Turning a pain into a game – Gamification for good.


Ok, hello everyone. We are at the Gamification Europe,
this year in Berlin, Germany. And we have with us no one else
but Will Jackson. – Hello!
– Hello, Arek. Delighted to be here. Yeah, and I’m delighted
to be able to talk to you, because you’ve just given a speech
of the day, I guess, really. Wow, thank you. Yes. Because that’s what we talked
between us listening to your speech. That’s what the gamification
was invented for, what you are doing. But let’s keep it
a little bit of a secret – Before we go into the details, ok,
what you do? – Ok. So if you could start
by telling us your story. What’s your story? My story of how I got
into gamification or…? Yes, why are you here? Why am I here? So I’m here because I want to share
the story of Playphysio, which is something that’s kinda about
because of my situation at home. And something that I started
as a side project, really. And then it grew, because I saw the potential
of what gamification could do for my family and then for other families. So it was really about… It works at home
really well for other people. It does work for the people. Now we need to get it
to as many people as possible. I’ve just read a book saying that the best way to create a product
is to create something for yourself. Something that you really need,
because you understand the user the best. And you’ve created such product. Though, I can only agree. I think that when you have
lived experience with something, that’s obviously
a strong motivation, of course. And it does give you insight that perhaps an external person
might not have those insights. But also you have to be careful if you feel that you’ve reached
the solution. Maybe that’s just your solution and it maybe doesn’t work
for anybody else. So you have to be quite careful and quite realistic
and pragmatic as well, I think. Ok. So I think we can now
try to understand better what story… what your family story
led you to this invention? Ok, so my eldest daughter has a respiratory disease
called cystic fibrosis. Which is an inherited disease. And it came as a complete shock
to myself and my wife, that my daugher have this condition. We had never had any history of it, we didn’t even know what it was. So the basic problem is that
she has to do really time consuming, teadious respiratory physiotherapy, which is blowing into a device
many times a day. In fact, a 180 times a day
when she was age 6 years old, was what we would have to do
twice a day. So anybody with children knows that it’s difficult to get your kids
to do boring things like brush their teeth
or clean their bedroom. When it’s a medical problem, you’re very, very keen that your child should do it
correctly, obviously. And if they didn’t do it, you would feel very guilty
as a parent, you hadn’t done your best
for your child. But at the same time it generates
arguments and fighting, and stress. So you feel you don’t want to do it,
but you also want to do it. That’s real tention for a parent. And from my daughter’s
point of view, of course,
she’d rather do anything other but boring, time consuming blowing, which is just rubbish,
she doesn’t want to do it at all. And I understand that those blows
need to be really skillful actually? Not every patient does them properly
and hence the treatment is not optimal. And that was one of the challenges? That’s absolutely right. So the devices which are used
to do this sort of therapy have to be used in a certain way. These devices themselves
don’t provide any feedback to the user at all, that they’re doing it correctly. Now imagine any sort
of computer programme that didn’t give you any feedback
on what you were doing. You wouldn’t have a clue
how to use it even. So that’s the situation
that we were in. So part of the gamification
was to provide very basic feedback, that you were doing it correctly. And then take it a step further to provide more exciting feedback that it was engaging. And then take it furhter
so that you would feel that you weren’t the only person
doing this treatment. Often is one child, but predominantly there’s children
that are separated from each other. They never meet another child
with the same condition, because there are health risks. So they all feel isolated. So the most amazing part of it would be
to allow those kids to get together and all do treatment
at the same time, maybe even compete with each other. But certainly, just feel like they’re part
of something bigger than themselves. Yeah, and now we’re entering the arena
where I feel a bit more comfortable. Cause you used already some
of the game mechanics, you used feedback, a crucial element. Yes, as you said, you don’t get it
in life in so many fields, including this treatment. You never knew before whether
you’re doing it right or wrong, correctly or incorrectly. And you’ve presented
some staggering data that so many people
were doing it incorrectly. And then you mentioned
a little bit of competition, but competition in a way,
that I’m not alone. So it’s not negative competition, but it’s something telling me that hey,
there are other people doing it and everyone is trying hard to get the treatment right. And also what I really liked is that you used
one of my favourite mechanics, which is, game mechanics,
that is progress bar. How does it work in this, well,
it’s a treatment game, it’s called Playphysio. So if you could just tell us
a little bit more about Playphysio. – Ok, so…
– What’s the gameplay? The gameplay in the app. At the moment we are using some really
quite well-understood arcade games. There are endless arcade games, the treatment is endless,
so it has to go on. And the progress bar
I mentioned earlier was really just tracking the progress
through each individual blow. Because the challenge
is to get the chart to do the blow the correct way for long enough,
that’s one part of it. The other part of it is to get them
to follow a certain routine, which is actually prescribed to them,
it’s a medical prescription, and that’s quite complex. So we keep track of the number of blows
that have been completed correctly. So it’s a very needed form of feedback and for people that
perform this treatment, they instantly understand where they would be
within their treatment routine, just from glancing at a simple graphic,
head-up display as it were… Just as you would do playing
lots of other games with a head-up display. But then you’ve got
the other feedback of actually interacting with a game. And if you stop doing your blows, you’re going to lose the game, because there other effects
that happen, things that blow you up
or you explode, – Or you know, you don’t get to the end.
– Oh, you don’t want that! But everyone love
to blow things up, right? Yes. So you want to keep blowing correctly to keep the penguin alive,
the whatever the hero of the story is. – Absolutely.
– Yes. Another amazing game
mechanic you used is… You used the term
un-gamifying, or…? Yes. Going out of the game,
tell us about that. So I couldn’t resist being asked
at a conference about gamification and threatening to un-gamify. So it’s very little risk with this type
of treatment for the patient, if they do too much. But of course,
there’s lots of stuff in the news about how people become addicted to things and how that can be negative. And what we found
was that games were so effective in getting the children
to do their treatment, they were doing more than a 100%. Or they’d forgotten that
they were doing treatment, they were just having fun. Which is wonderful,
but we found that if we lock the games when you have finished,
for example, your morning session until the afternoon or the evening, when it’s time to do another session, because the doctors want you to perform
these sessions with a gap between, then you increase the anticipation. Exactly! And fun: “Oh my god,
I get to play games, my mom will let me do it!
Oh, let’s go!” And so it works beautifully. It really does work beautifully! We actually do use it in
our gamified software, that we give people few tasks
and then that’s it, you have to wait for them,
even sometimes two days. And it works amazingly that actually people are waiting to do,
well, the work. In this case to do the treatment. And I can imagine
you wouldn’t imagine this working that way that your daughter would be waiting
for the treatment, so she can play the game again. Well like, this is the magic
of gamification, honestly. Because it takes effects
almost straight away. I’ve seen the kids see the game, then look at me and go:
You want me to do this? and I go: Yeah. You don’t need manual for that. Their eyes are like sauces
and they just like, they just start doing it, and then they start doing it correctly. And the fact that you can increase
that anticipation is just a no-brainer, you have to do it.
It’s brilliant. That’s another excellent point,
that people sometimes are afraid, because for the treatment
you would need a big manual how to do it correctly
or some training. And then someone can imagine that
for the app you would need a tutorial or something to teach you
how to play it. And it doesn’t work this way. If you design it well, you actually just start, open it up,
and you know what to do, because we all know games,
we know how they work. And you get your first feedback, you start to see: Oh, I need to do it
better this way and just how it works. You don’t need manuals,
it just works. Absolutely. And I think that’s the point
you’ve made earlier about the user being at the center of it. That if they understand
almost immediately: “Oh, I do this and then this happens,
I like that” and there’s no need
to have seperate books, you don’t need to understand it, it just has this effect upon you
and it’s a positive effect. Yeah, well,
this is a cell rare disease, so you’ve mentioned that it’s not easy
to manufacture those products, the physical elements on big scale. But it’s frequent,
unfortunately, frequent enough for almost anyone watching this
to know such person. I happen to know by my friend
a little Hania, who fights this disease very
beautifully and gracefully. So if you could say a big hello,
shoutout to Hania for her, yeah? Hello, Hania! And I’ll pass it onto her. And guys, really check out
the Playphysio website, see how it works and perhaps
there is someone watching this, that we could bring this to Poland, you know, localize it,
translate it, I don’t know. We’ll help as Gamehill
as much as we can, because this is the perfect application
of gamification and game concept. – Thank you very much, Will.
– Thank you. – It was pleasure talking to you.
– Thank you, you too, thank you.

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