[15 June 2013] In continuation of the second assignment, here’s the third and final written assignment which was part of the class on Gamification on Coursera offered by University of Pennsylvania‘s (The Wharton School) Prof Kevin Werbach.
Project Part III: Design Document
Now that you know the essential concepts about gamification and game design, it’s time to use them. For this final task, we ask you to bring together creativity, technical feasibility, and business realities.
You are approached by Rashmi Horenstein, the CEO of ShareAll, a prominent company in the hot collaborative consumption space. (If you aren’t familiar with the concept, some good resources are CollaborativeConsumption.com and the March 9, 2013 cover story in the Economist.) She knows you are one of the top experts on gamification, which she has heard can revolutionize business. She asks you to present a proposal for a gamified system to take her business to the next level.
ShareAll’s mission is to make shared use of products and services as common as individual purchases. It follows the path of companies such as AirBnB, Buzzcar, and Uber, which allow sharing of particular products (cars, housing, etc). ShareAll’s patented technology makes it easy for consumers and business to share any product or service. ShareAll has also developed a global virtual currency, called Shares, which can be used to purchase access to any asset in the system. Shares can be exchanged for real money, and users can generate more Shares by sharing items or volunteering their time to complete tasks for others.
ShareAll charges a small transaction fee whenever Shares are generated, traded, or spent. Therefore, the more activity, the more money ShareAll makes. Horenstein tells you that she cares about the social benefits of sustainability. However, ShareAll is a for-profit company, with investments and partnerships from some of the world’s largest corporations, so profits matter. Horenstein believes gamification could significantly help ShareAll’s business. She is eager to read your ideas.
Provide a detailed description of your proposal, organized according to the design framework described in the lectures in Unit 7:
1. Define business objectives
2. Delineate target behaviors
3. Describe your players
4. Devise activity loops
5. Don’t forget the fun!
6. Deploy the appropriate tools
A summary of each concept is provided on the Gamification Design Framework page.
Format: Maximum of 1500 words. A normal answer will have descriptive text, and/or a set of bullet points, for each of the six sections of the design framework. This is your final project. It is the most complex and worth the most points toward your overall score, so you have two weeks to complete it.
Please remember that you have agreed to the Coursera Honor Code as part of your enrollment for this course. Your submission must be your own work, and not copied from another student or an online resource such as Wikipedia. Graders will be instructed to assign a score of “0” to plagiarized work.
Write your answer in the text box below (1500 word maximum).
Gamified framework for ShareAll
1. Define business objective
Our business objective is to take ShareAll to the next level. Since ShareAll is a for profit company, the implemented system should generate returns higher than those without the implementation. This may be measured in growth of market size, i.e. more people engaging in using shared products (primarily durables) and services; and if there are many competitors or players in this market, the goal may be measured as the growth of market share as well. Another strategic objective could be to become a platform for exchange and not just a portal – I will elaborate on this in the tools section. Another metric that we will use is similar to DAU/MAU where we will also condier the ratio of actual Shares transacted (daily/monthly).
2 Delineate target behaviors
The primary target behavior that we want players and potentials is to accept shared usage of products and services to be as common as or more preferred than individual purchases. As a more specific or direct (measurable) behavior, we want players to use more shared services. On the other side of the transaction, we want product owners to share more products and services on the platform.
We also want players to increase their levels of trust (and reliability) in peer to peer exchanges – which is currently believed to be a big factor in for people engaging with such services. It can be compared with the times when e-commerce was starting out. It felt like a risky proposition for customers to purchase or offer consideration in exchange for a product that they have not seen or felt in their own hands. Once people had tried or experienced making a purchase on a large (and slightly more trusted) “shop” like eBay, they slowly transitioned to making purchases online from many other retailers. Many customers no longer think twice before making online purchases. Similarly, when trust and acceptance of shared ownership increases, the market for ShareAll increases.
Another related behavior which may already exist/overlap with the psychometrics of the players is to care about sustainability. We want our players to feel good in making a shared usage rather than an individual purchase. We want the same feeling for owners of products (or those that offer services) to feel good about about being a part of shared system.
3. Describe your players
At a very high level, ShareAll is designed for everyone. It’s seen as an implementor of disruptive innovation (the sharing economy) which has the potential to become very pervasive. Though being a relatively new business with resource limitations and trying to get first time users and spread the word, it needs to concentrate on a specific target segment otherwise it’s message will be too diluted and will not get beneficial results.
We begin by describing our player demographic as 18 to 35 year olds as one group and 30 to 45 year olds another. The urban and sub-urban people live in larger and less-closely-knit societies than those in more rural areas. It may be easier to build trust in the more closely knit socieities though the pervasiveness of technology may be lower. The younger demographic is accustomed to e-commerce and and easy mobile applications. They are also likely to have smaller incomes than older players. This group will be the one which wishes to make use of shared products which might not be affordable to own in their current income (eg: nice cars, designer clothing, etc). Though they will also consume products that they can afford for the psychological benefit of helping sustainability by consuming products with shared ownership. The youngest of this group is also likely to be the provider of time/services (eg: picking up someone’s groceries in exchange for the virtual currency of Shares).
The older group is likely to have higher incomes and is likely to be the owner of products that are made available on the platform for shared usage.
The psychographics of the players will include people who like the fact that they helping sustainability and reducing their environmental footprint. People who like meeting new people would also form a large portion of our players.
4. Devise activity loops
The system would always give feedback to players about their environmental footprint. With increased usage of shared products, they will receive badges for certain types of product usage and be presented with a progression. As an example, players may receive a differnt badge for renting a bicycle 5 times as compared to a car 5 times. There will be levels to showcase their progression as well; by the previous example, a new class of badge will be available when their usage of shares reaches 50 for a particular type of product (this is similar to the way Foursquare gives badges). Since part of the message of ShareAll is social good, to mitigate the negative effects that some users may perceive of “showing off” badges, the profile would offer an easy opt-out during onboarding and players could choose only to share badges with a selected set of other players. An overall trust-level score will always be shared.
Along with leveling up, players will also receive points which may be used for increased levels of access on the platform. They may receive points for getting a good review from the user or their product or service. This will help ecourage good behavior as players who have earned higher points will be more trusted goods or service providers (premium players) – which ties in to helping with a target behavior or increased trust.
To increase traction (or system liquidity), players will receive extra points for inviting new users. Additionally, new players and the referer to the portal will both receive a small amount of Shares (Note the distinction that points are just for system actions and Shares are the virtual currency that can be redeemed for goods and services) – these Shares may be used for a certain set of products – these could be funded by the promotional budgets of the corporations (“sponsors”) which have partnerships with ShareAll. This help in more players signing up to the system. Goods/service providers who engage with new or first time buyers will also receive slightly higher than the set Share price. This ties in to the goal of increasing the market size.
5. Don’t forget the fun!
To make use of the value associated with “chance wins”, players will be able to spend points to buy into a Share lottery. The winner of the lottery may receive free usage of products from sponsors and players will be free to gift these “prizes” on to others for Shares that they can use on a product they or service they want more.
Another fun element would be a photo-sharing section where the buyer and the seller may voluntarily put up a photo at the time of taking delivery of a good or service. This will help showcase or bring visibility to the more friendlier players and make the entire system appear so. The system will provide fun an unexpected badges for certain usage combinations; as an example: Use car+bicycle+lawnmower = I love wheels! badge or post 10 pictures with other players = socialite level 1.
Finally, there will be a view random (public) profile and an extra points bounty or challenge if you buy or sell to that person within a week.
6. Deploy the appropriate tools
ShareAll will be accessible on the web and as mobile apps – this is something that the target players expect and also allows for easier geographic expansion. It will also make use of location awareness (GPS) which will be opt-in to share location to handle privacy issues. At the same sharing of location will be encouraged to find quicker and better matches.
Our goal is to become a platform and not just one of the product/service portals. Our current differentiator is that we use Shares. As part of the tools, ShareAll will build a secure transaction system which will allow third-party potals (eg: AirBnB, Uber etc which may be specialized in certain products or services) to accept Shares as a form of payment. This has the potential of turning potential competitors into industry-partners and grow together while the industry is nascent. At this stage everyone grows together better than to fight over a smaller pie. This system implemented well, ties in with the goal of increasing market share.
On the whole, the elements mentioned above sections tie in with the goal of increasing market size and share.
Take a Seat with Rising Stars of the Sharing Economy, Katie Kramer, CNBC, April 2013
The rise of the sharing economy, The Economist, March 2013
Why It’s So Hard to Build a Peer to Peer Marketplace, OuiShare, Connor McEwen, March 2013
Evaluation/feedback on the above work
RUBRIC (points scaled x4)
There is only one component to the score for this assignment. You may optionally also provide free-form feedback to the student.
The submission should be the student’s own work. If you conclude that a substantial portion has been copied without attribution from another student or an online resource, assign a score of “0” to both components.
0 No answer or completely irrelevant answer.
1 Addresses three or fewer of the six sections of the design framework.
2 Addresses four or more of six sections of the design framework, but fails to describe a gamified system that the grader can envision.
3 Describes a gamified system and addresses four or more of the six sections of the design framework, but does so in a way that is obvious or vague. For example, “The players are people who use ShareAll.”
4 Describes a gamified system and addresses all six sections of the design framework, but fails to adequately explain how the proposed system would address ShareAll’s goals.
5 Describes a specific, realistic gamified system and addresses all six sections of the design framework in a manner that is generally thoughtful, consistent, and insightful.
Score from your peers: 5
What I liked was…
peer 2 → All
peer 3 → The pro side of your essay. Congrats
peer 4 → Excellent and very detailed. It’s clear that you’ve thought carefully about user behavior in regard to ShareAll in general and to your gamified system.
peer 5 → Specifics of the system and its functionality have been described in great detail.
What could have made this submission better was…
peer 2 → Probably the game itself could be explained better
peer 3 → I believe there could be more “fun” in the chapter 5.
peer 4 → None. Especially in light of the limited time frame we had for this assignment, you’ve handled it well–looks like professional quality work.
peer 5 → This is good, no changes!