The Outstanding Gamification 2018 Awards: Part 2— The Intermission

20th September 2018

Last time, we kicked off this award by outlining the 7 categories of awards this year and specifying the submission requirement. Today, it’s time to dive into the details and talk about how you can win. So there will be rules and calculations (don’t worry, they are very simple). But there will also be a lot of fun and even a bit of mystery.

I am not going to make this just an award where people simply vote and see who wins. Since we are all gamification practitioners, we need to stretch our creativity and drink our own champagne to make this more fun. So let’s begin!

The Rules: How to Win

The scoring of the submissions will happen in 2 rounds:

  • The initial round
  • The finalist round

The scoring of the initial round will be based on 2 components. Both of these will be scored on how well you present your work and it will be purely based on the video entry alone:

  • Popular vote: The number of “Likes” you get on the video at the moment when the submission closes on Oct 18th, 12:01am Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
    Note: “Dislikes” are NOT counted. This is to avoid participants from sabotaging each other by giving each other Dislikes.
  • Judges vote: The panel of judges’ scores

In order to reduce biases resulting from the different grading scales used by the judges, all scores (both the Likes, and judges’ scores) will be converted to ranks. Some judges may be a tough grader and will everyone is under 80% on a 0—100% scale, whereas another judge may be a lenient grader and everyone is getting 7, 8, 9, or 10 stars with several entries all getting 10 stars. These individual differences will be normalized out with the use of rank order statistics. It doesn’t matter if you get a 100% or 50%, if you are at the top, you get rank #1. Likewise, it doesn’t matter if you get a million Likes or 1000 Likes, if you have the most number of Likes, you rank is 1. And if you are a second place (doesn’t matter if you have 999 Likes or 50), your rank is 2, and so on.

After converting the 2 components of the scores to ranks, the result is averaged, across the judges, and then averaged again across the 2 components. Thus, all of the judges’ votes together have the same weight as the popular scores. The top 3 ranks (i.e. the lowest 3 ranks) are chosen as the finalist that goes into the finalist round.

The finalist round will be scored on 3 components by the panel of judges, and they are:

  • Impact: What is the end result(s) achieved? What is the ROI?
  • Creativity: What is the game mechanic used? Did they use novel game elements, interesting playful designs, or it's just plain old points, badges, and leaderboards?
  • Design: Are the presentation and visual elements well designed? Do they contribute positively to the engagement of the gamification?

Again, the judges will score each component for each of the finalists. The component scores will be converted to ranks again before we apply a weighted averaging to the final rank. The precise weights are not disclosed right now to avoid the finalists from gaming the system using their Golden Tickets to get a Quantum Leap (see section below). But I can say that the 3 components are fairly even in their weighting, and certainly no 1 component is dominant. And the winner will obviously be the one with the lowest averaged rank in each category. I will demonstrate how the scores are being compiled at the award ceremony.

The Fun: Golden Tickets and Magic Boosters

Now, these rules should be straightforward. But where is the fun in that? For gamification practitioners, “straightforward” is borderline boring. Since we are all gamification experts, with the help of my panel of judges, we have designed this award with an interesting spin. So here is the twist!

Each finalist will get a Golden Ticket. What can you do with the golden ticket? You can choose 1 of the following:

  • Second Chance: You can choose 1 of the judges to be your coach on how to improve your video and resubmit it 1-week after the initial round closes. So the deadline for Second Chance re-submission is Oct 26th.
  • Quantum Leap: You can apply a 1-rank jump to ONLY ONE component (either Impact, Creativity, or Design) of your score before the final averaging. You must choose which component to which you want to apply the Quantum Leap.
  • Do nothing: If you are so confident that you are going to kickass, you don’t have to do anything. But keep in mind that others will likely choose one of the above to improve their odds of winning.

Sounds fun, right? But it seems like the finalists are having all the fun. That is not very fair for the judges who are hard at work reviewing all the entries. I’m sure my panel of judges would want to have some fun too. Thus, each judge also has 1 Magic Booster. He or she can apply the Magic Booster to only 1 entry among all the categories and boost them into the finalist round. So if any judge feels strongly about a particular submission that did not make the cut in the initial round, he or she can give it a boost and bring it to the finalist round. Sound exciting? Of course, we are in the gamification industry! Even our awards should be interesting and fun.

But, of course, the judges can also choose to not use their Magic Booster and forfeit that power.

The Tradition: Winners Pay It Forward

Aside from coordinating the logistics, collecting and analyzing the data (which should be fun for a data scientist like me), and also writing this long blog post, plus additional promotional materials along the way, I like to establish some great traditions for this award moving forward. And I thought wouldn’t it be cool if every year’s winners become the judges for the award next year. That way, winning is not just a recognition and promotion of the winners’ work, but it’s also responsibility and service for the gamification community.

This is a natural way for the winners to pay it forward. Not only will they help identify next year’s winners, they will also give them advice and coaching, and tell them stories of how they won the previous years. I hope we can pull this off and continue this tradition in the future.

The intermission:

Are you excited now? As you can see, this is no ordinary award. It is the Outstanding Gamification Award, so there are some outstanding gamification elements built-in to the awards. My panel of judges and I will be dropping tips and advice all along the submission process, so simply by participating, you would have the opportunity to learn something new.

By now, I hope you would have already learned a couple of ways to make a straightforward award more engaging. If you are a data geek, you would have picked up on how to use rank (a.k.a. order statistics) reduce the biases introduced by differences in scoring scale. Remember, whether you win or not, I want everyone to get something from just participating.

So who are my accomplices? Well, aren’t they just last year’s winner? Yes, but nothing is going to be that simple as long as I’m chairing. Stay tuned and find out next week who will be my partners in crime for this amazing award. Come tell your gamification story, and let’s embark on a learning journey together!

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