Playoff meets up with: An Coppens

An Coppens is the Chief Game Changer at  Gamification Nation,  an award-winning Speaker, L&D professional, business and executive coach and author. She is a leading expert in gamification for learner and employee engagement, with over 15 years experience in creating behaviour change through creative and innovative solutions.  where the vision is to make business and learning more fun and engaging.

An is "also" an avid blogger on the topic of gamification and has been listed as the top gamification blog in 2017 by Feedspot and listed in the top 10 UK digital and technology bloggers in the UK Blog Awards of 2016 and 2015. She was ranked in the top 100 Innovation and gamification experts in 2012 and since 2015 stayed in the top  of  gamification gurus worldwide.

We asked An  tell us about her job, her personal definition of gamification and last but not least a tip for who is facing for the first time with a gamification project.
We got really surprised she found time to answer to our question whereas she is a busy blogger!!

How did you become one of the world’s most successful experts in the field of gamification?

First of all I learned from those that went before such as  Gabe Zicherman, Mario Herger,  .Karl Kapp and  Yukai Chou and then looked on how I had already applied this before, which happened to be the case. I believe I gamified most things from my career to studying in college and having multiple things running at the same time. Then after I had gained a bit of clients and read most things I could get my hands on I started blogging 3 times per week since probably 2013, I have a podcast which I revived earlier this year. I speak on stage regularly and at the beginning it was very much evangelising about gamification to create awareness with my target audience. Now it think the markets understand gradually more and it is more about knowledge sharing and enabling people to deliver gamification for their companies. I believe what helps me is that I worked practically in the roles many of my clients hold namely  HR and  Learning.

We are curious to know what is your personal definition of gamification?

The application of game psychology, game mechanics and game dynamics to non-game situations in business.

When we ask you a clear example of how gamification works well, what comes to your mind?

One of my favourites is  Classcraft, designed by a teacher to engage teenage students over the space of a school year. Getting them to collaborate, step outside of the curriculum and learn more. I think it is a fabulous example where the tool is the enabler and the motivation is also still improved by the teachers of the subject and the students themselves. The Classcraft example works based on both quests, collaborations, multiple indicators such as experience points, but also energy and visual items and storytelling. It mixes collaboration and competition in a healthy way.

On the world market there are a lot of gamification platforms, for you which gamification elements should they have to be different from the others?

I think platforms by and large offer similar functionality, the ones that stand out allow for creative storytelling and narrative and have scope in terms of game elements to play with. They also should allow for innovative front end design and play in the background, which not all are able to do smoothly.

Finally, what would you recommend to those who decide to start from scratch a Gamification project?

I would recommend first of all to set clear objectives, then to understand how that impacts your target audience and know what motivates your target audience, after that design without platform in mind for the best engagement and then find fitting solutions. Pilot with a small group and iterate a few times to ensure your campaign or strategy is working and then roll out to the larger groups.

It was a pleasure to have, gamification expert An Coppens as our guest. Her words are a great help for who is determined to develop a Gamification project; the objectives that, with a creative storytelling and an innovative front-end design are essential elements to distinguish themselves on the market, should not be lost sight of.


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