There are many mistakes that you can make in designing a gamified system. But one of the most common and the most dangerous is to forget about who the object of the system is, namely, the players. And to forget that players are people, they're human beings, they're thinking and feeling and interacting agents. And while you can anticipate, in many ways, how they're going to behave. And you can certainly anticipate the different kinds of motivational structures that might push them in one direction or another. You can never be sure what they're going to do. And in designing gamified systems, it's critical to recognize that one thing that players may do is game the system. They may turn the tables on you and do something that you never expected and never intended. Sometimes this can be dangerous, not just for you, but for them. Nicole Lazzaro, the game designer who developed the concept of four types of fun, gives a great example in her presentations which she calls gamification can kill. And the example is, the on ramp to the San Francisco Bay Bridge, maybe it's the Golden Gate Bridge. But, It's one of the bridges in San Francisco, California. And, like many urban transit systems, they have a system for pricing that's congestion based. The price goes up during rush hour to try to encourage people to go across the bridge at less busy times. So you see here at 6:59, I think this must be p.m., it's six bucks to go over the bridge but at seven, a minute later, it's only four bucks to go over the bridge. Great. Incentive system. You could call it a gamified system. You could call it behavioral economics. It certainly encourages people to drive during off hours. What's the problem? The problem, Lazzaro points out, is if you drive towards the bridge at 6:59 p.m., you will see a whole bunch of people swerving off the road. Trying to park on the side because they know that if they wait just a minute or two more to go over the bridge, it's $2 less. The problem is, what this is incentivizing people to do is, to swerve dangerously off the road in ways that might cause them to get into an accident. And so that's the point about Gamification Can Kill. We have to realize how people are going to respond to the systems. They may very well react to the prompts that are given, not necessarily in the ways that are anticipated or even too much in the way that is, that are, the ways that anticipated. And that can be dangerous. Now, one dimension of this is a recognition that sometimes people will cheat. That sometimes people will figure out a way to achieve their own aims in the system that are not the aims of the game designer. Maybe there is some flaw in the game that lets people accumulate vast numbers of points for a small amount of work. And if that option is there, many people will take it. Now, as I talked about part of what makes a game a game is that the players have to voluntarily accept the rules of the game. That often there are opportunities to cheat in the game, but we don't do them because if we do them, we're following the rules, we are not playing the game, we're just doing something else entirely. And the people around us, our opponent, the other participants won't even recognize that we're playing the game. But, in gamified systems, where we're dealing with people interacting with computer based software systems, often, even though they're in a social context, they're interacting individually. It's often easy for people to feel like the game that they're playing Is one that allows them to bend the rules or make their own rules in ways that the game designer would consider cheating. Interestingly enough, well designed games that have social elements tend to see this last, because the social pressure, whether explicit or implicit, is enough to get people not to cheat even in ways that they could. But even there, there is the potential, if the rewards are great enough or the incentive is great enough, that people may try to cut corners. And this is something that, depending on the nature of the system, maybe the game designer will just live with. Or maybe it is something that the game needs to be expressly built with the anticipation that people act that way. This is a big reason why iteration and play testing is so critical in designing games as well as an effective gamification design because you can never be sure what exactly people are going to do until you get them in and see them actually doing it. In some cases though, cheating may be a virtue, it may actually help achieve results that the game designer was thinking about. How can that be, well let me give you one example. James Gardener is an innovation designer, who now works for a company called Spigot that makes a gamified prediction market system that can be used in companies to develop innovations by creating contests where people bet real money, or virtual goods that potentially are translatable into real money, on new ideas. And he's been part of teams that had developed these types of system, in many different kinds of contexts. Originally in England. He famously developed the idea street program at the Department of Welfare and Pensions in the U.K. but before that he did it for Lloyds bank. And something interesting happened at Lloyds bank where they created an innovation market. So, this was a market place where you came up with ideas that would be helpful motivations for the bank and people could buy and sell those innovations and people could get together in teams to develop the innovation and the market would determine which were the more popular and the more successful ones. And then the company would take the most successful ones and try to implement them. And they found, in this and other cases, lots of amazing results in implementing the ideas that bubble to the top through this prediction market place. But something interesting happened at Lloyds when they applied this gamiified system, insider trading. People realized that they could find the good ideas and go and join up with those groups. And be able to buy and sell with the ideas that were rising and successful in the system. In financial markets, insider trading is a danger, it's cheating. It's a form of fraud because it's using information that you have that other people don't have, it undermines trust in the financial markets, that's a reason that's it's often prosecuted. But, in this gamified system, this kind of virtual insider trading was not about, but actually a feature, because it was a way of strengthening and growing the teams around the great ideas. And it was a way of reinforcing, providing additional signal value around the ideas that people thought had great potential. Which is what the gamified system was about. It was not about making money for people, or making money for companies that were issuing securities, it was about finding and developing great ideas, and reinforcing them. So, the gaming of the game by the participants as Gardner realized, was actually something that helped achieve that result. In all of these cases, again, the critical piece is to recognize that people will act in unpredictable, sometimes spontaneous ways in response to the signals that the system produces. And so, part of game design is building in structures that first of all ensure that those activities, if they're unanticipated, don't destroy the game. Don't create imbalances or otherwise make the game unplayable or undesirable for a large segment of the players. And ideally create systems so that they help the game. So that even though people aren't doing what the game designer expressly told them to, they're exercising their autonomy, and therefore feeling more intrinsically motivated in the activity, and doing things that get to the same result that the gamification system was originally designed to accomplish.