Gamification and the many attempts to scale and define it

Sebastian Deterding defined gamification as ‘the use of game design elements in non-game contexts’. His definition is most widely used definition. It’s often recommended by professionals and scholars as it captures ambiguity and complexities.

History of Gamification

The use of game thinking has been around for as long as man was required to formulate plans and strategies to make ends meet.

Although it’s impractical to track its origin to a fixed time and space in evolution, McGonigal was able to trace game-use in non-game context back to 546BC. Furthermore, many scientist, such as Albert Einstein, when he suggested the games are a superior form of investigations. 

Consider the following examples by Yu Kai Chou and this article published in the guardian on how video games are contributing to science, with examples.

Finding a Definition

Though Oxford dictionary condenses Gamification to;

 the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service…

…and Deterding’s definition (2011) is widely employed and accepted…

The earliest attempt to scale Gamification is seen in the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990) where he described an emerging type of engagement. According to Mihaly; 

“… during this kind of highly structured, self-motivated hard work we regularly achieve the greatest form of happiness available to human beings; intense, optimistic engagement with the world around us” – Flow 1990.

…It was not until 2002 that a solid definition manifested…

In 2002, Nick Pelling proposed the first definition, though impressive at the time, Gamification did not become a buzzword until Gartner added it to the hype cycle in 2014. Following Deterding’s contribution, there have been several attempts to claim definitive rights to Gamification.

They include;

Gullietta @UoP

Nick Pelling 2002 –  Applying game-like accelerated user interface design to make electronic transactions both enjoyable and fast.

Yu-Kai Chou 2003 – The craft of deriving all the fun and alluring elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities.

Andrzej Marczewski 2005 – The application of game metaphors to real-life tasks to influence behaviour, improve motivation and to enhance engagement.

Peter Jenkins 2010 – The use of game design metaphors to create more game-like experiences.

Sebastien Deterding 2011 – The use of game design elements in non-game contexts.

George Cotcha 2016: The concept of applying game mechanics & game design techniques to engage & motivate people to achieve their goals.

Brian Burke (Gartner) 2014 – The use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

Kevin Webarch 2010 – The use of design techniques from games in business or some other context.

Michael Wu 2015 – The use of game attributes to drive player-like behaviour in non-game context.

Karen Cham 2017 – At Gamification Europe 2017, professor Karen Cham defined gamification as a design mechanic, she said it is …

“… the implementation of game-style incentivisation mechanics, such as motivation, jeopardy and reward, into non-game environments, such as business and services, to increase engagement and/or performance – often as part of CX, UX and EX”.


How Gamification works

Gamification involves selecting from an inventory of mechanics to plan and configure a product or user journey/s. There are 13 primary game mechanics, the popular game mechanics are points, badges, levels, rewards and leaderboard.

Gamification provides several benefits; however, much depends on the mix that is used, how it’s used, and the vendor/s. Like traditional project management, it’s pivotal to investigate and seek expert advice before venturing into any Gamification project.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Introduction to market research

(1) Market penetration (2) Risk management (3) Product development (4) Market development…


We conduct more research than we are aware of. On many occasions we consult with posters, social media or ask friends and family before we purchase or recommend a product or a service.

Research at its root is all about seeking out facts and opinions to facilitate sustainable decision-making and to reverberate knowledge acquisition. When we scroll through reviews, comparing laptop capacity and prices online, we are interrogating and triangulating facts and opinions. In the article, I introduce you to the basics of market research.


Market Research

Market research is driven by curiosity, risks, uncertainty, and continuous improvements. The primary objective of any market research is to capture and understand the perspectives and behaviours of a desired target group. For instance; Have you ever been presented a questionnaire about the product or service in your regular grocery store?

Market research is the process of gathering and interpreting data about customers and competitors within an organisation’s operations grid. It aids organisation’s to understand (potential) audience behaviours and perceptions, as well as, the positioning and the impact of value proposition. Market research is carried out for one or more of the following;


(1) Market penetration

(2) Risk management

(3) Product development

(4) Market development

(5) Diversification


The end deliverable of any market research takes the form of reporting for the attention of the directorate and stakeholders, and often for or as part of the decision-making process.


Types of research and research data

The prerequisite of any research involves establishing the groups and methods of investigations. Upon planning, there are two types of data that an investigator can gather during market research – primary and secondary data.

Data is reusable, and can be gathered for different, yet, related purpose. There are two types of data collection scenarios, (1) Primary and (2) Secondary data.

Primary research requires the collection and analysis of new data and information.

Secondary research requires retrieving and working with existing data.


Data is raw facts collected for reference or analysis

— My Little Oxford Dictionary 2003


Primary data

This process of gathering first-hand information is called primary data collection. Primary data can be collected using the techniques below.

  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Observations
  • Experiments


Benefits Drawbacks
Relevant to business Time consuming
Up-to-date Expensive
Findings closed to competition Results may not be open


Secondary data

This process of gathering existing information for research is called secondary data collection. Secondary data can be collected using the techniques below.

  • Market/Research reports
  • Trade journals
  • Government statistics
  • Sales and customer records
  • Books
  • Academic and scholarly publications
  • Press releases




Swift to conduct Data may be out-of-date, not relevant
Readily available Expensive
Competition may not have access to the findings Requires interpretation and analysis
Easy to collect Pseudo-science and persuasive data


Primary and secondary data collection can be conducted online and offline or both. Depending on the research method, they can be employed simultaneously during investigations.



Quantitative research

Quantitative market research is associated with numerical data and often collected from large groups. This type of data is often collected online and offline through questionnaires.

Qualitative research

Qualitative research associates with opinions and behaviours, trend and perceptions. In my experience, the qualitative approach is fun and much more useful than the quantitative approach. It is also flexible, allowing room for in-depth investigations and triangulation.


Sampling Methods

Once data types and methods have been established, a sampling method facilitates the investigation. Sampling methods reduce the effects of the iron triangle on a research project. It is condensing the representative group into manageable chunks for eased processing.

Cluster sampling: Cluster sampling: The use of random sampling from a specific area or segment.

Convenience sampling: When the researcher relies on a group of willing volunteers. This method often results in bias.

Systematic sampling: Every nth person from the respondent group is selected. This technique can be costly if the samples are widespread and diverse.

Random sampling: Everyone in the population has an equal chance of being chosen to be in the sample.

Quota sampling: People in the sample are chosen to reflect the proportions of different groups in the target market.

Stratified sampling: Firstly, the appropriate market segment identified and recruited, following, the final sample is randomly recruited from the selection.


Final Word

Research is an important arena of human evolution. Market research is collecting data about customers, competitors and market trends for internal use. Today, we can conduct research offline and online, and there are more channels for data collection.

Market research is the first step for any business or product development. Market research assists an organisation with risks and uncertainty.


How to support a colleague with mental health

1 in 4 of us will experience a health and wellbeing issue this year. Choosing to talk health and well being can break down barriers and can change lives and improve our communities at the same time.

1. You don’t have to be an expert – Just being there means a lot. You don’t have to have all the answers.

2. Ask questions and listen – Asking questions shows that you care and want to know how someone’s really doing.

3. Keep it simple – Small actions can make a big difference. Chat over a cup of tea & biscuit, take a walk or send a text.

4. Don’t try and fix it – Resist the urge to offer fixes and solutions. Often, listening will suffice.

Starting a conversation doesn’t have to be awkward and it could make a huge difference.

Top 7 Cybersecurity risk predictions for 2021

As we approach tech-adoption maturity and the final phases of the 4th industrial evolution, Cybersecurity professionals must be deliberately pro-active and on their toes in order successful combat cyber-attacks in the new decade.

As the end of 2020 draws closer, it is imperative for both organizations and individuals alike to reflect and gear up for cybersecurity and cybercrime in the new decade. Organizations and individuals should consider new and innovative approaches, but most importantly, a pro-active and deliberate approach that’s deliberately directed to identify, capture and neutralize threats is essential. Considering the frequency and sophistication of hacking and ransomware attacks in 2019, not to mention, the pandemic and urgent adoption of remote learning by organisations around the world – skilled resources and smarter measures should be of consideration in the new decade.

For this reason, I distilled 30 independent reports dedicated to cybersecurity and I have compiled the 7 most interesting projections in this article.

Internal/External Sabotage – The global proliferation of IoT (Internet of Things) and connected devices, usage of public cloud, PaaS (Platform As A Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service) greatly facilitates business and enables rapid growth. Concomitant, and often unnoticed, is the increase in an organization’s external attack surface. As you cannot protect what you don’t know, the vast proportion of these digital assets are not properly maintained, monitored, or protected in any manner. The situation is exacerbated by rogue mobile apps, fraudulent, phishing, and squatting websites, detectable by properly implemented domain security monitoring that now starts paving its road to popularity among cybersecurity professionals. As organizations upgrade their IT and leave behind a trail of obscure digital unknowns, whether in-house or external, the easier and faster it is to break in. According to CSO Online by IDG, 61% of organizations experienced an IoT security incident in 2019.

Compliance Fatigue – The mushroomed regional, national, and transnational regulatory and political climate may exacerbate compliance fatigue among cybersecurity professionals. 2020 may just be the year when current cybersecurity compliance begins to erode and start its rapid downfall. In light of the slow judicial system on one side, and insufficient cybersecurity skills and scanty budgets on another, cybersecurity professionals may start flatly disregarding the wide spectrum of superfluous regulations. Thankfully, in the UK, GDPR data subjects are empowered with a bundle of rights to control their personal data and its life-cycle.

Third Party Breaches – In 2019, many businesses displayed a high level of proficiency and specialization by concentrating all available resources to attain excellence in a particular market, playing ti their strengths. To achieve this, they outsourced most of their secondary business processes to skilled suppliers and experienced third-parties, thereby reducing costs, increasing quality, and accelerating delivery. Cybercriminals are well aware of this low-hanging fruit and will continue to purposely target this weakest link to get your data, trade secrets, and intellectual property.

Enterprise collaboration – According to ImmuniWeb, over 21 million of valid credentials were exposed on the Dark Web in 2019. The dark web is increasingly becoming popular and fashionably lucrative for rogue individuals and criminal enterprises. In 2021, we may witness new enterprise models and ways of working via the dark web. To this end, organizations may need to invest in understanding the dark web, and counter and mobile-based applications that deter or directly attack cyber-threats.

The Cloud – In July 2019, the world media reported a breach of Capital One, being presumably the largest data breach within the US financial sector and affecting approximately 100 million individuals in the United States and 6 million in Canada. Reportedly, the attacker exploited a mis-configured AWS S3 bucket to download extremely sensitive data that was left unattended. There are already signs that suggest that cloud mis-configuations will expose millions of records in 2020 and beyond. In 2020 and the foreseeable future, cloud security incidents will stay atop of data breach root causes. Furthermore, we are yet to experience an attack on the cloud providers and applications such as One Drive and Google Drive and many trusted brands for that matter. Will cybercriminals exploit this trust in 2021?

Password reuse and Phishing – Even if the passwords found or purchased by the attackers on the Dark Web are invalid, they provide a great wealth of ideas for ingenious social engineering campaigns, facilitate phishing and smart brute-forcing attacks. There are already creative and innovative methods being exploited within certain industries, e.g. fingerprint scan, and facial and voice recognition. But, even if many organizations finally managed to implement a consumable Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems, with strong password policies, MFA, and continuous monitoring for anomalies, few external systems are included in the safeguarded scope. Such grey-zone systems range from SaaS CRM and ER Such grey-zone systems range from SaaS CRM and ERP to elastic public cloud platforms. According to DBIR, phishing was responsible for 32% of data breaches and 78% of cyber espionage in 2019.

Ecommerce and targeted-ransomware – According to IBM, the average time to identify a breach in 2019 was as high as 206 days. Still, even worse, such attacks are infrequently detected both due to their sophistication and lack of skills amid the victims, eventually being suddenly reported by security researchers or journalists and flabbergasting the data owners. 2021 will see a significant increase in organized ransomware activities under the umbrella some sort of support or professional service. They are often deployed through Trojans (through an email attachment) and they are extremely difficult to detect or prepare for.

History has shown that the period from the moment when an attack is launched to until when it is detected has the most devastating impact. Organizations and individuals should consider new and innovative approaches, but most importantly, a pro-active disposition, deliberately directed to identify, capture and neutralize cyber-threats before manifestation.

3Ps for powering up action in small communities

In the article, I discuss 3Ps framework for powering community action and how I used the 3-step change framework to support charities and community organizations at Southwark’s Brandon Estate.

Power Up People and Businesses: is about building digital confidence, so that people are motivated to learn and keep on learning, and apply digital skills efficiently in daily life and work.

Power Up Provision: is about improving what is already offered by embedding digital into existing programmes, so that digital literacy and skills is not silo-d and continuous learning is nurtured.

Power Up Places: is about connecting community organizations, service providers and others to provide individuals and businesses with the a collaborative atmosphere. Digital inclusion has proven to be a viable catalyst for local economy development.

[Good Things Foundation & J.P Morgan, 2019]



P.U.P & Brandon Estate

Brandon Estate is a social housing estate in Southwark, south London. The estate is situated to the south of Kennington Park – it sits between Oval and Walworth road. The estate was built in 1958 by the London County Council.

1. Powering Up People – UNFREEZE

Mobile tutoring & Get Online Week 2018:

  • I joined the UK’s flagship Online Centres Network in 2018
  • I initiated new mobile tutoring based on data and concrete evidence
  • I drove interest and awareness by integrating with Voicebox Cafe
  • I formed strategic alliances with a local charity, a local business and the local library to unite mobile learners at the library for Get online week 2018

2. Powering Up Provision – TRANSFORM

Introducing new organization to Online Centres Network:

  • I removed existing silo walls by negotiating and introducing a new umbrella brand and supporting board
  • I united another local business and Latin America People’s Disabled Project (LADPP) with existing alliance to execute an integrated Get Online Week 2019
  • I introduced Rachel Leigh Community hall to the UK’s flagship Online Centres Network

3. Powering Up Places – REFREEZE

Get Online Week 2019:

  • I coordinated the new centre’s transition with the sectors dedicated network specialist
  • I recruited volunteers and initiated digital champions training for the new centre – Rachel Leigh Centre
  • I handed-over the new centre to the capable hands of Rachel Leigh and new digital champions