gamification guru you kai chou

Gamification Gurus: Yu-Kai Chou

Gamification Gurus: Yu-Kai Chou

gamification guru you kai chou

Yu-Kai Chou is often referred to as a pioneer and one of the most prominent experts when it comes to gamification. In 2014 he was rated as the #1 Gamification Guru at the Gamification World Conference, and is a renown author and international keynote speaker.

Needless to say, Chou is someone to follow when it comes to anything related to gamification.

Chou believes in the power of gamification as the first-ever tool to master Human-Focused Design rather than Function-Focused design.

As such, Chou has worked extensively to create a framework that helps analyze and build strategies around the various systems that can make a game fun while providing valuable learning experiences.

In his research, he found that most games today are effective and addictive because they appeal to “Core Drives” in the human brain.

The end result of his research is a framework called “Octalysis”, which frames his 8 Core Drives in an octagonal shape.

These are the Core Drives that Chou identified as basic within any human being, and the reasons why games and gamification are so effective as learning and development tools:

  1. Epic Meaning and Calling: the player believes he is doing something greater than himself.
  2. Development and Accomplishment: internal drive that comes from making progress, developing skills and overcoming challenges.
  3. Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback: this happens when users are engaged in creative processes where they can consistently figure out different problems and try different scenarios.
  4. Ownership and Possession: this drive comes from the feeling of owning something- in this case their own progress in the game or simulation.
  5. Social Influence and Relatedness: this drive incorporates all social elements that drive human beings, such as mentorship, acceptance, recognition, competition and envy.
  6. Scarcity and Impatience: this is the drive of wanting something that you can’t necessarily have.
  7. Unpredictability and Curiosity: this is the human drive of always wanting to know what will happen next.
  8. Loss and Avoidance: this core drive surrounds the idea of avoiding something negative happening.

Chou believes that the world must begin to adopt proper gamification frameworks and take these different types of “Drives” into consideration when creating games or programs.

Only then will the distinction between work and play disappear, and gamification will be effectively and fully integrated into the workplace.

To learn more about Chou’s Octalysis theory, click here.


KNOLSKAPE’s award-winning simulations use experiential learning and gamification to attract, grow and retain talent. Global Fortune 500 companies and Top-10 B-schools use KNOLSKAPE’s products and solutions for on-boarding, training, assessments, and talent engagement strategies.

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