Starting the Game

A good game always starts with an epic calling. And why should it be different in my case. One day I went into the library at our university and there it was smiling into my face. Yellow and brand new – Jane McGonigals “Reality is broken” crossed my way while my industrial design studies. It was more than just crossing my way. Do you know that special feeling, when you think “That’s it!” you don’t know why, but you KNOW you need to find out why there is this spark, that hint of something great! So I did.

After I red it, there was this question in my head “When games would enrich our lives, could the creative design process as well be enriched with game?” I was so into this question, I needed to know what is behind this game thing. I found a colleague and good friend of mine who was willing to tackle the challenge with me. Her name is Elisa Eichner and I am a big fan of her. So we began…



I believe in the creative approach, of being creative within collaborative thoughts and people – a world of inspiration and passion – as a designer we tend to forget, that there is always somebody who is the specialist in something and may know it better. We create for others, not for us. As a designer, we design things, we know the process – and we need others to help us to create this. It doesn’t matter if you work in an agency, in a huge institution or if you are studying: different characters coming together to create something ‘NEW’. They are expected to deliver creative solutions at the push of a button – being creative as a business model. Creativity is not something that will happen by pushing some fancy red mostly roundish thing, it is hard work and it is a process. As I mentioned in the article Creativity & Innovation, creativity is more than just one idea. One big part of our project deals with the co-creation and participatory design approach and the power of shared thoughts.

Actually games are not that different to our daily lives as we may think. And yes, there is somehow a secret behind gamification and games, play and design – it is (hard) fun. Gamers show motivation, persistence and creativity while solving the tasks, called quests, they have to solve while their journey. After doing so, they will receive direct feedback on their performance, that trigger various feelings and will motivate the gamer even more to go further the process. Game provide people the frame, in which they can experiment, where they could create a new of their own – they can explore and learn new things freely. Games even encourage us to work together with others – sometimes total strangers. In games people have to couple up and work together to get things done. Everybody needs to fill in the role he choosen in the game with all his talents and skills. One of our questions we wanted to tackle was, how to encourage people to take part in something? How to keep them and what is behind that secret golden “Motivation Door”?

In games we are free, we are creative, we solve problems –
So what makes games so different, what is
the secret behind gamification and is there one?

Our inspiration were (online) role play games, which trigger emotions, especially intrinsic motivation. The latter rarely getting triggered in our daily or work lives, however they are so important for the design process itself.

Unfortunately we are missing out the most
of this stuff in our daily lives – while work
and as well in personal issues.

But why we thought game could enrich the design process? Innovation and design processes are so similar to the gameplay process. In the both cases people are coming together with different backgrounds, various fields of expertise and cultural influences. They tackle a question, a task, together and try to find a solution for it. We all work for companies, which want to develop and hold talents like us and engage them to getting experts in our fields and deliver good work. In business world we tend to forget, that there is not one system of innovation, it is a huge ecosystem with a lot to consider by implementing such in a company – gamification can be one way.

It is important not just to implement one little aspect into a innovation process, like doing a innovation workshop, it is indispensable to think of the whole process or sequence trough the journey of a product, work life, service, etc. I know that sounds much an huge – but as I will post more about Elisas and my journey you will understand why the aspect of a holistic approach is so important. We will touch performance studies, positive psychology, cognitive processes, enthnology and many other topics.

So let’s play – and change this.

What I will write about is as well written in a more detailed way in our book Co[LAB] – Co for Collaboration and LAB for Laboratory and the [] to visualize the frame we set with game. As in our book, I will write about Theorems.

Theorem I:
The two sides or: Game is development and restriction

Theorem II:
Generation [∆] or: todays ambivalent generation

 – Play & Humans

 – Generations in change

 – How game changes us

 – Generation ∆: Conclusion

Theorem III:
The sense behind game or: play isn’t insignificant

 – What is game?

 – Work & Game

 – Game forms

 – Culture & Play

Theorem IV:
The Nonsense of play or: Game as means to an end

 – Means to an end

 – The Darkside of Gamification

Theorem V:
Design process [∆] or: Play & Game is creation

 – Creation a process

 – Method & Methodology

 – Design Thinking

 – Co-Creation vs. User Centric Design

 – Crowdsourcing

 – The Disney Method

 – Creating viewpoints

 – Let ideas grow

 – Storytelling

 – Companies & Ways of Innovation

 – Design process: Conclusion

Theorem VI:
Neurobiology and positive psychology or: Playing games makes happy and confident

 – The motivation

 – Learning & Creativity

Theorem VII:
Performativity or: the power of change

 – The power of change

Theorem IV:
Alternate Reality Game: [ARG] or: how games increases quality of life

 – What is a ARG & how we see it

 – ARG and crowdsourcing

How we see the world:
Our definition of Gamification or: how we see game

So follow me on my journey trough the gamification world – let’s play!

Thanks for reading — I’m Jasmin Deniz Karatas. I’m a Strategic Designer & Gamifier.

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Also published on Medium.