Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Gandhian Innovation and the Race to the BoP

Mahatma Gandhi.

Wheel spinning governments, analytical pecuniary institutions and benign demand-based charities utter the inconsiderate benchmarks for what they consider poverty to be. 

They overtly say that 4 billion people on this planet live under or somewhere around the so-called poverty-line. A fiscal measure of living on, or below 2 dollars per capita PPP a day. And of course they must know, they are wise after all.

Well, I have been around for 50 years and travelled the world. Yes, much has been at the behest of corporate edicts and generous expenses; but much has been at the will of a rucksack and walking shoes around inner India, Africa and East Asia. And my experiences and definition of poverty is far from merely fiscal. So let me tell you what poverty is: it is complex!

A huge variable condition set by growing populations outpacing productivity, ultimately leading to extreme economic margin (the best economic metric, that says it all - And I mean all!!!).

In times of crisis it is children and families wasting away; babies shrilling and emaciated souls lying curled up in filthy rags. It is in access to clean water, sustenance, basic medicines and shelter.
But it is the immeasurable lack of voice, resolve and loss of dignity that truly opens up comprehension to poverty. It is subjection to exploitation and exposure to indifference, humiliation and inhumane treatment from not merely the haves; but the public services and instruments from which the poor look for help.
It means emotional pain, server anxiety and fear, and bone deep tears caused by infringement of basic human rights and sensibilities that you the reader take for granted. It is an inability, even curfew to maintain cultural identity, customs, traditions and personal beliefs; an insufferable incapacity to participate in society and breakdown in equality; and not least, it is vulnerability and exposure to dangers, risks and gross uncertainties that whither character and soul.
Hence, the definition of living on under 730 dollars a year does not even begin to break the surface of describing what 4 billion people wake up to every day. On my journeys I have spoken to many trapped in a spectrum of dearth. I asked them to tell me their experiences: ‘I can’t voice my opinion. And when I do speak, they talk over me. I ask for little, but they also have little to give as well. I feel demoralised, anxious and a feeling of second citizen to people I know I should be equal.’
Well, that is real poverty; and a prospective that few in the advanced nation economies get to understand; even when in fact it can be knocking at your door. Because the surprise here, however, is the person I spoke to just above, lives at YMCA in Brighton, my home town in the UK. Not Somalia or Ethiopia. But in one of the highest living standard cities in the world!
So, why am I talking about poverty when my theme of GigaMarket$ is  fundamentally about creating billion dollar markets? Well, as I have said many times before: there is plenty of value at the bottom; and yet another market paradox bordering on the ironic. How can a multiple billion dollar markets exist in hopeless poverty? In fact: is this not unprincipled, even immoral thinking?
Far from it! Hopeless poverty is just that, if it is left at that. Because by viewing hardship and living deficiencies as a way to target products and services that relieve such deprivation, then that is yet another strategy for ending poverty! And this is something we must take exceedingly serious, because in terms of population growth, by 2030, Asia and Africa will account for ~87 percent, where the majority of world poverty resides.
Yet under this extreme inhuman context necessity is often the mother of invention. A reality that goes back before language was even invented: put people’s back against the wall whether in a slum city or rural out back; and ingenuity will spring fourth.
Now take this context in the broad world of corporate reality! Often the only necessity of invention is to meet a trite mission statement, a quarterly profit target or the ego of a brow beating boss. Not much stimulation for innovation when compared to some young person starving on the streets of Calcutta.
This is further compounded by bureaucratic practise and norms. As ingrained routine can be a very comfortable potbelly. It can lead to delusional and untimely a dangerous poison: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ when over 80 percent of world’s economy over the next 20 years will grow and exist in the BRICS, E7 and E11 nations; together with unimaginable business models and concepts built and distributed at a cost simply unobtainable in the rich potbelled west.
The base of the economic pyramid may well swell to 6 billion by 2040 according to The World Bank, as the majority of new birth wills occur there. Another view is that at least a billion people will rise from the base to lower middle income over the next decade. Yet my view, influenced by the Kurzweilean view is that these numbers may be out by half a magnitude. There will of course always be poverty. Poverty has many varieties, depths and conditions. But the materially poorest – at least as we have abjectly known it – may altogether have disappear by 2030. Don’t forget ‘The Singularity is Near!’
Living at the bottom of the global economic pyramid today is an indictment upon mankind. It is wrong beyond words. But as the numbers show, throwing never-ending zero-sum aid at the problem alone only creates yet more demand for yet more aid. Relief is just that. Ultimately aid is merely a Band-Aid. It fills a hole for a time only leaving a more intense heartache.
Many dearth regions are immensely hot, arid or humid. Often sodden with floods or monsoons. Drinking water is regularly and suddenly sparse or spoilt. Hence the second leading cause of death in children under five – everywhere – is lack of access to clean water. Vast waves of helpless families and forsaken children dehydrating away. Across these menacing worlds are ranges of killer Bactria thriving in spoilt waters trigging diseases like Diarrhoea and Diphtheria. And even if you survive you often face a 20+ mile hike to the river, again often spoilt by toxins and waste.
Even in the face of the Millennium Development Goal to half the number of people with in-access to safe drinking water by 2015, the WHO and UNICEF ‘Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation’ recently reviled an estimated ~900 million people in the world - ~37 percent of who live in Sub-Saharan Africa - still use unimproved sources of drinking water.

Frugal Innovation Possibilities.

But what if you could cleanse filthy water instantly, cheaply, reliably, and under such sparse conditions? I do not merely mean dirty, I mean viral-bacteria. That would be a feat. This is where the new likes of Slingshot comes in. A vapour compression distillation system that runs on very low levels of electricity. Through boiling and evaporation, this ingenious gadget can clean and purify anything from ocean water to raw sewage. A single Slingshot unit can purify up to 300,000 litres of water a year or enough daily drinking water for about 300 people. It is hoped that by the end 2014, distribution should extend to India, the Middle East and Asia. Slingshot’s mass is about 200 pounds, can fit in the back of a truck, and when placed in a kiosk it will run on solar power or biofuel.

And if your tribe or pod is on the move, then there is an enlivening piece of non-chemical nanotechnology - by the extraordinary water-treatment inventor Michael Pritchard - called Lifesaver Bottle: a hand-sized, portable, flask-like system that filters out any contaminates down to 15nm, which essentially gets rid of anything that could harm you (the smallest virus is 25nm). So you are out in the bush, you find a murky pond; undo the top and bottom caps. Find/devise a vassal to scoop the dark water into the bottom end receptacle. Put the bottom cap, work the internal pump to compel the mucky water through the nano-filter. Then a gush of fresh, uncontaminated, crystal clear water spurts out the top for instant sustenance. This idea, this wonderful life saving gadget came to Pritchard during the double tragedies of the Hurricane Katrina and Asian tsunami. The live broadcasts of multitudes of desperate refugees waiting for days for a simple drink of clean water set the marvel inventor on an inexorable mission: clean water anywhere and time!
Clearly natural disasters happen unpredictability. But 100+ degrees summer heat is a sub-equatorial norm. People living in the zone often have slightest resources. Ordinary extended families sustaining in such heat, with little chance to earn income have been faced with unearthly challenges. But a new category breaking gadget came about that more than brings hope: ChotuKool (‘the little cool’). A very portable 45 litre capacity refrigerator, weighing less than a new born baby, designed with only 20 working components, running on 12-volts DC or battery, remaining cool for hours without any charge. The cleaver bit of fridge is the design has replaced the customary compressor with a turbo-fan not unlike the ones found in the back of a PC interfaced with some ingenious heat exchanger channelling.
The whole notion is about addressing basic refrigeration demands of rural families. In fact, about 80 percent of Indian households lack basic appliances such as fans, aircondoning, even lighting in many cases. Yet in the face of this dreadful reality, Mumbai established Godrej and Boyce (G&B) - of mechanical typewriter fame - decided to reinvigorate growth in its honoured household appliance markets. Co-designed with rural villagers, G&B began to imagine living in a home without a fridge. A clear problem is that electricity is either unavailable or unreliable in many rural parts. Then there is the fact that 100-million Indian extended families live on under $2,000 a year that can ill afford any such domestic appliance. But a problems can mean opportunity!
So what G&B did is go on innovation safaris using the jobs-to-be-done methodology hunting for ideas around rural India. They observed the lives and routines of far-flung villagers. They worked with Harvard Professor Clayton ‘Disruptor’ Christiansen and his consulting firm Innosight. They observed how bucolic consumers acquired, prep, cook and stored provisions. People needed an affordable way to keep milk, vegetables and leftovers cool. And this in a country where – according to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development – a third of all food is lost to spoilage. Then, in a blinding flash of the inobvious the ChotuKool concept was born, creating a new product category, at frugal price tag of $70. Inspiring news of hope and access to new possibilities!
Poverty, of course, has many colours, many extremes, and many circumstances. But the shear masses of people living in makeshift townships the world over is one like no other. Unlike a tsunami crisis, fleeting famine, and even major epidemical contagion, it is ultra-long term and you are stuck there. UN figures revile the 2 billion people live in squatter communes. Try to imagine it! Visualise (and smell) what it would be like to live among millions of people in mock constructions, no better than the construction and technology that you use to make your children’s Tree House. Again, no running water, no electricity, and equally no sanitation and access to what we in the west take for granted even as we shop on busy study afternoon
 Imagine you are in one of the squatter cites, and just outside your window (if you have one) is a great mound of human faeces, piled 20 foot high, with excrement poring and flowing down a stream of stinking acrid urine. Welcome to Kieran, a Kenyan slum city not unlike the 100 thousand of these place around the world. Well like yourself, your Kieran neighbours have no choice but to defecate in bags, then turn them into a flying toilet over a fence onto an ever-mounting mass. Picture the situation? A heaving, breathing pathogen-lab right outside your home, raising the probability of outbreak of lethal epidemic diseases such as cholera!
Precisely, that breathtaking nightmare is a reality for ~2.6 billion people whom have little or no access to modern toilets; 70 percent live in without proper sanitation. Lack of sanitation causes environmental pollution, social problems, unsafe surroundings and substantially more potential for epidemics. Indeed, one child dies every 15 seconds as a result of consuming water polluted with human excreta…. So?
Let us turn the tables and imagine something that could make positive of all this. That living mound of waste is in fact mineral rich, and high nitrogen in content. What about using all that muck to grow a garden? In fact, why not multiple beautiful gardens throughout this sprawling provisional metropolis? In fact, let us get practical. These people live more than frugal lives. So what about micro agrifarms outside the doorstep. In fact, with a robust GM crops, we just might well be able to yield something like a fair percent of local produce needs? So what game changing GigaInnovation could we think up to do just that?
Enter PeePoo a personal, single-use, self-sanitising, fully biodegradable toilet bag that prevents faeces from contaminating the immediate area and surrounding ecosystem. Inventor Anders Wilhelmson says after use, PeePoo turns faeces into fertiliser via the urea coating on the inside of the bag. Once it is filled and buried, enzymes in faeces naturally breakdown the urea into ammonia and carbonate. This raises the pH level in the bag, killing any pathogens. Once the urea decontaminates the waste, the bag biodegrades, and the remaining ammonia fertilisers the soil…Bingo! You have got your starter kit for you micro farm. Most importantly, because these problems affect the poorest 40 percent of the world population, the toilet bag is cheap.
By producing the PeePoo bags so inexpensively, Wilhelmson has a billion dollar goal amongst the poorest nations. Again reinforcing the now evidential fact that it is possible to gain value from ending poverty. Not just monetary value, but true human value. The world market for low cost toilet and sanitation systems runs into the 100s of billions dollars.

The powerful out-crop here is that if a once expensive technology like a flushing toilet and especially municipal water works can be reimagined into ultra-low cost products - al a Slingshot, Lifesaver Bottle, ChotuKool, PeePoo - then it can be done – and I say this – to every technological product, service, process, et al, on this planet!
Merging Gaming and Education: The Gamification of Learning. 

'Improving learning performance' across the board, from infants entering pre-school right out to retirees engaged in further and higher learning, is a Holy Grail for educationists.

And there is a growing stack of evidence that supports that gaming platforms, in its many guises, substantially assisting in this goal. Gaming offers no panacea, but it is having a gross positive impact on learning.

Gaming, as applied to learning, is not simply sitting a student in front of Donkey Kong and then measuring the student’s net gain in academic performance. There is some quite profound at work.

Breaking down the gross positive gains, however, is a bit more tricky. While students may achieve higher overall examination scores as an objective measure, measuring student performance improvement in terms of enabling and learning skills and abilities, is altogether different challenge. These are universal life skills such as general problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, ideation, processing, et al (such fluid thinking skills are at a premium today).

The problem is that conventional formal examinations do not measure such enabling skills. But gaming can!

As a point of interest, gaming markets have grown to bigger than both the movie and music industries. And not being a gaming aficionado, that surprises me, considering the modern gaming industry is only around 40 years old. 

In a wider context, gaming is a twenty-first-century way of leading, thinking, learning, communicating, and even selling and prototyping (as I will elaborate on later), and of working together to accomplish real change and improvement across and range social and commercial issues. The statistics are mind boggling. 180 million active gamers in the USA playing on average 13 hours per week. The great challenge is to integrate games more closely into everyday worlds, and to embrace them as a platform for collaborating on our most important planetary efforts.

Thomas Frey,

‘Steve Jobs famously stated that “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Educators have been working under a similar assumption that “students don’t know what they need so it needs to be planned out for them.” 

The key difference in these two statements is that Steve Jobs created products that lived or died based on market demand, and consequently, many of his products failed. Market demand in education is vastly different because the customers (students), have very few options, and future employers, the ultimate consumer of an educational system’s output, are only tangentially involved in the whole process. So let’s consider to a more consumer-driven educational marketplace. If a student had the ability, as in a grocery store, to walk down an aisle and pick and choose the “products” they wanted to learn, how different would that be from our educational systems today? To ask this another way, if every course lived or died based on its ability to build an audience, an actual consumer-driven following, what courses would still exist and which ones would disappear. More importantly, what would classes look like and would we even have classrooms, schools, and teachers? In the fluid learning environment emerging around us, the whims of a marketplace will be as fickle as in today’s retail stores’

Reward. One of the kernels of compulsive gambling is anticipation of reward. In fact, the worst thing that youths can experience in early life is run of luck at the slot machine or dog track. It imprints in their mind for a long time to come. The reward-dopamine cycle is route number one to dependence for over eating, watching soaps, sex, violence, politics and gambling. In the case of education, youngsters do not get the kind of feedback in terms of reward in the volume and depth necessary for them to be a compulsive learner. Giving a gold star for an essay and pinning in teacher’s wall only goes so far.

Learning rewards need a bit of inventive thinking. For a start, smart kid will outperform the not so smart over all. And that can lead to a green eye and a questionable ethic. But rewards do not have to be that big and they can be class (team) based.
The first step is figuring out what the would-be pupil, or indeed whole class, likes best. Day trips out (theatre, theme park, cinema, zoo, museum, waxworks, laser tag, football/hockey match? Strawberries, chocolate, ice-cream? Titles, craving infatuation dependence


 Gamification Mechanics.

An exciting and potent branch of the science of game theory isGaming Psychology. Which explains the mechanics and dynamics of not only winning, but motivating in a way that makes the customer, comeback for more again and again, learn more quickly and independently.


There is lot of terminology in world of online virtual learning and associated platforms. And it is the same for the videogame world as well. For a start,gamification and gaming are two different things. Gamification is the act of applying rules of thumb, often called ‘gaming mechanics,’ to make a videogame or online course more effective. And gamingis the link between playing and games.

Tom Chatfield's TED talk on 7 Ways Games Reward the Brain.With gamification, these possibility spaces have been expanded beyond just games into other areas like marketing, education, the workplace, social media, philanthropy, and the Web, just to name a few. BioNetwork provides workforce training and education to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life science industries.

Immersive applications encourage imagination, support exploration, give risk-free environment, help our understanding, engage our interest, make inaccessible accessible, build relationships, bridge to physical world

Gamification, as applied to online learning is the use of gameplay mechanics for non-game applications. However, it must be made clear that Gamification is not about turning you course matter into addictive video game. The outcome should be focussed on proficient and competent understanding of the subject matter, designed and motivated through gaming mechanics.

Game mechanics are the construct of rules that encourage users to explore, learn, and push the boundaries of their aptitude through the use of clinical feedback mechanisms. The primary reason for applying gamification to online learning is to engage learners. Much of what is used to build engagement in video (and non-video) games can also be applied to other interactive material, such as online learning. But what mechanics need to be considered and integrated most?

Engagement mechanics is the effective pursuit of attention or increased effort of a learner. Basically, engagement occurs when a brain is rewarded, and for something to be perceived as rewarding it must evoke positive emotions. The are two prime mechanisms to the sensitivity of something being rewarding:desire and affinity. Without these motives, the learner will not find something rewarding. Neuroscientists says that desire and affinity occur in two separate parts of the brain. For the purposes of developing engaging online learning courses, the gaming mechanics need to reward the learner's brains by compelling motives to want the knowledge or skill, and develop course content they enjoy.

To do this, contents designers must know and understand the audience, not just the subject matter. This is partly a demographical issue, by studying the popular culture, brands, interests, and the general media the target audience get pleasure from.

You may have seen in the media the reports of activities, or gadgets, or pass times that for a great many people become somewhat addictive (if not ultracompulsive)? We all know someone who compulsively sends text-messages, or aches to post a Facebook comment, or spends every evening stuck in front of a video game.

Deploying motivation. Controlled and autonomous motivation achieve different outcomes. Extrinsic motivation leads to a discrete outcome, such obtaining a life goal. Intrinsic motivation leads to activities that pleasurable, exciting, or interesting, such a hobby or recreational sport.
Motivational theory proposes all humans require the satisfaction of three basic psychological needs, namely:

  • Competence (a sense of being able to do something i.e. being competent)
  • Autonomy (a sense of control and freedom)
  • Relatedness (a sense of being associated or connected to others)

There are a number of strategies that can be used to motivate online situations:

  • Give learners some level of control as they work through the module or course.
  • Provide regular, meaningful feedback throughout the learning experience.
  • Incorporate social elements.
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration between learners.
  • Keep the stakes low and allow learners to practice.
  • Allow learners to make meaningful choices and pursue challenging goals.

Motivation plays an important role during educational experiences. Even though a person may be motivated to engage in an activity leading to a separable outcome, they do have a degree of choice and control if they have internalized their motivation. As educators we have an opportunity to assist with this internalization in the way we design and deliver learning experiences.

Contexts that satisfy these basic needs will support people's actions, resulting in more optimal motivation and positive outcomes. So, if we can use strategies to support autonomy, competence and relatedness needs we can assist learners to internalise their motivation.

DopaLearning. These are what I call DopaProducts; or here,DopaLearning. Products and games that you cannot but help to purchase, even if you do not need them or rarely use them.DopaProduct are any pursuit, interest, object or conduct that develops into a main focal point in an individual's life routines, work and leisure pursuit, often to the exclusion of other behaviours. In fact, people - all people - may become addicted or compulsively obsessed with even simple things (habits are more easy to form, yet harder to break).

Some studies imply that there are comparisons between physicaladdiction to different substances such as alcohol or cocaine; andpsychological dependence to activities such as gambling, work, running, shopping or eating.

All addictions, whether behavioural or substance base dopamine in the brain. A neurochemical that causes an octane-like high. However, over time, the body begins to develop a tolerance to increased levels of dopamine. In turn, the person then must increase the behaviour such as watching more TV Soaps, Facebook shares, reading violent novels, ultra-cleaning the home, etc, to avoid withdrawal symptoms and achieve a high once more.

This in the realms of clinical bio-psychology is known as the distraction-dopamine cycle. This behaviour (all behaviour is ultimately dictated by chemical activity in the brain) can promote a wide range of outcomes from food binging, acute gambling, violence, sexual addiction; all creating a lasting buzz and/or relived tensions. The key point is that the excessive activity (food binging) is not connected to the purpose it appears to be directed to (satisfying hunger). Other reasons are often present, but difficult to detect.

Examples could be a person who is afraid of bonding with a partner choosing to zone out with the TV, or a person who has never had enough love filling up on a kilo of ice-cream. Hence, addictive behaviours are often the consequence of invisible factors, but none the less are fulfilled or avoided by choosing an alternative outcome like spending all night in the pub or clearing out the cupboards every-single weekend.

So what does this have to do with commerce, or here, turning online gaming into GigaMarkets? Quite a lot in fact. We all have a passion. There is always something in our lives that we are fervent, zealous, and sometimes fanatical about. A hobby, a craft, a game, a collection, a sport, a TV games show (quick switch on the TV; American X-Factor’s on!). And that is your distraction-dopamine cycle firing off. And the more you are caught up, the greater the cycle, the more reinforced those positive feelings are by seeking out more and more. And now you know way passion fed products like Harry Potter books and films or 40+ years of Star Trek are so successful.

And that is where a GigaMarket signal resides! Your passion is not a convergent focus, because the longer you seek it, the more you want it, the more you crave, the more the scope for innovation! The goal then, is to seek signals that highlight or embeddistraction-dopamine cycles.


The learning whole. Student learns faster and better if presented with a holistic picture of the entire material right from the beginning. Thus, a student knows why they are learning the material before they begin to learn it. Small units does serve the purpose of easy digestive learning, but also leads to a fragmentation of the final outcome. It is not enough to pack each chunk with synthesizers, cognitive strategies, activities, discussion forums, and assessments. The learner should have the opportunity to realize, recognize, and comprehend why they are learning the content.

The student is the principal audience and receiver of the learning process. Online learning must be learner-centric and not teacher-centric. The focus of online learning needs to shift to a macro-holistic process. Put the learner in the center of the learning process. Designing instruction is about analyzing and addressing the needs of the learner in a macro fashion. A learner will always need to know the path and goal of instructions. Why is he studying this particular concept? For instance, take a simple example of crossing a stream by hopping from one stone to the other. You know where you are going. Similarly a learner needs to know the where, why, and how of instruction. And the macro-oriention answers this explicitly. It places the learner within the learning context taking the concentration away from hierarchical instructional events

Setting Levels and Goals. Video games are often structured so that players have a range of levels and goals. First is the long-term goal of completing the contest. This is important, as it depicts the overall themes, narratives and big concept challenge. Next, are the medium-term goals of concluding each level. And lastly, the short-term goals of completing the missions in a specific levels.

Each level of a game should get harder; a linear condition with each level becoming more complex. Hence in online learning, each level drives forward learning boundaries. However, if the would-be student demonstrates high performance proficiency, the next step level should offer a choice. A condition where the learning-player could choose whether to play a harder level, an easier level, or the same difficulty level.

Adaptive levelling system determine the level of increasing challenge to the player based on their performance on the previous levels. Good results are rarely achieved on the first round, but when they apply the algorithm to the earlier levels they get impressive results. That says a lot for cognitive tutoring, the ability to have a very customized experience by giving a challenge that is appropriate for the level of proficiency.

This allows players in games to learn and practice skills, prior to having to demonstrate mastery of those skills in the most challenging parts of the game (room to fail, room to play, room to learn in trial and error).
Minimizing cognitive fatigue. It is also important  minimize cognitive fatigue, the learning content within levels should be broken up into short, medium, and long-term goals.

It is typical that learners must complete several modules before completing a course. To complete a module, several topics must be completed. In order to complete a topic, several objectives must be finished.

Obviously, each objective requires several goals to be completed. Structuring online learning this way, allows users to learn new skills incrementally, and then practice those skills before demonstrating mastery of those skills in assessment exercises.

Growing learning competence through the learning game.Essentially, as the challenge of an experience rises, the skill of the participant must also grow in direct proportion. If a user's skill exceeds the challenge of the experience, they will become bored. And, if the challenge exceeds the participant's skill, they will suffer anxiety.

An optimal user experience is illustrated in the flow channel as the squiggly line. This line demonstrates the experience described above where a user is challenged to a high degree with new experiences, and then given an opportunity to demonstrate and master the skill of that experience, before given a completely new challenge to conquer.

Final test level. learners are given goals that get increasingly more difficult as they approach a final level. At this level, the level of difficult should reflect a kind of final exam or test.  The challenge of the test level must higher than any of the challenges in the prior levels. This need to be combo need with the opportunity to replay previous levels to master skills before the challenge ramps again. This keeps the player in the flow channel, thus engaging them in the experience. With learning, the challenge is ramped up immediately after an assessment with the introduction of new material. The learner is presented with new material, which gets increasingly more complex. They are then given a chance to master those new challenges as their skills increase, and after that they are given an assessment that demonstrates the knowledge of that material.

Provide Frequent Feedback. Have you ever used an interactive product, be it eLearning, a game, or a website, and felt lost or confused? It happens to everybody, and it's really frustrating. Maybe you are asked to recall some information that you swear you were never told (or, that you were previously told and you've just forgotten), and you don't even know where to look to find it. Perhaps you didn't know how to progress; you don't know what to do, where to go, or you simply can't find a UI item like a button. Or, maybe you find out that there's an assumption that you need some prerequisite knowledge or experience to even understand the basic principles of what you're doing, and you had no idea you needed this, and you have no idea where to get that knowledge or experience.

Employ smart strokes. Popular science and technology publications do this. The New Scientist, Wired, and Focus magazines induce the reader into thinking they are smart by pushing the reader’s intellect just a tad and dressing the language in techno-babble. Learning a course’s content should be the same. Especially for learning exercises. If a would-be learner is confused, lost or feels that they are thumping their head against a virtual wall, engagement will be lost. Because the contents and exercises will essentially say they are dim-witted.

Learning maps. Users should know precisely what they need to do next, or what options they have at any given time. Learner often take long breaks. Sometimes days or weeks. Would they know what to do when they returned? Keep apprentice informed of what to do now and next. This can be achieved by links back to essential information previously referenced or links to supplemental material that is prerequisite knowledge for the current learning.

Measure progress in easy to understand graphics. An significant part of providing feedback to users in online learning is to let them know how much progress they have made through each level. The course consists of a number of modules, and within each module there are several topics, show progress at each level. Use visual and sound graphics instead of ratios or number fractions. Get creative. The progress indices do not need to displayed continuously. It is possible to turn progress statics in to a reward, especially if it's displayed with some fanfare. However, if you do this, users should be able to access the progress bar somewhere at any time.

Evaluation. Blind tests will also put off the student. During assessment, describe why answers are correct or incorrect. Either in pop-ups or links to appropriate information. Many of the online learning course, game and tests I have viewed merely say,‘Wrong. Try again.’ These people are not playing for fun, the yare thinking and have goals. So give them the support.

Reward effort. Any good teacher will tell that rewarding for effort, not just achievement, is a key to motivation and engagement. If this is presented in a way which is interesting, your learners will feel rewarded, and thus, engaged. Scale the reward in proportion to the effort, as in an animation graphic to congratulate a learner for a perfect score on a test, do not use that same graphic to recognize lower achievements (star, medal, trophy; or toffee, popsicle, huge chocolate bar).


The characteristics of gamification mechanics characteristics might includequests, tutorials, competitive versus non-competitive gameplay, andlevelling.

Enjoyment of goal pursuing in learning. Quests are the goal structure in a game, the motivational storyline that keeps you going. Researchers have show that using the quest in the game helps learning outcomes and highly related to gameplay and really well received by the students. There is little increase in student motivation to learn mathematics, for example, but students spend more time playing the game and felt they had a more enjoyable experience when quests were highly aligned with the learning objectives.  Put in quests that are imaginative or fantasy-based to get people into the game and moving through instead of making sure that the quest aligns with the learning objectives.

Impact of tutorials on learning games with varying complexity.Think about how students will learn to play the learning game. Educators tend to believe they always need to give instruction; that we have to include a tutorial. Researchers found tutorials were not well received and were viewed as unnecessary when the mechanics of playing could be surmised through just trial and error or intuitively deduced.  For more complex learning do not force a tutorial, provided lessons that scaffold learning the gameplay, as opposed to mere instruction on how to use the interface. This results in more learning play and higher engagement.

Co-opetition (competitive cooperation) goal structures in learning gamesWhen players think about games they are inclined to assume a competition. This may create an anxiety about building in competition because a defeat might lead to thinking that they have not learned anything. So design the game to make it both competitive or cooperative (co-opetition). They had two players playing against each other in each round of play. They were told in an obvious way and saw that while everybody learned that the groups told to compete and the groups that were paid if they won did actually see an increase in intrinsic motivation. Even adding a reward mechanism in this case did not detract from the learning. The people who won the money did actually have higher self-efficacy, but all winners had higher self-efficacy. It changes the way we have viewed reward structures in games and does illustrate some benefit to competition. I think that we think of it as a hallmark aspect of games because we want to have that "we want to work together" kind of experience.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

'Personalities Prone to Invent'

This paper is aimed at the novice (written by a novice). It's quite long-winded, and  often quite awkward in the way it describes Creativity, Innovation and associated Processes. However, it's not a bad start.


'Innovation is widely recognized as a means for organizations to compete in the global business world. It is about new ideas, processes, products or procedures, which will benefit the individual or organization. Innovation is directly related to the people that work in an organization. They can provide the competitive advantage an organization is looking for. The present research tried to find which personality characteristics innovative people possess. This might enable organizations to focus on certain personality traits when looking for innovative people.

The organization as a whole can become more innovative. The personality of the people was analysed by using the five factor model, which consists of the factors: emotional stability, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. With these five factors a description of one’s personality can be given.

A questionnaire was developed to collect the data among three different sample groups. In total 106 questionnaires were returned and the data was analysed. It seems that the personality factors openness to experience and emotional stability are the most important predictors of innovative behaviour. This means that organizations should focus on people who are open to experience and who are emotionally stable. Personal initiative is also a necessary trait for innovation. In order to get support for new ideas, a person needs to behave proactive and take initiative. Interesting to see is that age has a significant effect on innovative behaviour as well. It seems that the older a person is, the more innovative this person will behave. These findings can direct organizations more specifically in their selection and training procedures.'

Monday, 13 March 2017

Natural tooth repair method, using Alzheimer drug, discovered by King College researchers, is about to revolutionise dental treatment

Fillings could be consigned to history after scientists discovered that a drug already trialled in Alzheimer's patients can encourage tooth regrowth and repair cavities.

Researchers at King's College London found that the drug Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells contained in the pulp of teeth so that they generate new dentine – the mineralised material under the enamel. Now, the King's College team is racing to put together a repeatable, sunctioned treatment.
Read Full Article

Friday, 10 March 2017

Teachers Fear for Future of High School & Six Form Design and Technology Courses

'Design and Technology, languages and arts are among the subjects being dropped as schools struggle to deal with severe budget pressures, according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).'

In a world where technological evolution is moving from exponential growth in price-performance improvement, towards explosive growth.

In a world where there is a need for a good understanding of the processes and techniques of Innovation, Enterprise, Entrepreneurial-ship, Design, High-Level Software Coding, and Applied Science, because of the very explosive growth in technology and innovation.

But in spite of this essential need, the UK Exchequer is about to cut high-school and sixth-form budgets in these areas in terms of their related subjects.

Apparently, as interesting as it may be, the lessons of English History and its wonderful well-heeled Monarchy, are more important than learning functional or technical foreign languages, like German, in world that is interconnecting ever faster. 

Some will say that history repeats itself, and therefore learning from the past is important. To a degree, yes, but the future of technology from now on will not only be different from the past, there will be no comparison.

So, who are these stuffed shirts who make these damaging decisions, who insist that the world will almost be the same as the past, an therefore History is more significant than applied Design and Technology?

When I was 15, and especially an inquisitive seventeen year old sixth-former, I lived in my D&T classroom (lunchtime and after school hours). In the end, I almost lived their. And then years on, I practised as Lead Aerospace Design Engineer, and now as a consultant and write about technological innovation and design!

I can tell you that the teams I have lead have created countless jobs (directly and indirectly) over the 25+ years in practise, and no doubt helped inspire many new products and service concepts, and even new businesses, through my books on innovation.

Read these two recent articles on the these issues. However, be warned, if you are a Brit and a bit like me, you won't be happy:

UK Government Cuts D&T, Languages and Art Courses!

Teachers fear for future of Design and Technology

 (It's on BBC News, right now - 10/03/2017 - bbc.co.uk/)