Thursday, August 22, 2013

Game on!

Today's post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and is a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.   

“It’s like adding a game layer on top of reality…”

And that’s when my staff looked at me sideways.

Yes, I have to admit that it’s not every day in our business we talk about “gamification” in the office, but we strive to have our collective ears to the ground for what’s coming next in research, and the topic did come up and caused a lively discussion.

It’s hard to ignore the topic of gaming nowadays, from hearing about hardcore gamers playing 16-hour stints to the prevalence of smartphone and tablet apps that turn even grocery shopping into a game. 

How have games encroached on everyday life?

-You can check into a sub shop, check out the challenges for that location on SCVNGR, and unlock badges and real-world rewards.  (Interested in more game theory? Check out founder Seth Priebatsch’s TED talk about "Building the game layer on top of the world.”)

-Ready to get in shape, but want social support with aspects of a game? There’s Fitocracy, whose founders Brian Wang and Richard Talens “understood how addictive it could be trying to get to that next level, beating that next boss, and completing that next quest” and decided to apply that to fitness and weight loss.

-Are you an avid cyclist who wants to challenge one of over a million other riders to a virtual race? There’s Strava for you, which according to Outside Magazine is “changing the way we ride” and has spawned a verb: to Strava. 

One of the leading speakers on gamification is Jane McGonigal, the Kickoff Keynote speaker at The Market Research Event 2013.  McGonigal is a game designer, the author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, and a noted TED speaker whose talks have garnered millions (and millions) of views.

I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to hear McGonigal in person at #TMRE13, and the fact that she is keynoting underlines something I (and my team) have been discussing…If the world is going the way of games, research simply must keep up, right?

I'm no expert on research through gaming (for that I humbly direct you to Betty Adamou and her Research Through Gaming team), but I’m intrigued as to how often this topic continues to bubble up in research industry discussions about the future of research. 

As a client-side researcher firmly rooted in reality (without a game layer currently!), I'm interested to learn more at TMRE this year both from Jane McGonigal and from other presenters as to how others may be using game thinking and game mechanics in research.  I always expect to hear about the hot new topics in research in the hallways and exhibit floor of TMRE, and I fully expect this year will be no different. I'll be curious to hear how others are currently exploring this topic, and who has put this into practice already.

Speaking of games, it’s time I get back to Candy Crush Saga, level 147 has me flummoxed!


More about Katie: 
Based in Portland, Maine, Katie is the Senior Research Manager at Diversified Business Communications, managing a team of skilled researchers busy gleaning insights for products around the globe. She has worked with companies large and small in industries such as software, seafood, fragrance and entertainment to help companies move their business forward supported by actionable insights derived from market research. She loves to find the story in the numbers and is passionate about bringing the “Voice of the Customer” inside the organization. Active on social media as @InsightsGal, Katie actively tweets and blogs about the market research industry. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer. 


Francis said...

I have never been to any TMRE, but from what I have read and heard it is worth attending. I don't think I will make it for this years event, but come next year I will be attending. Thank so much for sharing this information.

Katie Clark said...

Francis - I think you'll find it a great event. When budgets are tight (like ours our) we feel TMRE has given us the biggest return on our investment with so many sessions and researchers in one place! Hope to see you next year.