CATEGORY

MOTIVATION

 

In an increasingly digital world, the education sector is in a period of transformation driven by technology and new working models and methods. This digital strategy requires flexible education that encourages students and academic institutions to be active, innovative and entrepreneurial.

Electronic devices and the broader digital environment have become much more accessible to students. In terms of tools, technology has given rise to a wide range of platforms, equipment, systems, networks and applications that are already in use in many educational institutions and are expected to become even more common in the future. From the traditional textbook to a variety of digital materials, courses and support systems, content is expanding and diversifying.

As part of the Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027) the European Commission conducted a public consultation at the end of 2020 to obtain the views and experiences of citizens, institutions and organisations on the impact of COVID-19 on education and training, the consequent evolution towards remote and online learning, and the future of digital education in Europe.

Respondents expressed that online learning resources and content should be more relevant, interactive and user-friendly, and not dependent on the financial resources of a city or local council. More than 60% felt that their digital skills had improved during the pandemic, and more than 50% confirmed that they wanted to improve them further.

The study conducted in the Action Plan helps to reiterate the current trend towards online and hybrid learning that has been accelerated by events in recent years. These changes have led to the discovery of new and innovative ways in which learners and educators organise their online learning and teaching activities, engaging in more personal and flexible interactions

Support and motivate students with digital technology

Digital motivation is about applying the capabilities offered by new technologies to increase students’ confidence. Thus, making them feel more comfortable in their educational environment and ultimately improving their performance. Active engagement, cooperation among students, quick feedback on work or assessments, and the ability to put what they learn into practice are some of the conditions for students to learn effectively using technology.  Students’ lack of motivation is not only a barrier to understanding topics, but also a challenge for teachers in their everyday work.

Academic institutions can support students on a personal level while providing a comprehensive and integrated understanding of university systems. Digital and interactive portals provide connections to all relevant systems, as well as ‘live sections’ that display grades, upcoming assignments, timetables and other information and encourage participation before, during and after different activities. Access to information and course materials anytime, anywhere.  A way of communicating with students and guiding them through their work giving them assistance, focus and reinforcement.

As shown in a study published by McGraw-Hill Education, students prefer digital learning to traditional learning. According to the study, 81% think digital learning technology is helping them improve their grades, and 71% say digital course materials have increased their engagement. The clear majority of students believe that digital learning technology has benefited their schoolwork by encouraging concept retention and improving grades, and that more than half (53%) of students feel much more motivated in classrooms that incorporate such tools.

Towards a new university student experience

Increasingly, students want higher education institutions to provide them with a personalised and individualised experience. They expect the same level of interaction and experience offered by consumer brands such as Amazon and Netflix. To respond to these needs, leaders at universities, business schools and other education institutions are beginning to see a connection between the student and the consumer, and how digital transformation is necessary to meet the demands and aspirations of today’s students.

Consequently, students no longer want to be treated uniformly and anonymously, but are looking for tailored notifications and suggestions, customized to their own interests, as well as a perfect experience. They want to be seen, heard and appreciated, as well as receive attention that is specific to them. According to the Connected Student Report, 90% of students want universities to interact with them as frequently as possible, using email, tailored communications and notifications, as well as other means. Around 40% say they would prefer more individualised communications, and 25% say they would like a more personalised university experience in general.

For a higher level of success, digital solutions must include procedures that encourage reciprocity and interaction, thereby increasing knowledge retention and avoiding monotony. It is essential to ensure that students apply what they have learned to solve problems, practice decision-making and skills development in a safe environment where their understanding can be tested.

At the same time, digital solutions can lead to improvements in educational institutions to operate more efficiently in capturing new students, in ensuring the performance of students along their journey and also in maintaining contact with alumni. In addition, they serve as a digital basis for 360-degree monitoring of the educational process. An integrated platform that allows students to customise their university experience from start to finish.

Some examples of the benefits are:

  • Collaboration and cooperation: experiences, work and projects can be shared, facilitating engagement and joint learning.
  • Autonomy and flexibility: there are a variety of methods through which information can be obtained, as well as sufficient freedom for their own organisation and planning. (Asynchronous education)
  • Interactivity and communication: Students can connect and talk to their peers, greatly enhancing their ability to communicate and learn. Even student-teacher conversation can take place outside the classroom.

 

 

Gamification in education

Gamification is one of the educational innovation techniques that has provoked most interest and success in recent years. It is a method that consists of introducing game aspects and dynamics into the teaching and learning process. Examples include ‘scoreboards’ that record students’ scores in various activities, ‘badges’ that are awarded to students when they reach certain learning milestones, and the use of applications that allow multiple-choice tests to be transformed into interactive competitions.

Let’s imagine an immersive narrative (initial motivation) in which we find ourselves on a deserted island and, in order to survive, we have to go through different levels, challenges and obstacles. There are many elements and strategies that we can incorporate into the island to encourage motivation, reinforcement, various stimuli and a greater sense of involvement. For example, through interesting and fun activities for students to work on concepts and exercise the basic skills that the subject is intended to promote. As you explore the island you earn small rewards that give access to badges and levels; all achievements will be added to a scoreboard (increased participation, continuous reinforcement and short-term motivation). In addition, a help or hints option can be included in which students can ask for assistance from both the teacher and other students (social immediacy). Within each challenge or activity there may be the possibility for students to choose different options or routes, i.e. depending on their choice, they may reach one outcome or another. For each completed task, quality and immediate feedback can be received in order to learn beyond mistakes. The experience can also encourage group work and systems of competition between teams (team-based learning).

This immersive experience can be part of any academic subject and for students of different ages, from different levels of school to university, postgraduate courses, etc. It all depends on the narrative, the approach, the design concept, the catalysts, etc. that are applied in each case. A way to exceed the mastery of the concepts of a subject and to discover and intensify fundamental values of personality and teamwork.

Therefore, we can conclude that the education sector has undergone a significant digital transformation, encouraging both students and academic institutions to become more engaged, creative, and entrepreneurial. Learners and educators have discovered new and imaginative methods to organize their educational activities as a result of recent changes and adjustments during the pandemic. There is now a much easier access to electronic tools, and technology has resulted in a variety of platforms, equipment, systems, networks, and applications. Digital transformation is necessary to meet the demands and aspirations of today’s students, who are increasingly seeking a personalized and individualized experience and concepts such as gamification can further improve student performance and motivation while also making a topic more enjoyable.

 

Accelerating positive change through collaboration

During the month of November, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC), also referred to as COP26, took place in Glasgow. Delegations from around the world were brought together to accelerate action towards the goals on Climate Change. With the option to watch the live events online, many citizens took the opportunity to find out more about the current challenges, imminent deadlines and what we should be aiming for in the upcoming years. The events were filled with moments of reflection, frustration and at the same time hope and optimism for a future of change, collaboration, equality, and climate justice.

The prioritised challenges at stake were: mitigation, adaptation, finance, and collaboration. However, across the different talks, sessions and panels, there was a recurring theme that struck a chord: ‘public engagement’. While raising awareness of how each individual can contribute to better and more sustainable practices, a vital catalyst of change is what we advocate collaboratively as citizens.

 

What is public engagement?

Various interpretations exist across different sectors, but ultimately it refers to how the public can become more involved in, and able to influence public decisions, policy, and action. In an age of information saturation, where citizens have endless sources of news and misinformation at their fingertips, impactful public engagement and raising awareness requires a more creative thought process. Communicating information needs an omnichannel strategy behind it, and even then, the messaging needs to cut through a lot of noise to connect with audiences. The average person now has more distractions than before, more commitments and less time to take a more complex approach in their day to day lives. Trying to increase action or participation towards more climate positive behaviours will take a lot of effort from each person and require more than just information and education. Over time, there will be a need for continuous interventions.

A good example of forward facing, people focussed public engagement is the Small Grants Programme (SGP). The initiative supports projects that preserve and restore the environment, through financial and technical aid, with an emphasis on improving well-being and livelihoods, through the ethos of ‘Think Global, Act Local’. The objective behind the programme was to create a platform where civil society and local communities could interact and share their ideas and approaches to tackle global environmental issues utilising local practices. With this concept in mind, civic engagement can have a positive impact on the interrelationship between human needs and essential environmental demands.

‘Think Global, Act Local’ focuses on tailoring products and solutions to meet customer demand. Here is where public engagement comes in. To understand what people need we must take and interpret local feedback and exchange insights concerning current issues and tendencies. Human insight is vital. It is local people that know the ins and outs of where they live and who will want their voices heard when it comes to changes and improvements. Willing positive engagement needs time, work, and trust, and public engagement is a two-way street.

The decline of citizen participation

Studies from the United Nations Population Fund show that over half of the world’s population currently lives in cities and this proportion will rise further, to over 5 billion by 2030. With cities growing larger and larger each day, local governments will quickly have to adapt to evolving needs and expectations, as well as managing higher demand on resources and services. Public and civic engagement is a key factor for growth and evolution. According to research from the Young Federation:

‘Governments and councils enjoying higher levels of citizen participation generally had stronger communities, more empowered citizens, better services for residents and were better equipped to tackle deprived and disadvantaged neighbourhoods.’

However, most research indicate that citizen participation levels are in decline. Finding opportunities to engage with your local community can be hard. Citizens do not feel as engaged with their governments for several reasons, including lack of information, incentives, time and confidence. When it comes to sustainability, the challenges often involve lack of environmental awareness, commitment and disillusionment with being able to impact or change systems. However, there are a few aspects that can improve this relationship and rapid growth adaptation to enhance civic engagement. As mentioned before, there must be time, work, and trust but it would also be beneficial to have a clear design and carefully thought-out strategy with citizens at the heart of it, accompanied by digital and technological processes.

 

Using technology to engage

Digital solutions facilitate effective and transparent communication with citizens. Using the right tools and technology can help meet objectives and establish more convenient and interactive platforms for citizens.

The public participation spectrum serves as a reference when it comes to visualizing an engagement platform. The five phases show a step-by-step process of how to improve communication with citizens and share ideas and suggestions:

  1. Inform. This is an essential factor to promote participation from beginning to end since it provides the public with greater trust and balance regarding the existing information and the possible alternatives and opportunities.
  2. Consult. It allows us to obtain feedback from different analyses and solutions.
  3. Involve. Direct collaboration with the public throughout the process. This makes it possible to assess and ensure that the different opinions are heard and considered.
  4. Collaborate. Work as a team in every aspect of decision-making, from the development of alternatives to deciding on the most popular solution among citizens.
  5. Empower. Place the final decision in the hands of the public.

 

Informed objectives, strong guidance and enabling citizens to provide opinions and feedback can prove to be a powerful solution to transform communities into sustainable and smart cities. Technological approaches can provide cities and companies with a way to greatly increase the ease and speed of creating, sharing and connecting sustainability plans. Whether it is fighting for climate change, improving healthcare, promoting public transport schemes, or even supporting a local shop there is a need for real and permanent behavioural changes, which is why community and public engagement is so crucial. By introducing digital innovations, from citizen engagement platforms to social media and QR codes, we can provide a safe and cooperative place for citizens to voice their opinion, interact, participate, and implement changes that truly benefit everyone involved.

 

Digital solutions in action

Digital solutions can make a crucial contribution to positive change by providing stakeholders with relevant and useful information. What does digital public engagement look like in action?

A clear example of this can be seen in #InOurNature: Zero Carbon Manchester, an online community engagement platform that helps residents take action on climate change. They have created a space where citizens can discover new, creative solutions to make Manchester a more sustainable and connected city. The site, delivered by various parties including Manchester Council and Manchester Climate Change Agency, provides citizens with various resources, tips, and projects, which allows citizens contribute to their sustainability agenda. Surveys are also used to gather valuable feedback on the project, alongside inspiring stories. This combination empowers and encourages citizens to make immediate changes, seeing the impact they can have and positively contributing to their final cause.

Another example can be found in Gijon, one of the most populated cities on the northern coast of Spain, where platforms of participation have been developed. Three specific portals have been created to encourage effective application of technology in the city to promote opportunities for economic development, sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as improve the quality of life, welfare and public services.

The first one is called ‘Observa Gijon’ (Watch Gijon). An ‘urban observatory’ that provides access to data related to the city’s economic administration, local government activity and health statistics. The second portal, ‘Cuida Gijón’ (Care for Gijon), is a platform where citizens can help preserve and maintain the city’s streets and amenities, encouraging personal sustainable actions and responsibility and saving the government money. In the third portal, ‘Participa Gijón’ (Participate in Gijon), citizens can learn about council initiatives, put forward their own, comment on different topics and proposals and take part in collaborative decision making.

Understanding the drives, motivations and needs of different users and user groups, and putting this at the centre of the design increases appeal to the public.

The way forward

Digital technologies can empower individuals to simply and immediately respond to issues and to the needs of others, as well as accelerate positive change through collaboration. Using innovative technological platforms establishes a greater potential for collaboration and action, by making the exchange of information easier and more effective, strengthening citizen voice and facilitating social cohesion and participation with features to enhance enjoyment and involvement (e.g. challenges, gamification and surveys).

It is becoming more imperative for governments and organizations to use sustainability as a way of engaging with communities. Governments, councils and public engagement leaders should employ forward-looking solutions, making the most of what modern approaches and technology can offer for effective public engagement, and be open to ultimately what is their customer input on what they believe is important. Promoting and establishing sustainable behaviours and becoming more proactive and community focussed can only bring rewards and results.

We often talk about wanting to be the change in the world, but there is no reason to feel the pressure of doing it alone. By designing effective solutions that will support companies or communities in getting started, once hearts and minds are won over, the rest will then quickly follow and crucially, be maintained. It all comes down to improving understanding to break down the myth that it will be more complicated than current approaches, and developing easy, achievable habits with alternative initiatives and behaviours. As we all look to do our bit in improving our ways of living, to avoid increasing even more the effects of climate change, we should bring with us and grasp onto opportunities to collaboratively work towards a better, greener future, as individuals, communities, and organisations.

There is no doubt that the last 18 months brought the subject of health and well-being into sharp focus. Many of us had to learn how to stay active within the four walls of home, devoting significant willpower, determination, and energy into ensuring that the sudden lack of activity and routine didn’t come at the expense of our health.

It is of course true that most of us know that we need to eat well and exercise regularly to stay healthy. Nevertheless, it is also the case that a lot of us find it hard to do either in a sustained manner. Rationally, we may know these things are important for our own personal interest, but something often seems to get in the way. Academics, behavioural experts, and health professionals have known for many years that mere awareness of a health issue or risk is not always enough to motivate people to change deeply entrenched habits or to develop new ones.

Developing and sustaining motivation for lifestyle change is critical in managing chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes or heart and pulmonary disease. But the same is equally true across many other aspects of healthcare as well as any number of personal health and fitness related goals, be it remembering to take medication at particular times, kicking bad habits, the journey from couch to 5k, or any number of well-intentioned New Year’s Resolutions.

Health motivation has many of the same influences as other aspects of motivation but with, perhaps, some specific additions to the mix. Alongside the obvious environmental, physical, and psychological variables and the experiences that can shape our perceptions, there is an equation of perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers that can combine to determine individual attitudes and actions. Even with a positive attitude, action can often still require a cue, stimulus, or nudge. We all need encouragement to put us, and keep us, on the right path and that is where the use of digital innovation can go a long way to building our engagement.

More than ‘just a game’

Gamification, Serious Games and Game Design have all been growing in use over the last 10 years in a wide range of non-entertainment contexts, from finances to learning to play the piano and everything in between. There are several reasons for this, a key one being how well these approaches can engage and focus users. It is this capacity for engagement, encouragement and commitment that can make Game Design and Gamification significantly impactful within Health and Wellbeing.

 


Want to refresh your memory on Gamification?

Check out our explainer on Serious Games, Game Design,
and the use of Gamification following the link below.

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Recent years have seen an increased application of game thinking across health, fitness, and wellbeing through the explosion of fitness apps and a better understanding of motivation and behavioural psychology. The growing use of Gamification to support the management of chronic illness, rehabilitation, health, and wellbeing is already proving to have fascinating and significant benefits. Serious contexts with serious connotations and consequences, but with an opportunity to inject well designed user focussed strategies that can support people on their journey to changing their behaviours for the better and towards improved health.

A System for Support

An important initial step in managing a long-term condition, such as diabetes or a heart condition, is helping with their overall understanding and awareness. Depending on diagnosis, traditionally a GP or doctor will talk through symptoms to monitor or watch out for supported with leaflets, websites and an initial schedule of check-ups and tests. In cases where the individual may have access to specialists and dedicated practitioners, their progress and the management of their condition may have more support to hand – perhaps with these specialists available for frequent check-ups and monitoring, personalised health plans, etc. Sadly, the growing prevalence of these conditions across a health service that is already economically challenged, makes this support increasingly difficult to provide.

Despite the best endeavours of healthcare professionals, diagnosis of a chronic illness can still be a lonely, confusing, or frightening period for many. Faced with such, it is all too easy to resort to the internet to identify and interpret symptoms or browse forums to find what has worked for other people. This can, of course, become even more confusing and frightening since the available information may not feel relevant or be appropriate for each situation.

Given the importance of scalability and availability, this is where appropriate and well-designed technology solutions can help to complement the support system provided by medical professionals facing a level of increasing demand that they cannot possibly satisfy in the long term. Whilst some people have claimed that the pace of digital innovation that has taken place in the last ten months is equivalent to that of the previous ten years, this does not perhaps fairly reflect some of the innovation that has been quietly taking place across the health sector and is starting to deliver significant benefits.

Health and Gamification in Practice

A good example of gamification being successfully integrated into a healthcare solution can be seen with PainSquad: a smartphone based electronic pain management tool which helps 8 to 18-year old cancer patients track pain levels and complete daily reports. It turns an emotionally complex task into an engaging experience, as users climb the ranks and earn rewards by habitually using a crime-fighting style application. The result? 90%+ initial completion rates for the pain journals, a percentage noted to be unheard of in paediatric medicine, highlighting the empowering and constructive impact that a gamified experience can have.

Another example of using gamification can be seen with Mango Health. Their smartphone application is designed to allow users to set up their daily medication schedule and then provides them with appropriate prompts to take the medication. If the user takes their medication at the right time, they earn points that can be converted into gift cards or even charitable donations.  On top of this, the mobile app also provides educational materials about the user’s medication, including drug interactions and potential side effects.

Occasionally there is a concern raised regarding the opportunity to address health matters with digital solutions, based on an assumption that it involves expensive and frequently inaccessible technologies. Or that they end up reducing the important subject and science at their core. However there are plenty of examples where technology has helped make a significant and positive impact on health and well being, and plenty of examples demonstrating how technology actually improves scalability and accessibility of much needed support. For instance, the role of virtual reality video games in promoting active movement, improving balance, and increasing energy expenditure in children with cerebral palsy. These examples have used a Nintendo Wii or Microsoft Kinect as a low cost, accessible way to offer self-motivated physical therapy through a video game. Studies showed that patients who participated in virtual reality gaming therapy increased the intensity, frequency, and duration of therapy movements, leading to enhanced motor performance.

Whilst the use of gamification in healthcare has been around for a while, it is still developing and continues to represent a significant opportunity for future research and impact.  As an example that demonstrates how fast this is expanding and how seriously it is being applied right now, the FDA in America recently made a landmark decision to officially validate the use of a video game as a prescribed treatment for children with ADHD after 7 years of clinical trials.

Rehabilitation and Recovery

Another stimulating opportunity area for the application of game thinking in healthcare lies in rehabilitation and recovery from acute conditions such as strokes or spinal injury. Here, there are good examples where “real” games can play as important a role in a patient’s recovery as specifically made serious games. To help recovery, the engaging and fun nature of the game is of critical importance. Video games require focused and repetitive movements, which is often exactly what is needed for this kind of rehabilitation. Because the game is fun and provides the patient a distraction whilst they play, it is potentially able to offer a degree of sustainability that traditional rehabilitation may not always be able to easily provide.

For example, games such as Battlefield have been used to help stroke patients by using special controllers that use the feet rather than hands to move. This has been shown to help to recover lost function, by encouraging repetitive movements and stimulation. Research has also shown that more active games, such as Wii Fit Sports, where controllers are motion activated, can improve upper body muscle activation in quadriplegics and tetraplegics.

In contrast to the reuse of standard games with modified controllers or gameplay tweaks, there are also games that are created specifically for rehabilitation. One such game, designed by a research team at Newcastle University, was successfully used to evaluate the effectiveness of small changes to therapeutic regimes, by asking the patient to play a simple video game that measured their physical responses to onscreen movement.

One of the key reasons we are all drawn to games in their different forms is precisely because of their ability to immerse us in a different world, or a different story, with different rules to the one we live in normally. The notion of being able to open new worlds for people to explore, when they may be feeling trapped or struggling in whatever way, is incredibly exciting and is matched with the positive results and outcomes achieved in patients taking on these new forms of therapy. In the same way that we are seeing more and more innovative story telling in the traditional world of games, perhaps we can look forward to even more inspirational blends of imagination, creativity and science to deliver real change and impact in rehabilitation and recovery?

Wellbeing

Wellbeing is often used to cover a vast array of topics, from mental wellness to weight management to fitness. Whether it is the use of Wii Bowling to help keep the eldering active, corporate fitness schemes that make use of wearable technologies to create internal competitions and challenges or more bespoke solutions that help monitor mental health and depression such as SuperBetter, game thinking and gamification are increasingly being applied to enable effective solutions.

Within the workplace, gamified solutions have already proven the value and positive impact they can offer in terms of the employee experience and in achieving organisational objectives. Whether it is in terms of consistent and effective onboarding, uniting remote teams, engaging individuals in learning and development, or standardising processes and approaches, gamified tools and experiences have been shown to be readily adopted and to deliver tangible results.  However, there is space for this value and user centric approach to be directed towards corporate wellness schemes in order to produce meaningful solutions, beyond counting how many daily steps you achieve as a team. There is no doubt that the world of work already has and will continue to undergo significant change. There is already acute focus on employee wellbeing and organisations across all sectors are faced with the need to increase participation, commitment and overall engagement amongst their employees whilst also finding the balance between empathy and effectiveness. During the pandemic, the necessary distancing, shielding, and lockdown requirements meant that loneliness impacted on health and wellbeing with 24% of adults feeling significantly isolated. The use of technology to replace face to face social interactions undoubtedly helped some individuals maintain contact and activities through these abnormal times. There has never been a more important time for organisations to apply innovation to these areas with digital solutions to support health and well-being as an intrinsic part of their employee experience.

Change for the Future

There is enough pressure in today’s society to fit one fitness standard or another, and the reality is everyone is fighting their own personal challenge regarding their health and wellbeing and where they would like it to be. Whatever the solution, it cannot lose sight of the end needs and requirements of the user it should be helping and supporting. Solutions do not need to be overly complex to be effective. When considering behaviour change, we are often focused on making small changes to help new behaviours stick. Constant availability, reliability and security are also important characteristics of these solutions whilst it is important to keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” approach so personalisation and user-focussed design will determine adoption and ultimately sustained behaviour outcomes. It is time to take careful steps towards future designs that leverage the exciting possibilities and mechanics, founded on the exciting scientific research, in order to deliver exciting and encouraging results for the individuals at the heart.

Whether you’re the one doing the chasing or the one being chased, mandatory training is rarely a source of fun or enthusiasm.
But given it’s usually vital information that you need to prove you have completed and understood, it really should be something people feel motivated to do. If you’re looking for ways to improve completion rates and help people want to participate, rather than feel they have to, we can enhance learning and reimagine processes to make them more engaging, intuitive and enjoyable.
Breaking down content and energising the experience.

 

Feeling Inspired?
Get in touch and see how we could help you tackle the engagement challenges you’re facing.  

RAMP, Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation, Gamification…
What are we talking about?

 

Our Gamification Guru, Andrzej Marczewski, breaks down some of the theories and concepts we often talk about and use in our Engagement Solutions.

Interested in how Gamification or Behavioural Science could help your organisation achieve objectives and boost engagement?  

 

The last few months have opened the public’s eyes to vulnerabilities in the care system more than ever before. Groups and communities have been isolated, while those trying to protect them have had increased pressure and responsibility, with little or no enhanced approaches to help. There is a real need to rebuild care and connection, utilising the tools and innovation we often apply to other sectors of society.

What should the next generation of care look like? Where could we go from here for cross-collaboration between communities and areas of expertise? Can similar approaches and an understanding of users be applied in a preventative way? And how can we innovatively introduce technology in everyday interactions to improve quality of life?

In our virtual lecture with Newcastle University Open Lab, the team walk through a solution focussed on streamlining and reimagining working processes with compassion. We examine the development journey, through the lens of a real care shift, as an example of how technology, UX design, and empathy can come together to create insightful tools that empower users and promote quality care.

The first step of many towards addressing the structural, resourcing, societal and emotive challenges at the heart of an aging population. 

Feeling Inspired? Why not talk to the team behind the solution?
Our team are always happy to chat through different challenges, ideas or even just compare notes. Drop us an email and we’ll connect you to someone who can help.
Get in touch

Building Tools, Tasks, Teams and Trust

For many of us, recent events have challenged our concept of collaboration, connectivity and life in general. Remote teams have been forced to juggle integrating work and personal needs, while organisations have had to respond to a chain of complicated business conditions and challenges. The future seems to offer no clarity. A key question on the minds of employers now is how can they continue to keep a workforce engaged in times of such uncertainty. Any organisation’s greatest asset, engaged employees feel empowered and inspired to perform to the best of their abilities, deliver excellent customer experiences and achieve organisational goals.

At a time when many organisations are having to quickly re-evaluate strategies, resources and culture as well as develop new policies and approaches; there is an opportunity to creatively enable employee engagement.

Our latest webinar explores how we can build participation, motivation and commitment in a workforce with evolving perspectives, needs and values. The team look at how elements of game thinking and motivational theory can be used to maintain and increase engagement, and how this can then be embedded in HR best practices in order to make a real difference in the workplace when people may feel disconnected, disrupted, unfulfilled, and uncertain of the future.

 

Events of late created a “forced trial” of remote working for many companies, shifting the way we all think about collaboration and teamwork. In this webinar we look at how motivational theory can be used to maintain and increase engagement across businesses during such unprecedented times, where people feel disconnected, disrupted, unfulfilled, and uncertain of the future.

Tech solutions are not enough, especially in isolation. They need to have people’s needs at their core. In the session below we explored how understanding this can improve communication, productivity and overall engagement across teams and businesses.

For more background reading on the subject, check out our post on remote work and RAMP

 

 

The demand for remote working keeps growing, with technology enabling employees to balance personal life with their commitment to work. How can companies be preparing to meet expectations and adapt to a more remote workforce?
Check out the stats below or download your own copy of the infographic.

As we face new challenges in the workplace and the world in general, it seems that working from home and remote workforces will become an increasingly common practice. Employees and employers alike will be feeling the strain to balance priorities and maintain ‘business as usual’ structures. Communication tools and software are imperative for ensuring connectivity. If implemented alone, without strategy and an understanding of how your team engage in their work, they can feel like tools to monitor and observe employees.

Here we will look at how even just a basic understanding of motivation can help you to ensure your employees or your team, whatever their profile or drives, stay engaged and motivated whilst working from home – now and in the future.

The RAMP model is based on Self Determination Theory and stands for Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Relatedness taps into our innate desire to be connected to others, Autonomy, the need to have choice and freedom. Mastery is a need to improve, feel progress and achievement. Finally, Purpose can be described as the “reason” we do things.

All of these can hold the key to make working from home feel as productive or satisfying as working in an office.

Relatedness

This is one of the most important aspects that can be lost when working from home. In the office you always have people around to talk to, bounce ideas off and even just share a lunch break with. Working from home can be calming for some, isolating for others – and in times of uncertainty it is important to find ways to stay connected, not micromanaged.

  • Tools
    When working from home, it can be very isolating if no effort is made to engage with others. Most companies have tools that will enable this one way or another, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack and so on. Don’t bombard each other, but find reasons to send a positive message or email, and make sure there are meetings held on conference call, video call or even the good old-fashioned phone. Give your people a voice, literally!
  • Conversation & Collaboration
    When working from home for extended periods, make sure your employees are using those tools in a way similar to how they would talk to people in the office. Just because it is text based, doesn’t mean it can’t be just as valuable. If they are not using the tools, why not ask questions, send thoughts, share an anectdote. It is all part of keeping motivated and reminding you that there are others out there with you.

Autonomy

With remote work, it is important to accept that employees will naturally have more freedom and inevitably less structure than they may have in the office. If they are working from home to balance family life or health needs or extenuating circumstances with work commitments, flexibility is important. Flexibility doesn’t mean employees going MIA – which is a message for both employees and their managers. Don’t tie your employees to their desktops and phones out of fear. Connect with them and empower them to continue contributing and they will feel all the better (and perform more) for it.

  • Trust
    There may be a temptation to check in with employees more often than you might normally. This reduces their feeling of agency and autonomy. In turn, this makes them feel less trusted.
  • Accountability
    Whilst autonomy is great, employees need to be disciplined and take accountability for the work that has been set, or for finding work to be done.
  • Job Done vs Time Done
    Accept that employees will use their time working remotely differently to when they are in the office, breaking the concept of 9-5. Focus on rewarding and celebrating people getting work done, rather than whether they were online at 09:01. It can be hard, especially with current stresses, for people to be mentally present and motivated during strict time frames. Maintain ambitious project ideas, stick to deadlines, and celebrate when the job is done.

Mastery

This may be a little less obvious at first. If you are suddenly now part of a remote team, you might be feeling like your career progression has gone on hold, or maybe you’re struggling to keep up with your company’s e-learning system with other things on your mind. How can people develop their skills or experience when there is no one there to see them do it? Particularly if you’re from a more traditional working environment, working from home can end up feeling like you’re just sitting around. Mastery is about more than ticking boxes. Mastery is about achievement, and there are many ways for you to feel you are continuing to accomplish things professionally in a less conventional setting.

  • Goals
    Make sure that everyone has clear goals and that progress towards them can be tracked (for the employee’s benefit more than yours). It is essential that goals are achievable, and progress is recognised. If this is proving complicated in the beginning, break them down into smaller goals to build momentum.
  • Feedback
    Provide constructive feedback as regularly as makes sense for each employee. Whilst working remotely, it can be very hard to feel that you are succeeding or achieving anything, or to know what other people are doing around you.
  • Self-Guided Learning
    Help your team feel able to use their time to expand their skills with online and virtual learning/training courses. This will go towards them feeling trusted to manage their time, as well as providing some structure and even some inspiration for their day to day work.

Purpose

There are two versions of purpose that are important here. Firstly, finding some sort of value and meaning to the work you are doing – a reason why you are doing it. Organisations and employers play a huge role in this by helping to remind employees why the work they do is important, and emphasising that they are all part of a collective, collaborative group rather than remote satellites. The other aspect is philanthropic purpose, helping others. As mentioned before remote working, especially if somewhat involuntary, can be isolating for your team members. It is vital for team morale and motivation to keep up the human aspect of work rather than only pinging people for a favour or work related question.

  • Purpose and Value
    The more disconnected you are from an organisation, the easier it is to forget the importance of what you’re doing. It is essential that you keep up communications with your team so that you all don’t lose sight of your common goals and purpose. Also companies should be encouraged to continue sharing communications and updates to remove the sense of people working for or towards something invisible.
  • Helping Others
    The other type of purpose, that of helping others. Just because you can’t do a coffee round as you would in the office, doesn’t mean you can’t still help others in some way remotely. Make yourself available and remember that everyone is in the same boat!