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I was recently included in a couple of tweets where people were discussing their path to getting into gamification. I was one of the people mentioned as part of their learning journey.
It was an odd experience.
I have never considered myself influential, but am aware that over the years I have been in the world of gamification. People have done research based on my work, built products and even earned degrees and PhD’s citing my work as a core to theirs. But I still don’t see myself in that way. I have spoken about imposter syndrome in the past, but basically, it is hard for me to accept that I deserve to be where I am.
But it made me think. Who influenced me when I started in gamification. Gabe Zickermann has to get a mention as he was one of the first people I heard of speaking about it as a stand-alone concept. But after that, it is much more games focussed. Richard Bartle, Jesse Schell, Raph Koster, Amy Jo Kim to name a few. Back then (2011/2012) there were very few gamification experts out there, so those of us interested in the topic had to turn to games experts instead and to an extent, psychology experts. For me these came in the form of people like Andrea Kuszewski, Edward Deci/Richard Ryan (Self Determination Theory), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow), Richard Thaler (Nudge) and yes, of course, Dan Pink for his book Drive (we were all guilty of that one).
Now it is very different. People looking into gamification, go to gamification experts first. We have all created our own wealth of information in books and blogs and talks etc, and so people turn to use to learn about our specialist areas of the topic. However, like so many things, this can lead to the origins and the history of ideas getting lost and diluted. So it is important to take the occasional step back to revisit where it all came from.
If you follow me on twitter you will have seen I have been posting my blogs again, right from the beginning and by God has it been an eye opener for me. I was so wrong in so many cases when I look back at what I wrote. However, at the time, it was based on what I was able to gather from the sources I had available. For instance, this article popped up from 2012, where I completely misinterpret the way Dopamine works! https://www.gamified.uk/2012/05/04/the-death-of-gamification/
But it is good to realise this and to ground yourself in the knowledge that time moves on as does our understanding. We grow. But we should never forget where we came from or where our knowledge came from.
When you see my old stuff, feel free to comment and point out what an idiot I was being!!
Also published on Medium.