Behavioral product strategist and gamification designer. This is my public hypertext notebook, sharing my thinking in motion at various stages of development.


Lenses of behavioral science and game design principles

I like to Learn by going up and down the ladder of abstraction. One of the main ways that I do this is through developing and testing lenses.

Whenever I find (or come up with my own) frameworks or principles of behavioral influence in a paper, game, or my own practice that I feel may be "generalizable" in some sense, I turn them into a series of abstract questions that I can ask myself across situations. This allows me to solve future problems with my present work and encode knowledge. As I discuss in How we can work together, I'll often find it best to run through these lenses in workshops with clients to leverage their domain knowledge.

Whenever I work on a project and I feel "stuck," I pull out my lenses and narrow it down to the ones that are relevant to the problems at hand. I adjust the questions as necessary and go about answering them. Applying lenses in multiple contexts allows me to refine my mental models and learn their boundary conditions so I improve my intuition of when each will be fruitful for a given problem.

This is one of my processes to systematically generate insight and identify blind spots. Have you ever tried just sitting in front of a blank screen on a computer and telling yourself, "Okay, it's time to be creative now?" I find that, for myself at least, just giving myself the right prompts is usually enough to get me going.

It's not uncommon to encounter consultants who have one lens through which they interpret everything. These people are not living in reality. When it comes to Behavioral Product Strategy or Gamification, this flat out does not work. People and their environments are dynamic and complex and so there will never be one principle that explains why people do what they do and how to change it. There is no curriculum that encompasses everything you should know, so the best we can do is keep adding tools to our belt and learning when and how they are relevant.