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We asked Dr. Michael Wu, Chief Scientist at Lithium, some questions on one of his areas of expertise—Gamification—and how it can be used to enhance the workplace, productivity and employee motivation. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in Gamification? I’m trained as a data scientist, although when I started out that term didn’t exist yet. My PhD is in Biophysics, I used machine learning to model how the human brain processes visual information—to understand how we see things and recognize objects, etc. When I came into the industry and joined Lithium, a SaaS provider for social platforms, I began analyzing behavior data with the goal to understand consumer behavior. The next step is how can we use these behavior data and understandings to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. Gamification is a very effective way to do just that. How would you define Gamification? I define Gamification as the use of game attributes to drive game-like player behavior in a non game context predictably. Four things are needed for Gamification: -Use game attributes: anything that a game designer uses to make a game engaging involving game mechanics, dynamics, and much more. -Drive player behavior: when you are playing a game you are not only totally engaged, you are also learning how to play the game. However, player behaviors includes much more: competition, communication, collaboration, etc.
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