The Octalysis Framework

The Octalysis Framework

Hallo Helden!

The Octalysis Framework is motivation put into a framework. It’s powerful, intuitive after learning and most importantly it’s practical. You’ll see!

So the Octalysis Framework was created by Yu-Kai Chou the top-guy in Gamification. It aims to separate human motivation into eight Core Drives and put them in an octagonal shape. See below.

The Octalysis Framework by Yu-Kai Chou

The eight Core Drives namely are:

  1. Epic Meaning and Calling
  2. Development and Accomplishment
  3. Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback
  4. Ownership and Possession
  5. Social Influence and Relatedness
  6. Impatience and Scarcity
  7. Unpredictability and Curiosity
  8. Loss and Avoidance

Each person reacts differently to motivation triggered to these Core Drives. Some are more motivated by something that triggers Development and Accomplishment, others by Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback and so on. In the following, we will look deeper into what they mean. These eight Core Drives can be used to analyse experiences and motivation.

Epic Meaning and Calling

Epic Meaning and Calling, the first Core Drive incorporates motivation derived from the player’s belief that they are chosen to do something, that they are doing something that is greater than themselves.

Take Wikipedia for an example. There are brave people devoting many hours of their lives for free to edit and monitor Wikipedia to keep humans knowledge safe and free of errors. Because they believe in the greater good behind Wikipedia!

Development and Accomplishment

Core Drive 2, Development and Accomplishment, is what drives the players to make progress, develop skill, accomplish new things and overcoming challenges. This Core Drive is what the common use of points, badges and leaderboards are focussing.

Imagine someone working hard to win a challenge, get a new job position, gain status and power, these players are strongly motivated by Core Drive 2.

Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback

This Core Drive (3), Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback, motivates people in that they can use their creativity to solve tasks, create new things, try different combinations and strategies to win, accomplish or do something.

Chess and drawing are good examples that trigger this Core Drive. Oftentimes a good mechanic in Core Drive 3 is what keeps players motivated for long times. Minecraft is another brilliant example of how CD3 (Core Drive 3) can motivate people through creativity. The players can freely build whatever they can imagine and see the outcome of their creativity.

Ownership and Possession

Ownership and Posession make up the next Core Drive. CD4 is all about stuff the player owns, puts time into etc. A virtual avatar or profile is an example. After putting lot of effort into it, customizing, updating, adding pictures, the players has a sense of ownership about it, which motivates him further to keep it up to date, put more effort into it and protect it.

A car or house are other things that motivate through Core Drive 4. Since the car, house, etc. belongs to you, you feel ownership about it and are motivated to clean, reapair and maintain it.

Social Influence and Relatedness

The next Core Drive (5), Social Influence and Relatedness, is what makes social media platforms successful as they are. Social Influence and Relatedness is all about motivation for the player through social interaction, conformity and peer pressure amongst others.

Playing with (virtual) friends can make a game/activity motivating on its own. You are in contact with others, can exchange ideas, collaborate, create and strengthen relationships or get appreciation from others.

Bragging about something in social media is also a form of CD5.

A good example of CD5 is also conformity, so acting, believing, behaving as others do. There was a study in a hotel, where they observed the tendency of guests to reuse towels. The study went somewhat like this, don’t pin me down on the exact numbers 😀

They did several scenarios the first one was without a sign about the towel reuse as a reference.

The second was that in the bathroom of the hotel room was a sign saying 80% of the people don’t reuse their towel, and this is bad for the environment.

The third scenario was a sign saying that 80% of the guests in this hotel room reuse their towels.

What is your guess? How did the guests react?

Compared to no sign, in the second scenario actually more people did NOT reuse their towels, because most people don’t do it. The third was exactly the opposite. More people reused their towels when they read that most people (80%) in the room reused their towel.

Impatience and Scarcity

For Core Drive 6 we have Impatience and Scarcity awaiting us. The player is motivated through time restrictions, a (seemingly) scarce availability of a good and other things.

Take Candy Crush as an example. You only have a certain amounts of lives, tries to play, after that you either have to weight or pay money. This creates impatience, because the user wants to play but can’t. Hence motivating him to come back later.

Scarcity and Impatience are also seen in offers that are only available for a limited time and/or a limited version of a good. Take a special version of a cloth brand or of a car or a limited offer that is only available for the next 24 hours. These are all examples utilizing CD6 to drive the player to action.

Unpredictability and Curiosity

As the name implies, Unpredictability and Curiosity, Core Drive 7 is all about uncertainty and triggering the curiosity of the players.

Gambling is relying a huge part on this Core Drive. The outcome is random and therefore not predictable. Even though the change is small you have a probability to win.

There are also things with a less negative conotation than gambling. Think of a mystery box or a just a dice. You know that you will get something but don’t know what exactly.

Loss and Avoidance

Core Drive 8, Loss and Avoidance. This Core Drive is motivating many players to act, to avoid loss and/or pain.

Take the sunk cost prison as an example, well known in the project management area. Sunk costs are all the costs, money, time, resources you have already put into a game, project, business, studies, website and what so ever. Often then the player keeps on going because, “Oh, I already have invested so much into this. It would all be in vain If I’d to stop now.” A perfect example of a fallacy. The resources spent have nothing to do with if you should keep going or not. Just keep playing a game, because you already spent thousands of hours and don’t want them to be wasted, will only create more of them. Keeping on with building an airport because there were already been billions invested. Investing another million into a business highly likely to fail because you already invested several million before.

These are all examples of the sunk cost prison derived from the CD8 Loss and Avoidance.

This is not the end though, other examples are to work in your job even though you hate it because you want to avoid the insecurity of quitting, not having enough money to live. Or why you don’t go into a car with a drunk person driving. You don’t want to lose your life.

Putting it into Practice

Now, after the theory. Let’s put it into practice, my heroes!

Depending on what you want to achieve and how much time you want to put into it, you can make the analysis and followed an application to enhance an experience more depth or shallow.

Quickly want to improve a presentation with the Octalysis Framework? Think about what the listeners are probably motivated by, what motivated them to come to your presentation, what motivates them in their lives besides that. Just quickly go through the eight Core Drives and think of which are probably apparent the strongest for the audience. And now put techniques into place to directly tackle these Core Drives.

They are coming to your presentation to enhance their career? That’s probably a high part of Core Drive 2 Development and Accomplishment involved. How could you make use of CD2 in your presentation? Point out how wise the decisions of them are, challenge them throughout the presentation with questionnaire etc. and highlight and let them celebrate the completion of them. In the summary or throughout include what already has been learnt and what big step in their development that is. Give them new powers throughout the presentation, let them earn the right to ask questions after a certain portion is done and they participated well in a challenge. These are some things that just came to my mind while writing.

Is your audience curious because you’re presenting something uncommon, out of context etc.? Then try to also trigger that CD7 during the presentation! Invoke unpredictability through random events you built into. An alarm suddenly going off, getting a call, or just through some unpredictable changes in your presentation. Promise them to experience something meaningful at the end, and then of course deliver. This is a form of a random reward, a mystery box for the audience. Use dice to find out, which topic or question you’ll tackle next. Let them give guesses about something at the beginning and don’t reveal it until later in the presentation.

This thinking can potentially be used in every experience! Does that mean you have to use it in every experience? No, of course not. But when you want to create more engagement, motivation and fun, try to use what you just learnt and come up with things to trigger motivation!

Alright, heroes, that was definitely not the last time you saw me writing about the Octalysis Framework! There is more to explore about the Framework itself as well as examples and practical tips on how to using it in your project, real-life and so on.

Which experience in your or your user’s life can you spice up with the Octalysis Framework? Comment down below!

Until next time, my heroes. I’m Out!

Stay heroic!

Until next time!

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  1. Pingback: How to Gamify your Sales. Part 1: Qualify, Business Metrics and Employees. – Thorsten's Blog

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