Gaming The System

Gamification is poised to have a disruptive effect on things like data collection, and Insights Meta is ready to help make it happen.

By Katy Schamberger

When Jason Anderson decided to relocate to Kansas City from the West Coast, he knew he wanted to continue his career in the games industry and maintain his focus on gaming and research. The solution? Anderson channeled his inner entrepreneur and created Insights Meta, a market research gamification agency fueled by a simple yet critical guiding principal.

“We want to bring what we know about the games experience into the traditional market research world,” Anderson says.

It’s an approach that makes sense, especially given the ongoing proliferation of gaming and the growing need for gaming-inspired intelligence.

“There’s doing research for games and there’s building games for research applications,” Anderson says. “On the gamification side, that’s where we’re focusing most of our new product development effort. We’ve been working with large research agencies to find ways to gamify the traditional survey and focus group experience.”

Anderson describes the gamified survey framework as “a Survey Monkey for games-based research.” Consider a typical survey, for example, that might show a participant 15 different screens while asking the individual to pick which ones they like the most.

By incorporating gamification, the survey could instead include a card game with built-in rules that will elicit the same sort of choices and decision scenarios so that the survey takers could “model out the same outcomes without having participants go through a tedious exercise,” Anderson says.

With surveys becoming an increasingly ubiquitous part of the online experience, especially for retailers and service providers, finding an innovative (yet effective) way to gather data is undoubtedly needed. And although it may initially seem like a gamified survey might only appeal to a younger demographic, Anderson says his research disputes that theory.

“What’s really fascinating about that example is that we ran a large multi-country study with about 20,000 participants and the gamified survey was strongly preferred over the traditional way of doing things,” he says. “There wasn’t any real gender bias, either.”

The potential for this sort of data collection application is so compelling, in fact, that Insights Meta recently won a notable accolade for the concept. Anderson entered the Insight Innovation Competition at The Insights Innovation eXchange, which gives businesses of different sizes and maturity an opportunity to submit concepts for ways to innovate within the research practice.

Insights Meta took home second place at the most recent competition in Amsterdam as part of IIeX Europe, recognition that Anderson says has already led “to some really good traction with potentially large licensees for the technology down the road.”

To better serve those in the gaming industry, Insights Meta is also examining ways to build a dedicated product testing facility in which people could try out products that are under development, an immersive experience through which clients can collect invaluable feedback about how to refine and improve their games.

“There aren’t a lot of resources locally for manning those sorts of projects, but we think we can build that up,” Anderson says.