Archive for June, 2012

Concert Magic & Silos

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


Last night I was at The Vic Theater Lakeview Chicago Il to see Glen Hansard in concert. A great show.

Of course he had everyone clapping and singing, but there were two kids in the audience, who yelled out that they could play. One at a time he brought them up on stage to perform. It must have been a delight for them and everyone in the audience was loving it. The normal audience participation was expected, his invite to the kids was unexpected, a surprise. He broke down the wall. It was magic and it was beautiful.

This as another example of society embracing radical collaboration, sharing, mixing. Fewer silos, more working together.

It also transforms an activity from someone you see to something you are part of. Those kids might find it hard to say it was a bad concert because they were part of it, they were now responsible for it being a good experience. That’s also a shift we see in society with more “responsible” type gatherings like “Up to all of us” – put on by my friend Aaron Silvers. What a theme for a “conference” on learning and education.

Ethan the 11 year old performed Somebody I used to know & Broken hearted Hoover fixer sucker guy

Gamification Workshop

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012


I am out in Fog City, San Francisco, at the Gamification Summit. In the Advance Workshop Gabe Zichermann presented to a sold out audience. He is able to combine different perspectives on gamification: strategic, operational, and psychological.


Gamification, the core of a good game, is about uncovering what is meaningful. Combining desire and mastery. The job of as game designer or designer of gamified systems is to break down the process of continuing engaging people as they move from novice, problem solver, expert, master, and visionary.

It is tempting to design games and gamefied systems solely for the achiever types of player. The problem of overdesigning for this personality type is that not everyone can win and if you try to widen the winners circle you lose the sense of a authentic win. Moreover there are many more people who aren’t achievers, such as explorers. Explorers help your community drive their understanding of the system. Social games are the dominate form of game design, most games are social games, and are a catalyst for meaningful social interaction. No product has ever failed for being too authentically social.

Zichermann did a deep dive looking at extreme couponing as a game. That lens opens interesting lines of questions such as “Did the supermarkets and brands design the eldergame incorrectly?”

Money is a weak motivator, becoming predictable and a boring reward. If you design the reward architecture of a game properly, the net result will be that the players will view the system as a very interest system (because you know the players and what they find fun.)


Chicago Innovation Awards: Past Winners Showcase: Creating and Leading a Culture of Innovation

Friday, June 15th, 2012

I had a front row seat last night to listen to the past winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards. The room was packed at Red Frog Events. A great panel and good energy.

Some highlights:

They talked up Chicago and 1871 and the importance of environment for innovation.

Harper Reed (Obama for America, former Threadless CTO) said about Threadless “we weren’t trying to be innovative.” And when experts were talking about them as a poster child for crowdsourcing, his response “We wanted to be with our friends.”

Mark O’Connell talked about how SAVO celebrates innovation, each small act.

Tom Kuczmarski talked about the important of building mentoring in Chicago in order to grow an innovation environment.

Everyone on the panel talked about the importance of having a passion for the customer. Whether that customer was themselves or someone else.

Haper Reed also talked about the importance of diversity. Making his point about not just hiring developers that look like him.



GameOn UXA

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

User Experience Architect



Sears Holdings is seeking a User Experience Architect. The ideal candidate should have experience in designing experiences based in or that have strong elements of game play or gamification. Perhaps you brought badging in a project and other innovations that come from game play or gamification. Perhaps you have worked on a a serious game. You see and are inspired by games in what you design.

You will collaborate with a team of other user experience architects, visual designers, copywriters, developers, and business stakeholders. You will be responsible for conducting and analyzing research, gathering business requirements, identifying technology constraints in order to synthesizing intelligent and successful design solutions. This will include collaborating on new design concepts, working on win/win solutions with primary stakeholders, consulting with stakeholders on design enhancements, and working on small/mid-size maintenance projects.

Your responsibilities will include making informed recommendations on design strategies, leveraging best practices, accurately estimating and tracking your time across multiple simultaneous projects, as well as working with the UE staff to develop and document methodologies, standards and best practices for the group.

Currently, we are interested in candidates with 3+ years of demonstrable experience and who have had a background involving large scale web initiatives. The ideal candidate will have exceptional analytical skills, be well versed in user-centered design practices, and can turn business and user requirements into elegant user interfaces and compelling interactive experiences.

All candidates under consideration must be able to present a comprehensive portfolio.


• Generate and maintain detailed design specifications
• Develop new and effective design solutions on time and in scope
• Collaborate with stakeholders to deliver on new business initiatives and platform enhancements
• Develop methodologies, standards and best practices for the group
• Influence strategic interface design direction and concept development in a collaborative and cross-matrixed organization.
• Manage external resources consisting of contractors, design firms and agencies
• Document content structure, page templates, and interfaces
• Develop user interface standards
• Generate and maintain site maps
• Create detailed page-level wireframes and functional specifications
• Conduct user research, profiling and analysis
• Track and analyze customer site behavior/feedback
• Requirements gathering, documenting and tracking
• Process and task flow modeling
• Concept generation and modeling
• Low-fidelity and hi-fidelity prototyping techniques



dennis schleicher
executive producer GameOn