So, why should we study gamification? Maybe I should ask you that, after all of you signed up for this course, but it's worth pausing for a minute and asking the question of why this is worth the kind of extended analysis that we're going to do in this class, because its, its just games, right? Well, there are four reasons I think the systematic study of gamification is fruitful. And we're going to see more and more gamification being a regular subject that's taught about, both in, training context and in, university educational context. The first of these is that gamification is a significant emerging business practice. We're seeing lots and lots of examples come up from many different kinds of companies as well as in non-business context where gamification is being applied. So here's just a couple examples from, the recent press. An article from Fortune magazine from October 2011. Talking about gamification as the hot new business concept, and while I certainly wouldn't say just follow something because it's a hyped trend the important thing is many of them world's most admired companies are starting to get on board with this. It's not just something that's happening among kooky startups. It's something that's being adopted by very large, established companies. The second article here from the Wall Street Journal talking about how a growing number of firms are incorporating elements of video games into the work place. So video games, as I'll talk about in more detail, have become a huge and influential industry. But what we're starting to see is more and more examples of video games being the foundation, not just for selling games, but for the foundation of doing things at and around the workplace. So gamification is something that is happening, and as I said, it's happening very widely. So here is a list of a few of the companies that are applying gamification in substantial ways. And as you'll see, they range from small very technology focused startups, to big very consumer products focused, established, bricks and mortar companies. And some of these are companies that went out consciously and tried to implement gamification around one of their business practices, and some of them are companies that just developed something, that in hindsight was game like, and they just, thought it was a good way to attack a particular problem they had. But in both cases when we look at what's happening out there, there's a growing recognition that this set of techniques has value, and it has value in a, a very broad set of circumstances. The second reason to think that gamification is worth, greater scrutiny is that games are powerful things. We've probably all had the experience of saying wow, I was really addicted to that game or, you know, time just seemed to fly by. And maybe it's a video game, maybe you had that experience with a, a board or a card game. Maybe you had that experience playing sports. But games have a real pull on us. There's something that is extremely powerful when we think about it, given that we think of them as experiences that are done just for enjoyment. So what is it that makes games engaging? What is it that allows games to support sophisticated kinds of thinking and learning, as we'll see? What is it about games, that makes them so engaging? That's an important question to ask. And it's a question that gets asked about, among the community of people who study games in their own right, but it's a question that becomes relevant when the games are being used, or at least the game elements and design principles are being used in these non-game contexts, it's worth starting to dig down and say just what is it about games that's so significant? The third reason to study gamification is because it teaches us things about other areas of knowledge as well. So, as we'll see when we get into gamification, we're going to very quickly get into psychology. Games have been around throughout all of human history because they link to some very basic aspects of the way our minds work. And so to understand how to design things that are effectively gamified, we need to understand about, for example, motivation. What is it that makes someone want to do something? What are different kinds of motivation? And what are different techniques that can be used to help people achieve their goals? So we'll learn about psychology. We'll also learn about design. As I've already talked about, gamification is a design practice. So understanding how to do it necessarily gets us into thinking about the very sophisticated complex world of design. strategy, I teach it at business school. And understanding gamification in the organization ties into lots of things that people here talk about in understanding how to do business, understanding what it means to lead in the workplace, understanding what it means to design an effective marketing campaign. These are all areas of knowledge that we're going to bring to bear in understanding what makes gamification work. And finally technology. games, as I've said, have been around forever, and many games don't involve any specificated technology, but the ability of today's network information technology to create rich immersive personalized experiences and to track interactions in real time, and aggregate and analyze them, and make use of them is incredibly powerful when applied to gamification. So, most of the examples that we're going to see are going to be examples in the world of online activities, whether online services or technology start-ups the gamification is applied in a digital, internet-based context, and so understanding what it is about that environment that makes gamification successful will provide a window into understanding aspects of technology as well. And the final reason that we should study gamification is that it's not that easy. It's not that obvious. Once you understand what gamification is, you may think great, so I see that Nike plus uses challenges and awards and trophies to get people to do stuff, well I'll just put some challenges and trophies in my business practice, and people will flock to it. Turns out, it's not that easy. Turns out that doing gamification well, doing gamification ethically, doing gamification in a way that fits in with your ultimate long term business objectives is not trivial. It requires thought, it requires recourse through those various different areas of knowledge that I talked about, and so this is something that we can't just give you a cookbook. I can't just say, here's the list of game elements, have at them. You need to understand them within a broader context and that's exactly what this course is intended to provide.