The Future of Creativity and Innovation is Gamification: Gabe Zichermann at TEDxVilnius



good morning everybody I'm Gabe Zimmerman and I want to start off by introducing you since we've been talking about so many extraordinary young kids I want to introduce you to a perfectly ordinary young boy his name is Griffin Sanders and he's a ten year old kid and last summer Griffin like so many other perfectly normal ten year old kids went out for Drive with his 74 year old great-grandmother and four-year-old brother in the suburbs of Denver and they were on the freeway on the highway they were out he was super excited about you know maybe going to get an ice-cream or buying a new toy and as their car got up to about a hundred kilometers an hour on the highway Griffin's great-grandmother had a heart attack and passed out behind the wheel and after quickly trying to revive his great-grandmother as their vehicle slowly slid into oncoming traffic Griffin did what of course any perfectly normal ten-year-old kid would do he grabbed control of the car and safely executed a maneuver where he put the car through oncoming traffic into the side of the road saving the lives of his great-grandmother his four-year-old brother and all the other drivers on the road and the police turned to Griffin this perfectly normal ten-year-old kid and said how did you do this and he said mariokart with the answer and he thought it was actually like a test from inside the game and this is amazing right we're looking at this unbelievable kind of new creativity this new innovative view of the world if we took a step back and went back to sort of the beginning of civilization and we asked what is creativity our view of creativity was always so grounded this idea that people who are creative were highly intelligent and probably quite privileged right they had access to things that other people didn't and as time moved on we started to see the creative person is also being a little bit crazy and measuring the quality of their creativity not only by the things that they produce but also by the quantity of things that they produced so a sort of prolific nature was meaningful and important as we entered the Industrial Revolution we also start to see the creative person as having a unique methodology and I think this as well with the idea of industrialization that it wasn't just the output but the process that makes a creative person interesting and towards the latter half of that time period we also started to do things like count the economic value of the creativity that people produced the more that it was worth the more creative and more interesting the person would be and that also being good at creativity and innovation meant beating other people but I would posit that we've entered a new era of creativity and innovation we've turned some corner we're in a new period of time and in this new period of time let's be honest all the easy problems have been solved if we are to take society from where it is now to where it needs to go it to be creative and innovative we've got to think about creativity through a different prism it needs to be social it needs to be something that amplifies each one of us individually but it also needs to be democratic because the next great ideas won't just come from the privileged few from the crazy from the people with methodology they will come from each and every one of us and collectively transform the world that we live in this is also combined with an idea called fluid intelligence which is the thing that Griffin was demonstrating it's our ability to come up with new ideas on-the-fly to think our way out of problems to be innovative in the moment these two things these ideas put together I think are being driven largely being expressed powerfully through the concept of games and it's not just games like Minecraft that forty million kids are so are playing I'm sure some of you or some of your children actually play but it's the broader context because it's not just what they're playing it's also how much they're playing and what that play does to their brains so one of the reasons why games are so powerful why they have such an effect on us is a concept called intrinsic reinforcement and here's how it works anytime you challenge yourself to something anything at all it doesn't matter how big or how small and then you achieve that thing your brain secretes a magical little bit of dopamine which is a pleasurable chemical feels really good right so challenge achievement that feels good now it turns out that a researcher a neuropsychologist named Ian Robertson is also coined this concept called the winner effect so the more you do this challenge achievement pleasure loop the more dopamine and testosterone is secreted in your brain the more you want to do it so the more you succeed the more you want to succeed and that dopamine testosterone changes the way our brains are actually structured so people who go through these gaming experiences doing this challenge achievement loop over and over again want to do that more and more but it's also a design principle of game concepts that enables them to be so transformative it's what I like to call the three FS feedback friends and fun a system that has that powerful winner effect but also has feedback friends and fun is one that's going to be quite compelling so I feel like we've entered this new era as I mentioned to you which i think is actually pretty revolutionary it's not just the kinds of creative ideas that we're creating it's the quantity of creative ideas it's the quality of those creative ideas and it's the number of people who get to be creative and whose voices in that prism of creativity get amplified if we want to do that deliberately if we want to take advantage of the power of games some of my contemporaries suggest that that will just naturally evolve from people playing Mario Kart and I think that's the exception rather than the rule I think what we need to do is collectively decide to actively make that happen to put the power of games to work to inspire creativity and innovation and that concept is called gamification that's when we take deliberately the ideas of games and apply them to changing people's behavior making the world a more interesting more dynamic and more creative place now there's some great examples of this happening for example the game aterna so in the game eterna hundreds of thousand people play this game is kind of amazing it's all about people discovering new structures in RNA which is a core building Rock of the world right a core a protein in the world individual people average people have discovered literally thousands of new RNA structures that science has never discovered so scientists have never been able to find these and players in the game RNA have complete new biomechanical structures from playing this game or Philo which is a game from my home country from Canada that players can play and it's a game in which you uncover the structure of DNA so you're looking at the core components of DNA players of Philo have discovered approximately 350,000 potential mistakes in our understanding of the structure of DNA so these are potential mistakes that scientists have made about how DNA works and what it is and what what's on every aspect of DNA and players have discovered this but it's not just the realm of science it's also in the realm of Commerce and consumerism companies like quirky which some of you might know are using game concepts to radically transform the way that they do innovation that they do new product development this is a consumer products company and interestingly quirky uses these ideas not just to solicit new concepts from the crowd but they use gamification to vet those concepts help with the design figure out the pricing determine the market strategy there's a lot going on it's an entire system and process and it's enabling the company to do something that no consumer products organization has ever been able to do quirky is on target to launch to new consumer products a month as an organization imagine two new consumer products a month being launched by any of our major organizations this is a sea change in creativity and innovation and it's gamification that leads the way now what are some of the structural things that enable gamification to accomplish this sort of miracle with creativity and one of them is something that quirky understands really well and that's the idea of constraint so this is really important it turns out that constraint is very important for driving creativity in the past we thought that it was something like you know you're not having any money you needing to be creative to survive but there's other elements of constraint that enable that think about this everyone in the developed world has in their pocket a device like this one that's capable of recording a high-definition film editing it putting a score on it and uploading it to the Internet and every year to YouTube people upload the equivalent of eight million full-length feature films worth of content to YouTube every year so now tell me shouldn't the statistics have proven that already on YouTube we should have had a raging bull or the other Dream Team some kind of amazing movie that would have come out of the YouTube era we've got lots of great content on YouTube but we haven't managed to produce things of that quality from this context and it's because it's not just about access to the tools in order to drive creativity it's got to have some amount of constraint and that's something that IBM understands very well in its design for its game a fight system called cityone this is basically a SimCity for people who run cities so if you're actually involved in the management of a city you can go on IBM's website and play this game it's Sin City for you called city 1 and already today tens of millions of people around the world have benefited from the lessons that city managers have learned by playing city 1 change the variables in the city see what happens figure out can we do more trash delivery do we need more water supply fascinating right now one of the things that city 1 highlights critically about the nature of gamification its ability to drive creativity is the idea of easy failure enabling people to fail easily because after all in a game-like context how does failure work right your character dies you get run over by something you fall off a cliff you click a button you start again no penalty right would you get to fail and keep doing it over and over and over again and learning through failure is very powerful but consider is our education system are our jobs structured in such a way to enable this learning from failure we all say that learning from failure is great but schools and workplaces are pretty high pressure do you know the answer to that question oh that was wrong that's terrible everybody notices the mistake that you made no matter how coddled you think our children are the reality is they still live in a fairly high pressure environment of testing and questioning them in public we don't make failure as easy as it needs to be whereas in the game of fight environment we do now why we care about that the third leg of how gamification drives innovation is the concept of perseverance or grit perseverance is our ability to push through difficult obstacles when we want to accomplish something to get through the crap so to speak to get to the amazing other side and perseverance is the number one predictor of success for somebody's creative endeavors and their career and if you put it together with something like great fluid intelligence you have the sort of magical combination that we need to be able to get through and solve some of the world's biggest problems now gamification enables us to drive perseverance that failure loop I talked about it teaches you the player that failure is okay and you need to keep pushing through when your character dies when you can't pass this level when you can't accomplish something you just keep going you start again and you keep going and you keep going and you keep going and we drive that over and over now it wasn't always this way in the game space back when games took quarters games like Donkey Kong for example were designed to fail you on the first level they were really hard because the designers wanted you to put as many quarters as possible into the machine now that the economics of gamification are about keeping you in the game for as long as possible the equations totally changed and it's teaching people how to persevere and how to push through but sometimes pure perseverance isn't enough we need kids to learn new skills and new talents and some things especially more difficult challenges require people to learn tools which sometimes can be kind of complicated or difficult and so one company that sort of understands this that sees this AI idea is a company called Autodesk they make 3d modeling software and every time a 3d movie comes out millions of people go to Autodesk's website and think I want to do 3d modeling I love that movie and they download this software from Autodesk and then what they find out is that 3d modeling is actually really hard like it's not easy to do and that's why we don't all do 3d modeling for a living so Autodesk recognizing that this was the case realize that they have to get into the business of teaching people how to use the tool so they put a gamification structure around their application so when you download it you are a secret agent on a mission it's a lot like where in the world is Carmen Sandiego if you guys remember that game that was one of my favorites you travel around the world solving these problems you've given a puzzle you're given some clues and in order to unlock each clue as you travel around the world you have to learn a basic element of 3d modelling like make the object all rotate the object light the object set it on fire bounce it around and in the end you look up and you go oh my god I learned how to be a 3d modeler through the prism of games now let me give you some stats just to give you a sense of what I'm talking about through this gamification framework Autodesk increase the amount of time that people use their 3d modeling software by 40% for 0 and increase the total sales of their software by 17% as a result of this imagine if we could apply if we could get kids to do 40% more STEM education science technology engineering and math imagine if we could get them 17% more people to choose careers in that field how amazing that would be and that's part of helping people find what they're good at the gamification facilitates and the last element that drives creativity and gamification is about speed and pressure it turns out that actually putting some pressure on people can help them make better decisions and feel better about themselves pairen and Jacobs for example doing this famous research that fast decisions make people feel happier and we now have a bunch of research a body of evidence that suggests that certain kinds of decisions are actually better made when they're made quickly and a whole thread of gamification examples like blitz and like gamestorming that use the power of speed and pressure to get people to make more decisions and to make them more quickly and through the power of the crowd vet those decisions and find the best ones now many of the examples that I've given you sound awesome if we're dealing with you know ten-year-old kids and like a new concept and what about in the real world Gabe what about the real-world use of gamification and innovation and so I'll give you the most extreme example that I can of how this can work in the real world the Department of Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom it is the governmental department responsible for unemployment insurance and Retraining people it alone accounts for 30% of the UK's total overall governmental spending this one Department of the government it's got hundreds of thousands of employees it reaches all parts of the UK it is a very entrenched bureaucracy it is not known for being innovative that is not its middle name but they decided that they wanted to act innovation power of the community of people who work at the DWP and say we launched a pretty cool idea called idea Street and the concept of idea Street is pretty simple anyone in the company can propose a new concept for the DWP to do and that concept becomes a stock in a virtual stock market so your ideas get bought and sold by your co-workers and your colleagues and your peers using virtual currency and the best results quickly bubble to the top they're the ones that are most valuable in the stock market and then the company comes through the organization comes through and redeems them by buying them off the market in the first 90 days the DWP generated 1,500 new ideas and a potential for 90 million pounds worth of savings in the organization just by using that game of fied example so I'd posit fundamentally that we've entered into this new era debt gamification when applied correctly can help us drive unmet untold creativity a new kind of creativity one that's pretty different from the creativity we thought of before but adds all of those ideas together that's about education that's about access that's about being prolific it's about new methodology and it's also about being commercially successful that all of those things kind of put together are embodied in this new sort of creativity and that with the social layer with the elements of connectedness that gamification allows and some of the different frameworks that we talked about today the three apps feedback friends and fun the winners effect that kind of dopamine loop and also things like constraint like the ability to fail like speed and pressure like perseverance these things together pretend an entirely new opportunity for creativity a change in the way that we think and potentially the best hope for our future imagine if we took our kids back to the medieval era imagine if you could take any of today's kids 10 year-olds like Griffin for example back to the medieval era what would our ancestors have thought of them they would seem like magical geniuses right appearing from the future capable of manipulating technology understanding things in the world that people in that era never would have understood we often like to make fun of kids today and say they're kind of dumb right Tim finish them because they're so technologically connected because they play so many games because they have a different kind of socializing from the way that we grew up because we see them as not being able to focus or have attention but in fact I posit maybe they are geniuses maybe this is the new creativity and if the power of gamification allows us to unleash their collective ability we'll all win thank you

18 Comments

  1. Wiejeben said:

    Thanks Notch

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  2. Saheed Bang said:

    Creating long lasting, engaging games for customers or employees? Good Look!

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  3. raul ladislau said:

    when i was a kid, DKC was really hard, but i was still able to finish the game (in 3 years btw)

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  4. Sekai Ni Heiwa said:

    Gaygamer is a new spieces but shares the same group with Wankermann

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  5. Priscilla Ahn said:

    Mario kart taught me how to drive.

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  6. Mickaela Secretario said:

    Very informative! Thank you so much. I have an assessment about linking games and innovation and I'm having a hard time on how to do it. Now I can finally understand, thank you!

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  7. K R said:

    when your game becomes work its not a game anymore

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  8. Steven Pinto said:

    Well said 🙂

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  9. Claudia Raine said:

    Great talk!!!

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  10. TecnoCR said:

    Esto es la mejor solucion a nustros problemas educativos muy buena charla

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  11. Bryan Hernandez said:

    Why are we still doing this

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  12. Bryan Hernandez said:

    Gustavo, callate wey. me la estas cagando. pinche puto maricon.

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  13. Isaac Dawson said:

    is he a perfectly normal 10 year old?

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  14. Chad Serrant said:

    Toad's Turnpike saves the day again!

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  15. Zen said:

    i thougte it says gabe newell

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  16. Clayton H said:

    I hear from a lot of older folks about how the problems in the US are due to a poor work ethics, which is baloney, and it's for this reason above.

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  17. Gustavo Stork said:

    Very good! Thank you so much for share your knowledge with us. I'm from Brazil and I started to study gamification a few months ago. Now I have a platform that mix gamification and social payment to foment entrepreneurship.

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  18. Bruno A . Alves said:

    The is Fantastic talk, the games really can make   difference for people and for humanity. Thanks for the excellent explanation about this topic 😉

    June 28, 2019
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *