One of the most prominent personalities in gamification, Andrzej Marczewski, wrote in his well-received book Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Unicorn Edition,
“Work is actually very similar to play and even more like games. The main difference is perception.”
I agree with that whole-heartedly. In fact, if we look closer, we will notice that projects, especially those at work, and games have the same components. The following revealing definition of game components by Jane McGonigal in her book Reality Is Broken is known to many:
“What defines a game are the goal, the rules, the feedback system, and voluntary participation. Everything else is an effort to reinforce and enhance these four core components.”
— Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken
I am a business owner, so after reading this, I could immediately see parallels between the projects I was working on for my customers, and games. A contract or an agreement, which my customer and I both sign, contains all four of these components. Each project has a goal, there are specific rules, like how I shall do it and by when. There are reporting and evaluation systems in each contract, which is indeed a feedback system even if the progress is not recorded by getting points or badges. And finally, when my client and I sign the contract and make an agreement, we both demonstrate the free will to participate in that project’s “game.”
The same applies to job contracts which lead to your job “games,” with their goals, rules, feedback system (the regular meetings you most likely have with your boss, before or after which you and your employer provide some kind of evaluation of each other), and both sides demonstrating the voluntary participation by signing the employment contract.
So, any project (or task in that project) is already a game. We just rarely see them that way.
Why do we need to see and treat what we do as games? If we don’t want to see, call, and embrace what we are up to as games, then we won’t be able to “play” them and enjoy them in a similar way to games. Only when we become open to seeing our projects as games, can we identify how we can modify their design to make our “project games” exciting and fun.
Victoria Ichizli-Bartels came up with Self-Gamification, a unique self-help approach uniting anthropology, kaizen, and gamification to increase the quality of life.
Victoria is the author of more than fifteen books (both fiction and non-fiction), coach, and consultant with a background in semiconductor physics, electronic engineering (with a Ph.D.), information technology, and business development. While being a non-gamer, Victoria came up with the new term Self-Gamification, a gameful and playful self-help approach bringing anthropology, kaizen, and gamification based methods together to increase the quality of life. Thanks to this approach, Victoria was able to facilitate and complete multiple complex projects, both for her customers and herself, by simple attitude change toward non-judgmental, lean, and gameful. She is passionate about raising awareness about how Self-Gamification enables effortless recognition and appreciation of the potential and advantages of gamification, serious games, and other game-inspired techniques. Victoria was born in Moldova, lived in Germany for twelve years, and now lives in Aalborg, Denmark, with her husband and two children.
Visit or contact Victoria at