June 01, 2011
Maker Faire 2011 Video Recap in Two PartsBelow is some video that I shot at this year's Maker Faire held in mid-May, broken down into Part I and Part II.
May 17, 2011
FutureMed: Healthcare & Medicine Migrate From Linear Growth to Exponential Growth
I just finished attending a mind blowing event called FutureMed, the medical arm if you like, of Singularity University, which was founded by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil. Director, curator and chair of the program is Daniel Kraft, who together with a dedicated team, brought in some of the smartest creators and thinkers in medicine and healthcare for the 5 day long program.
Ask yourself: what is the impact that exponential technologies will have on medicine and healthcare? What was your initial response? Whether you're a scientist, physician, venture capitalist or biomed executive, the answers are profound because of the fast rate technology is developing, improving and having a direct impact on the "well-being" of our lives.
What's unique about the event is not just the content, which is deep and thought provoking and brings in insights from the top in their fields, but the structure of the event itself. Imagine a combination of panels, lectures and field trips with demos, workshops and breakout sessions all under one roof with only 70 or so attendees.
In other words, the intimacy of the event creates an environment where not only do you have an opportunity to have your answers questioned (and challenged) directly, but you have quality time with the speakers and technology creators, so you can more effectively understand what lies ahead -- and then act upon it. It also means that attendees are vetted, so not only is the speaker line-up phenomenal, but the attendees themselves have a host of honors, accolades and accomplishments, all of which result in an environment where the brightest minds can come together to learn, create and grow. A community is formed in which like-minds in medicine and healthcare can accomplish more together than they can alone in their respective fields. (Below is Peter Diamandis and Daniel Kraft in the first session of Day One).
Challenging the status quo is never easy but if through a combination of persistence, trial and error and really smart, caring and passionate thinkers who want to make a difference, things can change, particularly as you begin to see validation after validation for your thinking (and actions) along the way. In other words, linear thinking "be gone."
As CNET described the environment for participants, "For attendees, who range from executives in the medical field to practicing doctors to entrepreneurs looking for the next area to invest in, and who come from countries all over the world, FutureMed gives access to talks on topics as diverse as personalized medicine; the future of pharma; patient engagement; regenerative medicine; neuromedicine; synthetic biology; the future of medical education; global health and the hospital of the future; and more."
Ray Kurzweil and XPrize founder Peter Diamandis kicked things off with the notion that advances in healthcare and medicine have migrated from linear growth to exponential growth. As recapped so well in the MedGadget summary which you'll find me referencing a number of times because their coverage of the event was so extensive: "One fascinating insight from Ray’s talk was that these exponentially growing advances are often the combination of many different paradigms that grow and develop in a sigmoidal fashion. The exponential growth of computational power per dollar, for instance, is driven by say, vaccum tubes, which start slow, progress extremely rapidly, and then level off, only to be replaced by transistors, which did the same thing until integrated circuits came into the picture. Collectively, even though each of these technological paradigms hit a wall at some point, they were replaced by another advance that allowed the final outcome of computational power to continue to scale exponentially. In proof of this, Ray showed us what seemed to be an exponentially increasing number of charts that demonstrated exponential technological growth."
Another message we heard from many of the speakers, is how low the costs are going, from sensors that we wear and can self diagnose to the world of 3D printing, which using both plastics and metals, doesn't cost more to use.
In addition to 3D printing, Dan Barry talked about one of his favorite topics: robots.
There's no question; robots are getting smarter and smarter. Through sensors, robots are learning how to put objects in the right location and in the right spots within that location, i.e., product placement into a particular location on a particular shelf. "We want to move up the ladder even further," says Barry. "We want robots to not just organize but to sense, throw and manipulate."
Robot's dexterity is improving and their movement is getting more and more fluid. A robot’s hands can correspond to a human’s movements.
Dan gave a useful example of the impact on a human body when they do a space walk. He says, "it takes 4 hours just to get the nitrogen out of our system, but you can do a space walk with a robot through virtual reality and get the job done a lot faster."
He also brought up the social and ethical implications of people who may choose robots as their companions rather than human beings. In the future, robots will become true companions for people who are lonely, have lost their loved ones or generally just want companionship. Hmmm. Not sure about companionship (for me that is), but I definitely get the value of robots in eldercare and have already seen amazing advancements coming out of Willow Garage, where their PR2s are being trained to put dishes away, set the table and clean among other things.
On the Data Driven Healthcare panel, Stanford University's Dan Riskin talked about the convergence of devices. Says Riskin, "We’re able to take these platforms, such as an iPhone or a computer system, pull together valuable information and make it really useful. We’re seeing an innovation shift to mature platforms."
As for devices and technology, medical intervention will become an app. In fact, it's already starting to happen. Apps will be prescribed just like medication, i.e, welldoc shows a decrease in diabetics problems (a 4 fold benefit from an app than using medications alone).
We also heard about a perspective on the fundamental flaws of the RCT, which included things like the long term nature of it (often a decade to change care), the high expense (not affordable without support), the fact that it can be biased (selected based on drug and device firms) and lastly, that they're poorly generalizable. It’s just not working and ineffective.
Other apps are able to extract words/language that a patient uses and put them into a matrix to show how these words relate to each other, i.e., fever, nausea, chest tightness. The power of analytics is helping the doctor make a diagnosis by structuring a record so that he/she has more data and beyond that, some actual “meaning” within that data.
An example that was given was a test they did with a small group of patients who got re-admitted into the hospital. They did an analysis and discovered what contributed to people being re-admitted to the hospital and more importantly, why. The results helped with quality improvement and flow of data.
A force behind eLegs is Iceland-born Eythor Bender from Berkeley Bionics. They augment humans with wearable, artificially intelligent bionic devices called exoskeletons. Below is a young man demonstrating it to the FutureMed audience, showing how flexible and dynamic his world has become using their technology. Since visuals (and patient feedback) is most powerful, check out their YouTube channel for stories and use cases and their eLegs FAQ for the hows and whys. All I can say is: inspiring. There are no words for the rest.
Healthtap founder Ron Gutman pushed the need to unite consumers and physicians in personal health – both the data and the conversation. In other words, get physicians into the game and allow them to particate in the conversation so they can access this data in real time and better help their patients. The two step approach involves creating an infrastructure, then getting the physicians to engage with the data so its always up to-date and therefore relevant. It’s essentially a database that combines data, conversations, and personalization around the patient so the physician can be more effective in their care and decisions.
Sutha Kamal talked about feedback loops, which was a constant theme throughout the program. If I (a patient), can access data in real time through a wearable sensor and make sense of that data, then I can help my doctor better understand what is happening with my health over time. Feedback loops provoke action. (also refer to the beginning of my TEDxSV post where Wired's Chris Anderson talks about the same thing citing examples).
If you have no "meaning" from the data, then essentially you have a "broken" feedback loop. Data without meaning doesn't move a patient to take the right action OR have the right conversations with their doctors and other experts. "When you get this data, that data should belong to you," says Kamal. "We want to understand the things that you would adhere to but don’t today. Feedback is personal but meaning needs to be in that personal data so you, the patient, end up doing something with the data."
Ultimately, if you think your body is a “black box,” aka poor health, you’re going to end up getting depressed because you don’t know where to start. In the future, a lot of this gathered data will end up on our phones because they're with us all the time.
Google's Roni Zeiger says, "our cell phones will become our data lens for information about our bodies. You will also be able to access information in real time about the workflow of a hospital and the wait of the line in the emergency room. The patient is at the center of information flow and decision making."
The patient has ALL of the data because they know how they feel better than anyone else does. The data transmitted from a patient's body in the not too distant future, will be used to allow physicians to look at your veins and arteries remotely on a device. Ones and zeros will be flowing back (aka the patient’s data), with analysis so the physicians can make real-time diagnostics and decisions.
It’s happening now with sleep devices and soon it will be happening from a lot of different sources. He also gave examples of smart health realted search queries like “poison control,” which immediately returns the number for the US poison control center, and “suicide,” which displays the number for the US suicide prevention hotline.
Additionally, people are putting their data online, on Twitter, Patients Like Me and in other places and asking people to mine that data in a way that will be useful for their care givers and doctors. The distinction between data and conversations are becoming blurred, and eventually they’ll go away.
Gamification is a natural example, where incentives are given for a a particular behavior. Esther asked: "Where are the HR execs in this conversation?"
There’s an increasing trend in employer benefits where companies can start to engage with employees in innovative ways that has a positive impact on their health.
On reimbursement, McCall suggested that rather than see this as a barrier, think about creative ways to compensate. She noted that “there are ways for these things to pay for themselves.”
Google's Astro Teller gave a fascinating talk about body monitoring. He asserts that body monitoring isn't really about healthcare. "It misses the point," he says. "That way of thinking derails us from understanding what body monitoring can actually become in the future. Fitness people tend to be quantitative nuts. If you drive at the group that makes the most sense, you miss all the other amazing opportunities."
He talked about major obvious opportunities in this space, such as the “patch” which is very small and very cheap. Other trends around body monitoring in the future?
Upselling new pieces of value to the same wearer by showing value and cost effectiveness. Passive monitoring will also be big, he says, because at the end of the day, people don't like to "do" a lot for their health but they do want to be healthy. Passive monitoring allows us to have sensors on our bodies, but we don’t have to think about them. He's spot on about that one.
Monitors can tell us how much time people spend on their computers, their heart beats, the "way" they use something, such as a mouse. By monitoring a "behavior" such as mouse movement, you can get an idea of visual motor quality which is often a result of sleep deprivation or early warnings of Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease.
With sensors, people often ask “what does it measure?” Teller says, "this is not the point. We want the guess/surrogate to be better than it makes the statement about and we want accuracy to be good enough that we can make a better analysis overall about your body."
He also reminded us that while we’ve spent a lot of time sequencing the human genome, we haven’t spent much time sequencing the human lifestyle. Wearable body monitoring isn’t about being quantified, reinforcing his point by saying that "Mary Jo Jane" (aka the average person) doesn’t want to be quantified.
"Wearable body monitoring is about having the right parts of the world know who you are and in what you want and need in a million little ways, in real time, and all the time."
At the end of the day, you want people/things/data to respond to what you need without you having to think about it. AND, there will literally be a million apps for that. (his prediction is 1 million+ apps by 2015).
Check out the CBS Interactive Smart Planet clip for a "short" on Dan Barry's talk. And for incredibly in-depth coverage of the entire event, check out the summaries by MedGadget by the day.
Day One Summary: Ray Kurzweil, Gabor Forgacs, Eythor Bender and more.
Day Two Summary: Eric Schadt, Esther Dyson, Kaiser's Innovation Center.
Day Three Summary: Robert Hariri, Mike West, Autodesk and more.
Day Four Summary: Andrew Hessel, Philip Low, Intuitive Surgical and more.
Day Five Summary: Erik Rasmussen, Andy Kogelnik, Brad Peterson and Goodbyes.
And let's not forget David Bolinsky and team's incredible animation.
For a mind numbing experience, check out their site for a video that will take you through the human body in the most exciting way you could ever have imagined. (it's a bit like being on a Back to Future ride). Below, a glimpse of the magic they have created for companies, healthcare institutions and hospitals.
Below is a shot from the FutureMed graduation at NASA AMES in Silicon Valley on the last night, a group shot taken during the week and one taken at an after party. And, here are some images I shot from the kick off party, which includes an overview of the program and the first day.
Disclosure: I provided some consulting to FutureMed.
May 17, 2011 in America The Free, Client Announcements, Client Media Kudos, Conference Highlights, Events, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Robotics, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 16, 2011
TEDx Silicon Valley: Anderson, Hogg, Meier and Stein: #tedxsv
Anderson asserts that a data feedback loop can improve behavior as you see real-time stats on the consequences of your actions, whether its from a device or a non-intrustive wearable monitor. Simply by being aware of how your body is affected by your actions, you can improve your performance and lead a healthier life - emotionally and physically.
Feedback loops was a popular theme of many of the speakers, who focused on the growth of sensors which track your patterns and behavior. Bpttom line: once we see value in the feedback we receive from sensors, which continue to come down in price, we can measure everything we do. "Measurement," says Anderson, "quantifies what matters most and through that feedback loop, we can make smarter decisions."
Gamification -- on and offline -- can also be effective and is growing in popularity. Whether its points or rewards we give a child who remembers to brush his or her teeth or badges and coupons to buy things online if we cut out that donut and coffee for five days in a row, the feedback we receive through gamification is validation that we're doing something right or wrong.
Imagine a future where you're measuring nearly everything you do? Tomorrow, your thermometer can let you know when is the most efficient time to run the dishwasher, shaving money off your bill month after month. Today, you can already do quite a bit with measuring devices, right down to measuring stress levels in real time based on who you're talking to. (be prepared bosses, mother-in-laws, accountants, dentists and lawyers - stress meter readings may not be all that pretty).
Chris Hogg reinforced Anderson's message about the importance of data and measurement, particularly as it relates to better health and well being.
He pointed to his 67 year old step father who regularly drinks foul tasting tea and can see a correlation between drinking it and improved health, all of which he tracks on his iPhone.
Patrick Meier gave us a demo of something he referred to as Check-Ins with Purpose.
Country after country, he showed us a mapped location of how check-ins and smart location mapping has helped humanitarian efforts.
Forward wind to the Japanese Tsunami. They created a "crisis map" to help locate missing people, which the Japanese government and other organizations who were providing relief, could access.
The other example he used was Libya, where they created a "social media map" to improve their humanitarian efforts on the ground. Take a look at Libya Crisis Map.net.
The Libya Crisis Map platform was activated by the request of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the Standby Task Force (SBTF). The platform continues to be supported by volunteers.
We can be more effective at helping people than we ever have been able to do in the past with rich geo-location based services and social media tools at our fingertips. We can use Facebook to schedule and post notices, Twitter to coordinate and get the word out and YouTube to share the story in more depth. "These live maps," he says, "are like having helicopters above you so you can see exactly where people are and therefore find them that much faster."
One of the things she has learned from going through the process is to keep your ear to the ground....in other words, listen to voices from the local community. She calls the phenomena they have created, a "global tribe."
Says Lara, "My goals have migrated from how do you create systems and back ends on the ground TO how to we paint the story of this massively global and passionate tribe? The latest stats are staggering: 1,783 past events, 1,002 future events, 101 cities and 46 countries.
A handful of guidelines she has learned include the following: plan for the predictable, be prepared to invent as you learn, don’t get in the way, pave the way of your real time feedback loop, ignore the chorus, be prepared to fail (another theme of speakers), don’t think of it as a part time job, listen to the community on the ground, and follow your moral compass. She adds, "our focus is inspiration and action, not education."
She quoted an attendee who attended a TEDx in a remote area: "I was sitting on the end of the world, huge oil fields surrounded by massive dunes and nothing else, I was surrounded by really smart kids and nothing else." Indeed. That feeling is most definitely is a TED-like moment.
May 16, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 13, 2011
The Human Experience at Stanford: The Role of Humanities in Innovation
On May 11, 2011, leading executive officers and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley industry and Stanford University humanities faculty and doctoral students came together at an event called The Human Experience.
The goal was to have a groundbreaking discussion on the ways in which highly trained, skilled, and creative humanities doctoral students can play a role in Silicon Valley businesses. The idea is to enlist "humanities" in the role of innovation.
The list of topics and speakers below:
Keynote Address: Vivek Ranadivé
Session II: Silicon Valley Entry Points for Humanities Ph.D.s: Google, Social Media, Marketing, Product Design, and More
Keynote Address: Marissa Mayer
Keynote Address: Damon Horowitz
Keynote Address: John Hagel III
Keynote Address: Patrick Byrne
Keynote Address: Michael Moritz
April 19, 2011
Viral Media Experiment #Swagapalooza Hits San Francisco Again
For the second year in a row, I attended the quirky consumer and technology blogger event called Swagapalooza, which they call an experiment in viral media.
In a dark club in San Francisco (DNA Lounge), some of the top bloggers, tweeters, and digital influencers in the areas of mobile, tech, food and lifestyle gathered to watch and judge five-minute auditions from the creators of cool new products, largely targeted at mainstream consumers.
The key here is that the products are actual physical products rather than services and websites, which you so often find at similar events. Some of the products I had a chance to see and play with are listed below:
- Waboba Balls - They bounce off water, so that you can play catch in the pool or ocean. Video of product in action: http://bit.ly/gNw7kQ
- Mimi IQ - Like go fish, but with silly facial expressions. Will be available on Amazon in a few days.
- Crumpled City Maps - Lightweight, waterproof, 12 cities. More info here: http://bit.ly/f0dh2Q
- woDegrees - For every nutrition bar you buy, they give a nutrition pack to a hungry child.
- Sabøteur - The world's first tailored waterproof blazer.
- Transcendent Man - A documentary film about the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil
- Boom Boom! Revolution - A card game you play by performing 'underground acts of guerilla goodness'.
- Grubwith.us - Eat with interesting people!
- FlingsBins - Pop-up recycling and trash bins.
- Stunner of the Month - A subscription sun glasses service that sends you a new pair of 'stunners' every month.
- Fizzies - Instant soda in a tablet, relaunching after 40 years.
- SwipeGood - Round up your purchases. Donate the change to charity.
- SourFlour - Building community through bread. (I just finished my loaf and I have to say, it went fabulously well with my homemade chicken soup I had waiting for me at home).
April 17, 2011
Build Your Dreams at Do-It-Yourself Workshop TechShop
I recently learned about a fabulous concept called TechShop during the Singularity University Executive Program at NASA. (Singularity has a fabulous event coming up on the Future of Medicine btw -- there's even a contest to win a full scholarship).
TechShop allows you to build anything you desire, anything you've ever dreamed up, anything you'd like to invent. How cool is this?
It is a membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a community of creative and supportive people so they can build the things they have always wanted to make.
You can think of TechShop like a fitness club, but with tools and equipment instead of exercise equipment. It is sort of like a Kinko's for makers, or a Xerox PARC for the rest of us.
TechShop is perfect for inventors, makers, hackers, tinkerers, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, youth groups, FIRST robotic teams, arts and crafts enthusiasts, and anyone else who wants to be able to make things that they dream up but don't have the tools, space or skills.
They provide you with access to a wide variety of machinery and tools including milling machines and lathes, welding stations and a CNC plasma cutter, sheet metal working equipment, drill presses and band saws, industrial sewing machines, hand tools, plastic and wood working equipment including a 4' x 8' ShopBot CNC router, electronics design and fabrication facilities, Epilog laser cutters, tubing and metal bending machines, a Dimension SST 3-D printer, electrical supplies and tools, and pretty much everything you'd ever need to make just about anything.
They encourage you not to be afraid to try new things, whether it is welding, using a milling machine, working with fabrics and leather or plastics, or cutting keyways in a gear.
April 07, 2011
Submit Your Prediction for the Future of Health & Medicine to Win Scholarship to FutureMed, Singularity University’s Future of Medicine Program
FutureMed today launched a contest to attend its newly launched executive program dedicated to where exponential technologies, medicine, healthcare and biomedicine collide and are headed.
FutureMed is held at Singularity University on the NASA-Ames Research Park in Mountain View, CA May 10-15, 2011.
Imagine experiencing an interactive and highly personalized Renaissance-like week, full of some of the best intellectual and innovative brains in medicine and technology under one roof, in an intimate setting.
Through a series of faculty speakers, panels, hands on experiences, site visits, in-depth workshops, and late night discussions, participants will complete this intensive 5-day program with new relationships and insights into unmet needs and opportunities that will transform the world of healthcare, from wellness and prevention to diagnosis and therapy.
Designed for entrepreneurs, innovators, executives, and physicians (CME credit offered), the FutureMed program is bringing together some of the smartest and most talented leaders and visionaries in technology, science and healthcare to examine the intersection of convergent exponential technologies and their game-changing potential to transform all aspects of health and medicine over the next 20 years.
FutureMed covers diverse areas such as genomics, the digitization of health data, regenerative medicine, neuromedicine, brain computer interfaces, gene therapy, robotic interventions, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, bioinformatics, synthetic biology and more.
The faculty includes some of the world’s most distinguished leaders in their respective fields, including Stanford, Berkeley & Harvard trained oncologists, stem cell researchers, preventative medicine pioneers, surgeons, entrepreneurs and scientists. Speakers include Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, Dean Ornish, Esther Dyson, Daniel Kraft, Thomas Goetz, David Ewing Duncan, Tim O’Reilly and a host of others.
Singularity University (SU) was co-founded by Ray Kurzweil, futurist, inventor and author of "The Singularity Is Near," and Dr. Peter Diamandis, chairman and founder of the X-PRIZE. SU's mission is to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders to facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies with the goal of addressing humanity's grand challenges. A Graduate Studies Program is held each summer and week long Executive Programs are also held quarterly. You can also check out and follow FutureMed on Twitter and Facebook.
March 29, 2011
Web 2.0 Expo: Conversations on Technology Business Models & Beyond
The event showcases the latest Web 2.0 business models, development paradigms, products, and design strategies for the builders of the next-generation Web. They also do a similar event in New York every year, where they feature influential keynotes and speakers, detailed workshops, a Startup Showcase, and an Expo show floor with booths.
To give you a taste of some of the sessions and workshops, take a look at their entire schedule or a glimpse below:
March 29, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Blogging, On Innovation, On Search, On Social CRM, On Technology, San Francisco, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 18, 2011
Levy's WIRED Piece: Larry Page wants to Return Google to its Startup Roots
Steve Levy's Wired piece that came out today is a must read. Entitled Larry Page Wants to Return Google to its Start-up Roots, it takes us back to 12 years ago when Google was first funded.
Two excerpts from his piece:
"Now, after a 10-year run in which Google’s revenues grew from less than $100 million to almost $30 billion, Page is finally CEO again, a role he always felt he could handle. The general public may not appreciate the magnitude of the change—to most, Page is just one of the seemingly interchangeable pair of wacky “Google guys.” But Page is sui generis and could potentially have the kind of impact Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have had. Nobody better encapsulates Google’s ambitions, its ethics, and its worldview. At the same time, Page can be eccentric, arrogant, and secretive. Under his leadership, the company will be even harder to predict."
And, on what Google 'could' look like with Page back in the CEO position:
"If history is any guide, Page’s idealistic impulses could result in a vaster, more sprawling company. In 2008, Google participated in an FCC auction for radio spectrum to be used for mobile broadband. By the terms of the auction, if the spectrum was sold above a certain price, the winner would have to allow other companies to run devices on their networks—something Google strongly favored but that telecom companies dearly hoped to avoid. Google executives worried that the telecoms would conspire to keep bidding below that baseline price. So the company got involved in a high-stakes game of chicken. Google would bid on the spectrum, high enough to get it over the threshold, and then bow out. It left Google potentially vulnerable; if nobody else topped its bid, the company would be stuck with a multibillion-dollar piece of spectrum that it was unequipped to exploit. “Google definitely wanted to lose,” the company’s chief economist, Hal Varian, says. To Google’s great relief, Verizon did top its bid, and the company was off the hook."
Seth Priebatsch on Game Mechanics, LBS, Education & Meaning at SXSWSeth Priebatsch who calls himself the Chief Ninja at a company with no vowels: SCVNGR! gave a keynote at the recent SXSW in Austin this past week. Talk about a mouthful....not a name I'll ever remember but luckily his energy and conviction was addictive and engaging. He discussed gamification, location-based services, social media engagement and more as it related to businesses, in education and beyond.
Seth talked about education. School is broken because while it is perfect for ‘game mechanics’ it doesn’t work because there is no engagement in schools. "Kids are bored," says Seth. "Engagement is a critical concept that any good game designer thinks a lot about. When you replace the real reward, i.e., learning for learning sake, with something that feels like a chore, i.e., getting a grade, kids get bored. Right now, grades are a simple game mechanic in education and that’s how we reward today. Grades are naïve implementation of a status mechanic. The problem with grades is that it’s a game where you can lose and in education, you don’t want anyone to lose."
He challenges the audience with this question: “Why not create a grading dynamic based on progressions? Rather than grade on a particular test or one experience, you grade and give points based on progression – focusing on the positive. In this scenario you can’t fail, it’s more how quickly do you move from x points to y points, starting with zero experience for everyone. The idea is to have kids focus on the end result and on progression rather than grades."
He then dissected Groupon and explored various game mechanics, what works and why:
Free Lunch - this is one of the most subtle game mechanics in the deck. It plays off consumers own skepticism. We’ve been taught that no free lunch exists, but what we see with Groupon, we see something that is too good to be true. With Groupon, the free lunch is justified, i.e., so many people need to sign up and if they do, we get the free lunch. The brilliance of what Groupon has done is that they can present the free lunch, play off the consumer’s skepticism, but guaranteed that the consumer doesn’t have to take any action to do it.
Communal Game Play – based on the idea that you can give anyone a complex problem, you can solve it using a community. As a community, if you share the deal with your friends, together you all win. Groupon uses this game mechanic as a kickstarter.
The Countdown – whenever you see a deal on Groupon, you see a countdown, which is a game mechanic that creates a spike in activity as you get closer to countdown zero.
Loyalty: the idea of being a regular, i.e., Norm at Cheers. American Express uses status really well, making you feel really special every time you move to the next level with different colored cards (progression game mechanics).
The Level Up Game Mechanic: unlocking a higher reward. You have different levels, i.e., good, better, best. Levels one and two are locked, they can see them but not have them. New comers move to regulars and they receive rewards for leveling up.
Inclusive Ownership - Exclusive ownership means that you get the benefit from owning something and no one else can benefit from it, i.e., the game of Risk is a great example. Inclusive ownership are group owners – everyone gets a benefit. Community gains from a group checking into a place.
Reward Schedules – the idea behind reward schedules is ‘what do I get for doing this?’ Everyone has introduced something you get for doing something, i.e., badges, lotteries, free drinks, points at a place, something that allows you to engage with a place. Rewards actually work really well.
Communal game play and communal discovery - The idea behind this is that you give a complex problem to a group of people and the community solves it together. The mechanics to make a group give something away that will be bad for them in the short term in order to have a better result long term. Decentralized leadership can solve complex problems so much faster than centralized leadership with communal game play mechanics in play.
People want to be part of something epic and work harder tha you normally would because you’re fully engaged and you want to be part of something greater than yourself. In other words, a Global problem with a local solution.
He also used examples by getting the audience involved in games he created to prove his points. Have a listen: