How do you create a corporate environment in which people share knowledge out of free will?1 This is a question my good friends of Wemind2 are working to answer for their clients on a daily basis.3 We’ve recently decided to collaboratively develop methods useful for the design of a participatory context in the workplace. Our idea is that since knowledge sharing is essentially about people interacting in a context, we’ll apply interaction design methods to the problem. Of course, some methods will be more suited to the problem than others, and all will need to be made specific for them to really work. That’s the challenge.
Naturally I will be looking for inspiration in game design theory. This gives me a good reason to blog about the PENS model. I read about this in an excellent Gamasutra article titled Rethinking Carrots: A New Method For Measuring What Players Find Most Rewarding and Motivating About Your Game. The creators of this model4 wanted to better understand what fundamentally motivates game players as well as come up with a practical play testing model. What they’ve come up with is intriguing: They’ve demonstrated that to offer a fun experience, a game has to satisfy certain basic human psychological needs: competence, autonomy and relatedness.5
I urge anyone interested in what makes games work their magic to read this article. It’s really enlightening. The cool thing about this model is that it provides a deeper vocabulary for talking about games.6 In the article’s conclusion the authors note the same, and point out that by using this vocabulary we can move beyond creating games that are ‘mere’ entertainment. They mention serious games as an obvious are of application, I can think of many more (3C products for instance). But I plan on applying this understanding of game player needs to the design of architectures of participation. Wish me luck.
- Traditionally, sharing knowledge in large organisations is explicitly rewarded in some way. Arguably true knowledge can only be shared voluntarily. [↩]
- Who have been so kind to offer me some free office space, Wi-Fi and coffee since my arrival in Copenhagen. [↩]
- They are particularly focused on the value of social software in this equation. [↩]
- Scott Rigby and Richard Ryan of Immersyve [↩]
- To nuance this, the amount to which a player expects each need to be satisfied varies from game genre to genre. [↩]
- Similar to the work of Koster and of Salen & Zimmerman. [↩]