Your business model is being disrupted…

Most companies don’t realize it yet, but their business model is being corrupted… disrupted. Competitors come from area’s you would never expect them to come from. Hotels nowadays compete with private homes that are rented out through Air BNB, the taxi industrie compete with people driving people in their privately owned cars. Will energy companies soon loose their business to private energy providers? What can companies and their employees do to stop being a victim of continuous change and the accelerating speed of it…? How can you become a game changer like – for instance – Red Bull was in the nineties? There is a simple five-step program for that, which supports continuous change (or progress as I call it).

It all starts with exploring your current business playground and recognizing the most important (potential) players… Once you know who will play a role on your playground, you can uncover if their influence is growing or declining and whether that is good or bad. What you then do in detail will be explained in our GameStorm Trooper training on 13 & 14 September. The next steps are: determine the…

  1. Purpose of the most important players and define how your organization can contribute to that
  2. Players: who are they? And what drives their actions? In other words, what do they want, know, able to and dare to do on the professional playground?
  3. Proces: which key processes determine your progressive growth (or decline) in other words: which actions can lead to synergy regarding your turn-over and costs.
  4. Performance: how well do you do? Versus competitors, versus last years, versus your power?
  5. Play: last but not least: if you underperform as an organization? How can you change the way people work, or actually: how can employees change their way of working?

The answer lies in the GameStorm methodology that I developed in 2012, which has been played by over 1.000 professionals since then. It helps companies to support employees to continuous change their routine in a fun and functional manner. Change is inevitable but often perceived as annoying. Therefore we make it fun to start with (and effective in the long run). The GameStorm uses game mechanics that make most games so addictive, like setting a goal, defining obstacles, providing players with dilemma’s (they have to make choices), voting on actions and calculating the impact of their old and new behavior. The GameStorm helped over 100 companies to transform their challenges into change and create perpetual progress by executing it each fiscal quarter. If you want to know how we do this, join the Gamification Academy and get an official certificate and start playing around with problems! More information can be found here.

 

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Afraid to be disrupted? Organize for flexibility!

About the necessary transformation from organizational pyramids to processing power for similar purposes… 

 social-pyramid-ancient-egypt 

I was doing research for my new book ‘Playing on the job’ (working title) when I stumbled upon this picture of how a kingdom worked in the middle ages and concluded that this is actually how a lot of organizations (and countries) still work. Where a pyramid is actually a solid structure that can last for centuries – as an organizational structure it is far from ideal. For some reason we just never seem to have found an alternative in the past centuries and even decades. One of the main reasons for this is the internal obstacles that need to be overcome… The most dominant obstacles I discovered during my research are: 

  1. organizational structure 
  2. systems / software 
  3. lack of support (from either management or employees) to change, often caused by the ruling company culture. 

Why organizational change is so hard to achieve is that in most cases the current structure is perceived as solid and the software and systems (compliance, legal, business rules, KPI’s) keep the structure in it’s place. If not the structure and systems, the lack of support ensures that the desired change will actually never take place. You could say that change will never happen if the culture doesn’t allow it to happen. 

Inspired by games and game mechanics I’ve come up with a new structure that might help organizations to transform, continuously and infinitely. It all starts with defining the purpose on different levels: 

  1. Purpose or mission for the entire organization 
  2. Objective for a business unit or department 
  3. Goals for individual business leaders, managers or category members 
  4. Challenges for employees 

We often see that different departments have different KPI’s. If you create islands in your organization and hold them accountable for different KPI’s they will never work together, let alone help each other to achieve those challenges, goals or objectives. If you make all departments responsible for the same / similar goals they most likely will help each other…

During my years in advertising we developed a lot of ‘brand books’ explaining the brand values and positioning of a particular company or brand. Of course it also described the purpose (or mission) of the company. What we never did was explaining how these values or how the main purpose could work or how they were relevant for individual departments or employees. The main thing that drives people in life is purpose, often fueled by curiosity and lust for more… (better, faster, stronger).

model_3.5

So a pyramid is an excellent structure in terms of building a long lasting organization, given that you align purpose with objectives, goals and challenges. However to overcome those challenges and to be able to achieve the set goals and objectives, a pyramid is terrible structure to work with. Especially in this digital age where the internet and international scale of the economy forces organizations to become more agile, lean and responsive a new way of ‘organizing’ is needed. So how can you organize for flexibility? 

Inspired by games I came up with the following evolution which could lead to a revolution in your organization and help you to withstand disruption. Instead of working in a hierarchic structure, managers (and employees) should work around in a processes that supports the purpose in the pyramid. So to organize for flexibility companies should transform from a hierarchic / pyramid structure to a process oriented structure. I gave an example below for the sales process.

 model_1.7

A CEO wants to have happy clients. This can be achieved by building an appealing brand (C), which is the CMO’s task. To be able to build a strong brand and make clients happy, the company needs to have the right information about the clients needs and whereabouts (i). If that is all in place, the Chief Commercial Officer can sell the right, relevant products to the right clients within the right context (time and place) through the right channels.
Instead of communicating these KPI’s in a hierarchic way (top down), you should look for the interdependent relationship of these KPI’s as a process. In other words: how can an appealing brand gather information on and create customer insights that lead to better products and eventually more sales? Instead of rewarding departments for individual objectives, you can reward all contributors to the process equally for their efforts or effect on the process.

If you want me to explain how this could work for your organization, send an email to Bart at BrandNewGame (dot com  ;-).

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Twitch: gamers watching gamers playing games

Dota 2 Tournament finals In the year 2000, being a product manager at Atari (formally know as Infogrames) I organized one of the first online game competitions in the Benelux with a real-life finale called ‘Gamer of the Year’. Thanks to the support of Clanbase we managed to start with an on-line competition amongst players of Unreal Tournament – one of the games in my portfolio. After the on-line pre-rounds, we held a grand finale in Antwerp, sponsored by Diesel and Red Bull, for the 64 best players in the Benelux. I never expected that e-sports would take off after that – and for a long time – it actually didn’t. Sure, there were a lot of tournaments going on on-line and offline (LAN-Parties) using games like Quake, Unreal Tournament, Counter Strike and later Call of Duty, but never on a global scale and with the financial support it deserved. Since 2013 however, this all changed. I guess it all accelerated thanks to  Twitch.tv founded in 2011.
Twitch is an online streaming video service where gamers can watch gamers playing games. To be honest I never saw the fun in that, but nowadays it is so popular that Twitch is in the Top 10 websites responsible for the most data traffic in the world, alongside Amazon, Facebook and Google… The first company – Amazon – bought Twitch recently for a little under ONE BILLION DOLLARS ! Can you imagine that a video streaming service, launched four years ago has generated so much interest in four years time that it is worth that much money?! How much is one billion dollars spread over four years of days or hours…? Well… it’s $ 694.444,- per day… Or a little under $ 30.000 per hour in the past four years. So Twitch is huge – and online gaming is huge. Games like Candy Crush (less hardcore than Call of Duty maybe), are being played by 50 million people on Facebook – and by estimate – another 50 million people play it on their mobile phones. A game like DOTA2 (more hardcode than Candy Crush 😉 is being played by one million gamers every day. Defense of the Alliance 2, originally a modification for Warcraft 3 is a favorite amongst gamers that participate in competitions. Why don’t you take a wild guess, how much prize money was available in 2015 during the finals of a DOTA2 competition in China. I will state the answer below – not to spoil your fun of guessing. The winning team ‘Evil Geniuses’ (from the USA) left the battle field with more than six million dollars to give you a feeling about the seriousness of playing games as e-sports athlete these days. Companies often ask if gaming is big – and how big it is. Well, if I tell you that the average football players in Europe earn less than three million if you play in the Premier League (UK) and a meagre €300.000 in The Netherlands… you might want to switch to playing digital games… The total prize money of the finals of The International 2015 was 18 million dollars. Apart from the money, the fanbase is so involved and committed that cinema’s organize live finals where gamers gather to view their heroes! Will that be the future of cinema’s…? Proving a theater for watching gamers playing games…? It just might…

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Presentations – upcoming Q4 2015

For all you globetrotters that want to meet me in person, here’s a quick overview of upcoming events where I will talk about my biggest hobby: games in relationship with brand- / marketing- and (change) management.

Bart Hufen tijdens Creative Trends 2011Join me on the following dates in the following locations for a sneak preview about me new book:

Adfolive (NL) : 15-9 2015 workshop Gamification (closed session)

University of Amsterdam (NL): 23-9 2015 workshop setting goals for serious games (closed session)

University of Amsterdam (NL): 7-10 2015 workshop project management & production of serious games (closed session)

Amsterdam Dance Event ADE (NL): 15-10 2015:  moderating a panel session about music for games and other media (open session)

Bosnia Agile Day (Sarajevo): 17-10-2015 presentation how game mechanics can help companies to become more agile (open session)

Agile in Africa (Ghana – Accra): presentation how game mechanics can help companies to become more agile (open session)

Inzet op maat (NL): 3-11-2015 presentation and sharing successes of recent projects (open session)

WEKA HR Strategie (NL): 11-11 2015 presentation and sharing successes of recent projects (two open sessions)

HRM & het onderwijs (NL): 17-11 2015 presentation and sharing successes of recent projects (open session)

HR Goes digital (NL): 19-11 2015 presentation and sharing successes of recent projects (open session)

 

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Q&A With Jane McGonigal

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) interviewed researcher, game designer and author Jane McGonigal. Her newest book, “SuperBetter,” which releases September 15, explores a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways games—including video games, sports and puzzles—change how people respond to stress, challenges and pain and how to cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting what McGonigal calls a more gameful mindset. Read the interview below – with a big thanks to ESA for sharing! 

  1. Please briefly introduce yourself and your work.

janeI’m a researcher, author and game designer who has spent the past 15 years trying to prototype and provide scientific evidence for the ways in which games can help us become the best versions of ourselves: happier, braver, more resilient, better problem-solvers and better allies to our friends and family.

Most recently, my work has focused on how games can improve mental and physical health. There’s a rapidly growing body of evidence in the scientific literature that ordinary video games can be a powerful tool for treating depression, anxiety and even chronic pain. I’ve spent the past five years researching this topic – I’ve read literally more than 1,000 studies in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and medicine.

Now, I’m publishing my “SuperBetter” book to help get this entire, emerging field of research into the hands of the game-playing public and also game developers. I want the public to understand how video games can be played with purpose – that is, with the knowledge that you’re not just having fun, but you’re also developing important psychological resources, like creativity, determination, optimism, curiosity and resilience in the face of setbacks. And I want game developers to understand how to make games that bring even more of these benefits to their players.

  1. How did you first become interested in working with video games?

That’s a very long story that starts with me researching and making games as a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, although I guess it starts even earlier, when I was 10 years old and designed my first video game with ASCII art on a Commodore 64 computer.

But the really pivotal experience for me, more recently, in guiding me to the work I’m doing today was the mild traumatic brain injury that I suffered in 2009. Thirty-four days after the injury, I decided to try to bring my game designer skills to the problem, and I invented a game to help my brain heal and to deal with the severe depression and anxiety.

That has been a real turning point in my game development career, as that game (SuperBetter) has now been used by half a million people to improve their mental and physical health and has created some amazing research opportunities for me with organizations like the National Institutes of Health. All of this has convinced me that game design is going to be one of the most important areas of research and discovery in medicine and clinical psychology over the next decade.

  1. What excites you most in your day-to-day job?

Data! Scientific data is what excites me. Every time a new study on the real-life impact of gameplay comes out, I devour it.

Even more exciting is doing original research and seeing the results. For example, with SuperBetter, we’ve done two major studies so far. First, a randomized, controlled study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that playing SuperBetter for 30 days significantly reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, and increases optimism, social support and players’ self-confidence. The study also found that people who followed the SuperBetter rules for one month were significantly happier and more satisfied with their lives.

More recently, a clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Ohio State University Medical Research Center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that the SuperBettergame improves mood, decreases anxiety and suffering, and strengthens family relationships during traumatic brain injury rehabilitation and recovery. Honestly, there is nothing more exciting than getting solid scientific evidence that a game you’ve made is changing people’s lives and helping them get happier and healthier from extremely difficult challenges.

Note from myself: It is interesting to see that Jane is addressing the four quadrants I always use to determine our key drives for game design: physical, mental, emotional and social elements. You can find them in the handouts (slide 34) for the Gamification Workshop presentation on this page. Of course these are based on the Insights model, which are based on Quinn… But I guess we – as human beings – are always looking for rational (mental), physical, emotional (social) and spiritual challenges: or active and passive events. Often spiritual is left out in favor of social. Maybe social can be the opposite of spiritual? Spiritual meaning: inside my mind, where as social means: outside my mind in interaction with others…?

Superbetter schema

  1. Where do you see video games in 10 years? What broader applications across society can we expect in games’ future?

A decade from now, ordinary video games will be understood as an important tool in creating mental health and well-being. I forecast with very high confidence that games will be used to treat depression, anxiety, pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a complement to, or in many cases be prescribed in lieu of, pharmaceutical treatment.
Note from myself: Obviously Jane is talking about serious games here. Since 2010 we have published a lot of serious games in for companies like Foot Locker Europe and NN Global. Unfortunately we cannot disclose all of our projects online, but the ones we are allowed to talk (and write) about can be found on our project page.

  1. What is your favorite video game and why?

I’ll go with the scientific literature here again, and say that Tetris has been the most extensively studied game for accomplishing everything from preventing flashbacks after witnessing a trauma – so it could be used as a cognitive vaccine against PTSD; to reducing cravings for cigarettes and junk food by 25 percent – so it can be used as a tool in behavior change and fighting addiction; to creating the same blood flow patterns in the brain as meditation – so it can be used to improve attention and improve the body’s ability to recover from stress.

Everyone should have Tetris on their phone. We should have PSAs explaining how to use it for all of these benefits. And I’m ready to give Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov the Nobel Prize in Games.

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Six years of BrandNewGame

While E3 is taking place in LA at this moment, our silly little company BrandNewGame celebrates its sixth anniversary tomorrow. We’ve evolved from a one-man band in 2009 to a one-man one girl duo in 2015, with almost 18 people surrounding us, divided in two companies, to produce the great projects we deliver for our clients. So a big thanks to Today who takes care of the design side of things and to Weirdbeard who develop our ideas technically (programming and game design stuff).

The past six years have been a rollercoaster for me from starting from scratch (literally) writing a book about how you can use games as a branding and marketing tool in 2010 (free download still at www.brandnewplayground.com) to talking during SXSW with Suvi Helminen, meeting Ahmet Akdag in Istanbul where we organize our Gamification Workshops and launching our GameStorm – change management game – at Foot Locker Europe with 800 store managers in four different cities (unfortunately I cannot disclose anything about that). I hope you find all our updates useful!

Anyway I would just like to say THANK YOU to all the people that made our success possible, both partners and clients. We would never have succeeded without you!

Let’s continu to Play for Progress!

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Friday Fun: Tetra Pac-Man

Okay, so it’s Friday… and for me Friday is about FUN…

There’s a lecture about packaging design net week in Utrecht and one of my partners said that the guy that would present there is a real ‘Tetra pak man”… so I’d thought I’d search for a nice pic for that name: Tetra Pac-Man and this is what came up… thanks for creating it, creator…

Tetra Pac Man_905

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Applied games for the eldery @ Master of Applied Games studies

In January 2015 I managed the ‘practical assignment’ for the master of applied games at the University of Amsterdam (department of Game Studies). The subject that was chosen by the university was to ‘develop an applied game for elderly to overcome the negative effects of social isolation’. Most students did really well. After the grading, there was one student that sent us the video below to give his opinion about the assignment…. It made us laugh…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-gmSucf_yQ

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Project Morpheus: blue pill or red pill?

 

Sony has just published its latest press release regarding “Project Morpheus” and it has set ‘the Internet’ on fire. The virtual reality battle is starting to heat up, with supporters defending both Oculus Rift (PC) and Project Morpheus (Playstation 4). Who will be the winner will be interesting of course, but what has our curiosity here at BrandNewGame is how the rise of Virtual Reality projects will affect Serious Gaming for commercial businesses. To be continued..

 

Sony-Project-Morpheus-image-0011

PERSBERICHT

Tokyo, March 4, 2015

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT UNVEILS THE NEW PROTOTYPE OF “PROJECT MORPHEUS” – A VIRTUAL REALITY SYSTEM THAT EXPANDS THE WORLD OF PLAYSTATION®4 (PS4™)

New Prototype Enables Developers To Immerse Players in Amazing Virtual Worlds
Project Morpheus To Launch In The First Half of 2016

At the 2015 Game Developers Conference held in San Francisco, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) unveiled the new prototype of “Project Morpheus” (Morpheus) – a virtual reality (VR) system that takes the PlayStation®4 (PS4™) system to the next level of immersion and demonstrates the future of gaming.

Morpheus enables players to experience a sense of presence, where they feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game. This unique VR experience was met with huge interest and industry enthusiasm since the unveil of Morpheus in March 2014. Over the past year SCE has been listening to feedback from both developers and consumers, and has made several enhancements that will further the capability of Morpheus to deliver a sense of presence and push the boundaries of play.

OLED display
In exchange for the 5-inch LCD, the new Morpheus VR headset is equipped with a 5.7-inch 1920 x RGB x 1080 resolution OLED display. This new screen expands the field of view and enables low persistence, removes motion blur and flicker, both of which build immersion and help deliver the sense of presence for the player.

120fps output
By adopting OLED, Morpheus now supports 120fps output, and is able to render 120 images per second. Furthermore, via a system software update, all PS4 systems will handle native 120fps output when connected to Morpheus. By combining the OLED display’s high refresh rate and the power of the PS4 system, Morpheus produces amazingly smooth visuals and achieves the next level of immersion.

More accurate tracking and reduced latency
To make positional tracking more accurate with PlayStation®Camera, the new prototype has added three more LEDs to the headset for a total of nine. Morpheus continues to support 360 degree tracking, and additional LEDs improve robustness and stability. Additionally, the overall system has been optimized to reduce latency between the physical movement of a player’s head and rendering on the headset’s screen.

User-friendly design
While inheriting the original visor style headset design that reduces the pressure on the players’ face, the new Morpheus prototype features a single band and a quick release button, which makes it easier for players to put it on and take it off. Other components have also been adjusted and configured to make the headset lighter, so that players do not find the headset cumbersome or uncomfortable to use.
Developers will be able to use the new prototype to create Morpheus content for PS4, a robust and well-defined platform that has sold over 20.2 million units*1 within 16 months of its launch. In addition to the enhancements, the new prototype will continue to support 3D audio and social screen, a feature that outputs the same gameplay that’s within the Morpheus headset to a TV so additional players can interact. Furthermore, SCE will provide an SDK that converts 60fps images to output in 120fps, which will allow developers to bring their content that was being developed on the prior prototype to the new Morpheus prototype.

SCE will continue the development of Morpheus in order to launch as a consumer product in the first half of 2016.

“With the technical specs achieved on the new prototype, we are one step closer to realizing our vision for making amazing VR experiences on PS4, and ultimately to deliver a real sense of presence to players,” said Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios. “We believe that the near-final technology of Morpheus combined with the power of PS4 will provide a standard for game developers to target as they build on their creative ideas and turn them into VR games and experiences.”

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