Today, we will be interviewing Alper Berber, who is not only a gamification designer but also an accomplished consultant, trainer, and GameStorm performer with a career built on helping organizations adopt gamification in the right way.
Alper teaches fundamentals to all levels in the organizations and helps design the organizational principles-practices-tools for enterprise engagement.
Alper Berber is currently working as a Gamification Designer for BrandNewGame Turkey, where he has performed ‘gamified solution analysis and future forecasting framework‘ GameStorm sessions for organizations to determine their behavioral needs corresponding with their goals and problems.
One of his best works includes helping develop the T.A.L.E.N.T Hold’em card game that provides transparency among members of organizations and teams.
Alper’s gamification experience in Turkey is well received around the globe. Without further ado, let’s start the interview.
Before we start the interview, we want to tell our audience about your Gamification journey. Can you please write a little on what intrigued you about gamification and what your personal experience has been so far?
While working for a company, a few friends and I started working on a fashion application. We were asking questions and researching how our users could use our product more and recommend it to others.
In these researches, we met with gamification. The application did not last long, but getting acquainted with gamification was of great value for us.
Before dealing with gamification commercially, I used gamification in my own life on many subjects, such as exercising and healthy eating.
1- What does the term “Gamification” mean to you?
Gamification is the conscious use of the motivating features of games in non-game areas. Thus, any experience, professional or personal, can be turned into a game. People’s motivation, adaptation, and interest increase. As a result, productivity and quality are increased.
Every year, humanity uses millions of people’s lifetimes in games. Without expecting a tangible response. Can you imagine the motivation that games provide?
2- What inspired you to start working as a “Gamification Pioneer”?
I don’t remember if I had any inspiration.
When you can do something, and you enjoy it. You push yourself to do better. This challenge has brought me to where I am today.
The idea of making a positive impact on people’s lives, rather than an inspiration, fires me up.
3- Tell us about your day-to-day activities as a Gamification Designer for BrandNewGame Turkey.
The day starts with a daily meeting. Then I begin to do the work of the day. This can be checking reports and designing the next steps for a gamification consultancy, designing training, entering meetings, writing, researching, brainstorming for gamification ideas, etc.
In fact, one day of my life is not much like the next.
4- What motivated you to write a book on Gamification? Also, why did you specifically choose D6 gaming and Octalysis under the Gamestorm section? Do you have any collaboration with the company?
At first, my original intention was to create a resource for myself.
I’ve done a lot of work with gamification. I was jotting down my experiences from them. At the same time, I was doing theoretical studies. Over time, the resource has grown enormously. The book was created by itself. Then I did some editing.
I actually put D6 and Octalysis in the book as a separate framework from Gamestorm. In my opinion, the frameworks I chose are the best frameworks in the world. In addition to these, 9 Steps that we use can be added.
We do not cooperate with the owners of these frameworks. But we interact in our events or in activities such as writing a book.
5- What is the scope of gamification in Turkey, and what are the best gamification examples you think everyone should adopt to excel in their businesses?
The scope of gamification expanded a lot until a few years ago. Our activities with Gamification Turkey also contributed a lot to this expansion. Thanks to the entire Gamification Turkey team.
In addition, the successful works we have done as BrandNewGame Turkey have also helped increase the confidence in gamification. We had come to the period when we received awards from the period when the meaning of the word gamification was unknown.
For example, we won the 3rd prize in the Big Data & Analytics category at the IDC Turkey Finance Technology Awards with a project for which we provided consultancy to Koçfinans Company, with the Performance-Based Gamification Application Development Project for Sales Personnel.
In my opinion, there is no gamification design that everyone can take and immediately integrate into themselves or their organization. Each gamification design will create different needs from person to person, from institution to institution. If you don’t show this sensitivity, it will be challenging to do a perfect job.
You can buy trousers in a store. You can also have tailor-made trousers according to your waist and leg length. No matter how much you like what you buy from the store, the tailor-made will fit you much better with everything.
I recommend tailor-made gamification designs. Of course, sometimes it may be more convenient to buy trousers from the store.
Rather than a gamification example, if people put gameful thinking into their lives and companies, they can benefit greatly.
6- How would you create a borderline between gaming and the finance industry? And how would one incorporate gaming elements into the finance industry?
I have a financial background. I studied economics at university. I have worked in finance for many years. I can say that finance is a self-explanatory game. The risks you take in games and the risks you take in finance are different. If you fail the game, you can start over. However, your financial failures can upset you deeply.
This distinction, in my opinion, constitutes the boundary between them. And it creates a perception as if finance is not a game.
For example, I bought 200 TL worth of Bitcoin, and now I’m losing it. If this figure had not been so small, perhaps I would not have been as comfortable as I am now. However, this does not obscure the fact that finance is playful.
7- We would love to know about the current goals on which you’re working. Would you mind giving us some insights on your latest projects?
Recently, we designed gamification for the customers of a large automotive company in Turkey to demonstrate the safest driving.
I mentioned the award we received for sales gamification. With this gamification study, we have ensured that people who have never sold some insurance products before making continuous sales.
We designed a game for CCI where they can spread the MVP culture within their own body. We developed a project for Anadolu Hayat Emeklilik, an insurance company, to make more use of the mobile application. We also design gamified interactive videos.
8- What changes do you want to see in the next five years? Any future predictions of this industry?
In the next five years, I want to see gameful thinking as a sought-after feature in job postings, just like the agile mindset is now. How Agile has reached an indispensable position right now. I would like gamification to come to such a position. I guess that it will.
What would you definitely not change? You need to be a consumer of games if you want to really understand games and gamification. You can’t do it effectively without playing games.
9- If you could give one piece of advice to the people starting in the gamification industry, what would it be?
This job requires a lot of sweat and sacrifice. You have to take this into account. You will enter a game adventure. The avatar is you. The more you increase your skills, the more success you will get. The more success you achieve, the more you benefit people.
Always have this in mind – Don’t prioritize money. If so, you probably won’t win.
10- Name a few of your mentors, influencers, or friends you think have helped you understand or increase your knowledge about gamification.
There are a lot of people who have helped or inspired me in my career. Still, the names I want to mention here include Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (The person who inspires me the most), Ahmet Akdağ, Fırat İçmeli, Kubilay Kecin, Bart Hufen, Sinan Öz, Şahin Berber, Kevin Werbach, Johan Huizinga.