Onboarding are important gamification techniques, e.g. at Zamzee where families can get and stay fit.
  • Ever got frustrated using Photoshop? Try LevelUp, a gamified Photoshop training!
  • If a game designer designed the school experience most of us had, it would have been the worst game ever.
  • Have to check out “The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game“.
  • Another example of successful gamification of education: “Just Press Play“.
  • I will try the amazing third part of the book (guide for implementation of Loyalty 3.0) for my favorite future fashion store soon.

Hope you learned something, too and want to learn more now (buying Rajat’s amazing book ;)).

I am looking forward to read your comments, e.g. about where you could implement Loyalty 3.0, where do you feel a need for more feedback or purpose, if you do know any of the case studies and whatever comes into your mind. Thanks in advance for becoming a brave one 🙂


Survived for two weeks or Let gamification die

Hello everyone, hello especially to these very important people that already found, liked, followed or even commented on my blog!
This is a quick post to thank you and to tell you about my service philosophy:

  • You can suggest and vote for new topics to post at the right side (sidebar).

    English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting

    English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • I will write a post every or every second week about the most voted topic.
  • You can present yourself at my  Service Optimization – Follower Interests site.
  • I will try to post the best content for my readership presented on this site.
  • You can comment on my blog 24/7.
  • I will try to reply within one day and will check your blog or website out too, if you want me to (I often suggest you want me to).

This way, with your help, I hope my blog will survive more than the next two weeks. But if you like to see things dying…

Let gamification die!

You might wonder why I say such rude things to poor little gamification, do you?

  • the word gamification makes many people think of manipulation so you can’t have a serious, constructive discussion with them. Kill gamification!
  • the word gamification makes many people think of games which they think of as childish stuff so there is no discussion. Die gamification!

    Star Wars - Darth Vader

    Star Wars – Darth Vader (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • the word gamification sounds like marketing or research term, so most of the people think that they are not allowed and not even necessary to think about or even have an opinion about it. That’s completely bullshit! The question how we can give and take feedback, learn continuously new things and master motivation to live a good, joyful life might concern everyone maybe expect little Darth Vader. Die, gamification, die!!!

So I hope you agree we need to find a better term to describe what we try to achieve by gamific… (arghhh, I can’t write it anymore without thinking of rude, bloody things). Do you have any ideas about the wording? What do you understand as its aims, its techniques? What is it (don’t want to think of bloody things anymore) for you?

Sweetheart made by bm199

Sweetheart made by bm199 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe we can baptize poor little gamification a second time so that it is our sweetest sweetheart?

Use the force,


Gamification: The Art of Attracting and Keeping Users

Hey folks,

just wanted to let you know about some great writing I just found. It will tell you what your main questions should be when implementing gamification. What I find very interesting and most important is

Focus the Scope of Rewards

[…] Context is vital to gamification — consider rewarding activities in narrowly scoped areas to give developers something concrete and achievable to strive for.


Implement Wisely

Before you implement your gamification system, think carefully about how it will scale and take future needs into account.

Thx @Engaming for sharing another cool article!


via Gamification: The Art of Attracting and Keeping Users.

The two sides of gamification or May the force be with you



A dishwasher containing clean dishes

A dishwasher containing clean dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the moment, I am developping a little prototype for my gamma-study. The idea is implementing a “clean of the dishwasher“-game which provides three simple use cases to motivate me and my working mates to clean of the dishwasher:

  1. “I (x) cleaned of the dishwasher and were seen by mate y“.
  2. “I were in the kitchen and saw x cleaning of the dishwasher”.
  3. “I need to know my working mates to tell who were in the kitchen. Show me five images and let me guess who it is”.

Quite simple, but with the third use case I provide some intrinsic motivation (well at least I suppose you’d like to know names and faces you are working with) besides the motivation of getting points for guessing names and matches of first and second use case.

But when I told my boss what I wanted to do, he already interrupted at the mention of gamification. In his opinion, gamification is not compatible with our company’s philosophy because gamification “targets the manipulation of the behaviour of people” and our philosophy is very based on individual freedom and self-responsability.

This led me to tell you about…

The two sides of gamification

I think of gamification as the jedi do of the force:

There is a light side and a dark side.

Let’s start with the temptations of the dark side:

Gamification Ethics (by Kes Sampanthar)

Gamification Ethics (by Kes Sampanthar)

  • You would never do a task like this if you were not paid for.
  • Let the players feel a pressure to play or get them addicted of the game.
  • The problem you try to solve by using gamification is only a symptom of an organisational or social disease that you will never heal.
  • You just add points and badges and that’s the magic that makes everybody happy (ever heard of the Cargo Cult?)
  • Manipulation of the ethical conscience of the players.
  • Gamification for gamification and as a religion to make everyone believe in your strategy.
  • If you can think of more darkness, share your ideas by commenting here please. Thx!

Now the light side:

A powerful light shines in the dark.

A powerful light shines in the dark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • You can support the players by immediate feedback about their recent work instead of demotivating them with a “What the hell did you do?!” after two weeks of hard work.
  • You can support the players by creating a transparent skill board so that they can see, where their strengths and weaknesses are.
  • You can support the players building a team and creating a good team atmosphere by creating a transparent team-wide progress board to show them what they achieve together.
  • You can let your players elect a “senat of players” by which they can decide about changes made to the rules and game design.
  • There are transparent and precise rules and a code of conduct for both players and quest/game-designer so that you work together more transparent and objective.
  • Your players will always know what they already achieved and will be more self-confident.
  • Players can motivate themselves and support themselves reaching their aims.

Conclusion and perspective

Gamma - The light side of Gamification

Gamma – The light side of Gamification

In my opinion, the dark side is tempting because it is easier to implement and you don’t need to worry about the players, you can simply see them as a black box giving you money or work time.

But as always easy and fast success, especially if it is reached by manipulation, is not the long-term winner. So if you are really serious about gamification, please think about what players get back for investing their time in using your gamified application and stay on the light side. Never said it were easy, but your players will feel at ease and there will be a healthy, continuous progess and growth.

With gamma, I will try to implement the light side for employees, so that your boss can design a quest and by reaching a certain level, you can design quests for your colleagues. You will get skill points and experience points depending on the quests you completed and can apply for quests.

Comments and questions are appreciated very much!

Hope I can open my boss’ eyes for the light side…

And never forget: May the force be with you!