Agile Atelier

Episode 18: Gamification and Product Development with Yu-kai Chou

I am absolutely thrilled to bring you this episode with one of the foremost gamification experts in the world, Yu-kai Chou. Yu-kai is an author and international keynote speaker on Gamification and Behavioral Design. He is the original creator of the Octalysis Framework, and the author of Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. He has been a regular speaker on gamification worldwide, including at organizations like Google, Stanford University, LEGO, Tesla, TEDx, and Boston Consulting Group, just to name a few. His work has affected over 1 billion users’ experiences across the world. He has helped a variety of companies, from seed stage startups to Fortune 500 companies such as LEGO, Uber, eBay, Verizon, and more. His work has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, PBS, NBC, and many more.

In this episode, we start by talking about the basics of gamification, systems thinking as alluded to in Safi Bahcall’s Loonshots, and what is the gamification process and how it’s similar to that of product development. We touch on different theories and models such as the Kano model for product development, the Loss Aversion theory by Daniel Kahnemann in Thinking, Fast and Slow, black hat vs white hat motivations, and the self-determination theory that Daniel Pink alluded to in his book Drive. Yu-kai does an excellent job of amalgamating these theories into practices that individuals and organizations can put into action. We wrap up this episode by talking about what it means to be ethical in the gaming industry and what gamification has taught Yu-kai about building better products.

During this episode, Yu-kai recommended Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is broken. We also touched on Octalysis Prime, and Yu-kai’s TEDx talk on Gamification. You can connect with Yu-kai on Twitter, LinkedIn, and on his website.

Yu-kai’s Octalysis model
Episode 18: Gamification and Product Development with Yu-kai Chou

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Each game is like a petri dish of hundreds of thousands or hundreds of millions of test subjects that all voluntarily are changing their behavior based on the [game] design.


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