It is Sunday today, and I want you to do three things for me.
1 Watch Dan Pink’s TED lecture on Motivation
2 Flick through Jane McGonigal’s slides for SXSW 2008 or fixing reality.
If you have seen them before, remind yourself of slides 22 through 24.
3 Login in to Facebook and play FarmVille.
First, today is Sunday. I know you want to catch up with your reading but you should also be having fun.
Dan Pink, former speech writer, speaks good too. Jane McGonigal’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is to win a Nobel prize for games design and she designs games that ‘give a damn’. And FarmVille, though childish looking, is actually fun, and will probably get you chatting with a couple of old friends over your farmyard gate.
Learn about the Ryan and Deci (2000) 3 principles of design (ARC) in an enjoyable way
But mainly, because if your goal today was to keep up-to-date with what the gurus are saying, you should know that leading gurus are popularizing the research results of Ryan & Deci (2000).
Ryan & Deci boiled down the principles for designing for work, games and events that are compelling, engaging and ‘moreish’ to
Autonomy. Can we make our decisions in this place?
Competence. Does the game, work, or event help us learn, and do the conditions keep pace with our growing ability?
Relatedness. Can we play with others? Is this event socially-rewarding?
Dan Pink and Jane McGonigal may use slightly different terms, but these are the 3 attributes that are being described.
9m people are playing FarmVille (for free) on Facebook
As you play FarmVille, you can admire the ‘assets’ the games have deployed for our leisure and imagination and marvel that 9 million people will seriously attend to their farmyard online and nip over to their neighbours to chase the cows out of the strawberries.
You can also admire the way FarmVille draws you into the game by appealing to your autonomy. This is your farm and your avatar. They gently guide you through the possibilities and in a short time, you are as keen as mustard to develop some competence.
FarmVille has levels. I mysteriously found myself at level 3 – possibly it starts at three. There is clear feedback that tells you how well you are doing and lets you work out the best strategies. There are rewards that entice you to make an effort. And there are levels that are both badges of honour and opportunities to try new things. FarmVille even throws in some random rewards which, of course, are massively reinforcing.
And it is social. You can see at a glance whom of your friends are playing. You can send them free gifts. And they can reciprocate. You can visit their yards and admire their work (and aspire to catch up.) You can ask them to be your neighbour. You can rush over to help on their farm when you they are out and something urgent needs doing.
So a Sunday well spent?
Master the Deci & Ryan model. When the gurus start propagating a model, you know it will become common knowledge very fast. Everyone will be quoting Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness soon (ARC).
And when we are all talking about the psychology of design and trying and learning to use ARC in our own work, Jane McGonigal will achieve her dream of seeing our ‘broken reality’ fixed and become a lot more like a game.
Will you fix reality with the 3 principles of design?
Will you be up there with the games designers, event managers and entrepreneurs who can design work and play worth living?
Or at least understand why some tasks are tedious beyond belief and others bring a light to your eyes, a bounce to your step, and a gentle smile, if not the singing of your soul?
Have a good Sunday, and if you are in the UK, a good Bank Holiday weekend.
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