Interview with Céline Berger | Focusing on Development, Education & Awareness using Gamification

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Interview with Céline Berger

Our guest for today is regarded as one of the most influential women in GamificationCéline Berger. Her contributions to the Gamification industry are enormous, and this is why we’re not just interviewing her, but also celebrating the efforts and hard work of Ms. Berger.

Celine Berger is the Founder & CEO of RécréAction, a unique business, which was started in 2002, specializing in innovative educational game designs and communication. RécréAction won the VivaTech 2017 Smart City challenge and was also involved with Engage for Success – a Cross Cultures Subgroup.

Celine prides herself on continually thinking outside the box to inspire and stimulate people to achieve their desires and encourage team building to the benefit of all involved.

At the same time, she works with companies to engage their employees to improve internal communication across the board.

1. What does the term “Gamification” mean to you?
Gamification, to me, means making learning fun and more effective. My motto has always been: “Learn by playing.

My goal is to use Gamification to create a friendly environment where people feel safe and confident in learning and collaborating together. An environment where we can share meaning, goals, and rules that are transparent and same for everybody, where it feels ok to question and make a mistake, where we can experiment and learn from feedback and improve.

2. Tell us about RécréAction and the concept/idea behind its inception?
Twenty-five years ago, I realized that SPORTS, MUSIC, ART were powerful team-building tools because they were capitalizing on common points/tastes of the people. My passion has always been Art and Performing Art.

So to foster well-being and collaboration in teams, I decided to use fun and creative approaches such as ILLUSTRATIONS, VIDEO, GAMES & THEATER, to bring people together and:

  • Inspire them to think better and act differently
  • Make them happier & more effective
  • Shape perceptions and motivate new behaviors through simple communication.

In 1998, I started designing concepts and ideas for children that were both entertaining and educational, like treasure hunts in museums using games as a means of cultural and artistic awakening. Then, I adapted this concept and replicated it to the business world: a powerful, stimulating, and innovative tool to onboard new employees.

I also advised French councils on the creation and program of shows, using performing arts as a means of social cohesion.

So it was only natural that in 2002, I set up my company RécréAction offering VIDEO, ILLUSTRATIONS, THEATER & GAMES as communication tools to organizations.

3. Can you discuss some of the challenges that you had to face during the initial phase of the company?
“Gamification can not be taken seriously. Gamification can’t help my company. While we are facing such challenging issues, how can a game help me? If people can only play and have fun, how can they take my job seriously?“

It was hard to convince decision-makers, heads of HR, or people who were experiencing similar challenges that playing with a smart collective game could lead their team to be more collaborative and engaged. This can also help their decision-making and improve team performance.

Nowadays, some decision-makers still think that in order to speak seriously about issues such as Health & Safety, their messages should be straight and monotonous.

4. What are the elements of a well-designed learning game? What is it like developing a game at RécréAction.
A well-designed learning game must address the issues experienced by the users. Such a game can only be developed based on a serious audit and not based on assumptions.

A good and close collaboration with the client is, therefore, a necessity to better understand their real needs and problems such as the cost of the project, what solutions are most fit for them, and what will work as opposed to what will not.

You need answers to these questions before moving forward: Who will be the users of the game? What will they like to accomplish? What do they want? What are their constraints? …

It is only after this discovery phase that we can develop the game, invent a story, and get the users on board. Doing this will help define missions and encourage users to move forward in the game and progress, add elements of fun and reward…

With this methodology, we make sure that the users are on track to accomplish their mission and achieve the client’s goals.

5. Talk to us about “Play Stay Safe” and what you hope to accomplish through this game.
“Play Stay Safe” is a unique Mobile Game Training solution that allows people belonging to the Transport and Logistics industry to train any time, anywhere.

It is a practical App to review essential health & safety rules for operators and temporary workers.

Users play a 3-minute video-game every day focused on good practice. To make it engaging, players choose their avatar, become immersed in a real-life scenario, and make decisions. They receive feedback and bite-sized lessons. They measure their performance, gain points, and progress on the leaderboard.

With Play Stay Safe, we help industries to reduce the number of work accidents. 

With a simple mobile phone, we help to recreate a fun learning routine and create emulation around good practices. We develop shared vigilance and responsibility, so employees start changing their vision of risk and their practices.

After a 3-week campaign on 100 Schenker France’s sites we had auspicious results

– 97% of players liked our App.

– 86% played daily for three weeks

-76% have changed their vision of risk

– 31% have changed at least one practice

6. How can you decide which intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to use for your gamification program?
To be honest, it depends on different parameters (client objectives, audience, project, constraints, etc.) since finding intrinsic motivators is not an easy task. It’s the “Grail” for game designers, decision-makers, coaches, trainers, teachers…!

In addition, it’s not easy to connect with the right players to collect the correct information. In essence, sometimes decision-makers/directors think that they know what is best for their users or are too scared by their employees’ judgment to let us organize interviews/surveys. It depends on the kind of project we are working on, the relationship we have with the client, and the results we want to achieve.

For a one-off event with a specific task to perform, extrinsic motivators can work well and are quicker to set up.

7. Can you share with us the best model of gamification you have seen so far? What was so different in their framework or model?

SKEYM ( www.skeym.it)

It’s a smart video game that measures people’s potential in companies.

The man behind the idea is Salvatore Mica. What I found very interesting about SKEYM is their way to immerse candidates into storytelling, thus putting them on ease so that they can perform at their best and reveal their real personality. The main focus is placed on soft skills and attitudes to assess people’s talents while they play. Based on the choices that the candidate makes during the 20-minute game session, the system analyzes the parameters and measures the player’s potential, predict his performance and areas of improvement.

8. Any predictions of this industry? (What change are you expecting in the foreseeable future?)
Even if more and more people develop a positive perception about gamification and even if some companies start to integrate gamification into their training, there is still a lot of room for improvement, especially in the world of education where the more the students are stressed and anxious the less they are engaged and successful at school.

Schools (secondary schools) need to reinvent themselves to make learning as fun and enjoyable as it was when we were little. Gamification could help to make a positive difference in terms of motivating young minds to increase knowledge and develop skills.

9. Name a few influencers that you think have helped you understand or increase your knowledge about gamification.
Salvatore Mica, a gamification designer, has been so inspirational that when I first met him three years ago, we decided to start working together, and he became my business partner soon after.

Olivier Ménégol, a talented illustrator I have been working with for 20 years. He has assisted me in most of my projects.

Matthew Syed, author of “Bounce.”

Carol Dweck, author of “Growth Mindset.”

10. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone entering gamification, what would it be?
Read everything you can to understand what drives people’s behaviors, fosters learning, motivates entrepreneurs to grow, and achieve what they want most. Always put yourself in the shoes of the final-user before making a decision.

11. Could you share a picture of your workspace with our readers?

Workstation of Céline Berger

You can also check myCred’s WordPress Gamification add-ons that are built to increase website user engagement.

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