Profiling Through Play


Knack combined interactive entertainment with cutting edge data analysis to gather data that would allow corporations to create meaningful profiles by comparing employee and applicant performance in video games.

I was hired as a consultant to improve their core game design, fully integrate their data model into their games, and help them with generating user profiles for their user-facing web site.

The Goal

Knack’s goal was to use games to gather user data to create meaningful profiles of top employees. By comparing this data to Knack’s playing audience, corporations would be able to find uniquely qualified candidates for hard-to-fill job positions.

The goal was to create interfaces and entertainment that balanced fun and engagement with data gathering, and make finding work and entertaining experience.

The company also wanted an integrated user profile where players could track their experience and progress by collecting attribute badges called “knacks”.

Some of the most difficult challenges in gamification can come from making sure that the game model meets the requirements while remaining entertaining.

The results needed to be displayed multiple ways, demanding multiple outputs and dashboards for the different cases including:

• User Facing
• Client Facing
• Research Team Access

The Strategy

The scientists were constantly learning that many interactive experiences were *already* based on solid psychological footing.

The solution was to more deeply integrate the effects the academics were looking for into practical game play dynamics.

When I began there were teams already in place, ready to execute on the concepts.

My role was to make sure that the fundamental play dynamics would move the game in the direction it was supposed to go, and redirect the projects towards the proper goals when it didn’t.

I worked with researchers to define the web user profile attributes based on user personas and define a frame to motivate the user to until they system had gathered the data needed to generate an accurate user profile.

Further, I helped the we team to develop a structure for the player profiles that would effectively integrate into the user profile model, working with the web team to defined botht the assets and the attributes that would be revealed to the player.

As well as help define the dashboard that would be seen on the corporate end, looking to find the right person for the job.

An earl concept for the Knack home page.

The Outcome

Knack deployed a number of games both on mobile and on the web, and worked with numerous high profile clients, including Shell, Bain Capital, and Starbucks. The company received great praise and attention for its unique attempt at solving the problem of matching candidates to the work opportunity through gamification.