step for success business conceptThe word gamification has sprung up and grown like a mushroom over the last few years. One piece of  research has it as number 3 in the top 8 trends for 2018. But what exactly is it and more importantly for those leading, managing and owning businesses what is the value of using games to tackle organisational and business problems?

Wikipedia discusses the subject extensively, saying “Gamification commonly employs game design elements to improve user engagement…”. Another site offers comments on the G-word that are less than favourable.“Gamification is marketing bullshit, invented by consultants as a means to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business where bullshit already reigns anyway.”

The article continues “The rhetorical power of the word ‘gamification’ is enormous. And it does precisely what the bullshitters want: it takes games – a mysterious, magical powerful medium that has captured the attention of millions of people – and it makes them accessible in the context of contemporary business.”

At this point you might conclude that Gamification is a very powerful tool invented and used by consultants with something slippery and perhaps pointless about its application. Is there more?

Looking for enlightenment Harry G Frankhurt who taught at Princeton University from 1990 to 2002 and went on to be Professor Emeritus has an article On Bullshit.. He defines bullshit as “speech intended to persuade without regard for truth”. He continues “the liar cares about the truth and attempts to hide it: the bullshitter doesn’t care if what they say is true or false, but rather only cares whether or not their listener is persuaded”.

Does that mean that games and simulation should be discarded? Those who create them are certainly looking to take a real issue and “make a game of it”. Luckily, the Frankfurt text implies a willingness to deceive and a desire to convince without any concern for truth. This is not true for most of those involved in designing games and simulations. While the objective of the game or simulation will vary in all cases the final objective is the driver, game elements are the means to achieve it, and there is no intention to deceive.

This said there is an aspect post game, let me call it, “de-gamification”. This is the stage where participants are encouraged to reflect on the in-game lessons and consider to what degree they can be applied back in their everyday world.

There are obstacles that make the de-gamification process hard. “Game” has strong connotations of “not real’ and ‘played for fun’. The connotation of ‘played to learn’ is weaker. Indeed it can be hard to decide what is a game and what is not. A famous quote from Bill Shankly runs:“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it’s much more serious than that”.

The humour obscures the fact that football is indeed a serious matter when you consider the money involved, the commitment of those playing and administering, and all the supporters.

Game like features used to arouse interest must be carefully watched lest the experience is remembered for the fun aspect and not for the learning it was intended to convey. As an example, some senior managers commissioning a game or simulation may demand “I must have a winner to whom I can present a prize”. To that winner, the joy of success may be remembered while the learning element is forgotten

There must be skill both in gamifying and de-gamifying so the importance of the subject is not overlooked. Design and facilitation teams must be concerned to encourage reflection and down-play comments about having produced a good game.


The 6 Bucket List Holidays Your Family Should Take This Year

Theatre Sicily Italy Taormina Theater Greek Ruins

When it comes to holidays, there is a world of opportunity waiting for you. Whatever the age of your child, you should consider trying something new. You might have always wanted to see the Northern Lights or escape to an island in the Indian Ocean. Holidays can also be a great way to make your child’s school curriculum come to life and help them learn.

The Northern Lights and Snow Safari

Taking a trip to Finnish Lapland is a great adventure and ideal for children aged 4 to 14. The Northern Lights are one of the greatest natural displays our planet has to offer. It is a completely free, multicoloured light show that is most common in the Arctic regions.

If you want to see these lights in their full glory, you will need to head north and to around 60 degrees latitude at least. Finnish Lapland is appealing to families for other reasons as well. You can easily combine the search for the Northern Lights with a snowmobile safari, a visit to a reindeer farm or go snowshoeing.

Sun, Sea and Sand

The Greek Islands are another great destination for a holiday and will be great for all children from babies to 18-year-olds. If you are bored of heading to other warm spots for the summer like Spain, France and Italy, you should take a trip to Greece. Greece has a great offering of sleepy villages, beautiful beaches, hearty food and amazing relics that will be universally appealing.

The last few years have been hard on Greek tourism. There was financial instability and then the eastern islands become the first port for thousands of refugees fleeing the war in Syria and Libya. This led to an 11% fall in tourists, but this can be good for you as there are now a lot of good deals to be had in the country.

Total Relaxation

If you want to relax for your holiday, you should head to St David’s which is ideal for children aged 1 to 8. Pembrokeshire is one of the best places for a family to head because of the attractions that keep the children occupied and the St Davids holiday cottages just off the coast. The coast surrounding St David’s will vie for your children’s attention with the incredible wildlife that they can find.

Many people do not realise that the area can be an entirely new environment that their children will love exploring. While this might seem like the least exotic feature on a bucket list, it can do a lot of change your family dynamics.

Live Ancient History

Ancient history is best appreciated in Sicily, Rome and Naples. These destinations will be best for older children aged 7 to 12. If you have a child that is a reluctant classicist, there is nothing like a trip to the source to change their mind.

While you are visiting the area, you can follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans with child-focused itineraries in Pompeii and Rome. You can take archaeologist-led tours of the sites to get a full understanding of everything that happened in both places. You can then top all of this off with a few days relaxing in Sicily where a kid’s club can entertain the children while you enjoy some spa activities or golf lessons.

A Wildlife Bonanza

A lot of people forget that Borneo is a great holiday destination particularly for children aged 12 to 18. Borneo is actually one of the best places to wildlife watch and if this is your child’s last year at home, you might want to take them on a trip if a lifetime. Borneo has a lot to offer from cactus forests to stark lava formations, turquoise bays, tropical beaches and lush green highlands.

The best thing about Borneo is the wildlife which you can view at almost every turn. You will often come face to face with the curious and strangely fearless animals that live on the island within minutes of landing.

A Self-Drive Safari

Going on safari in Canada is something that you might want to consider if you have children aged 13 to 18. Canada has some of North America’s most spectacular landscapes and you will be able to drive through the Rockies and past glittering lakes. You can start in the cosmopolitan Vancouver before heading to Wells Gray Provincial Park and Lake Louise.

In these locations, you can search for grizzly bears, bald eagles and moose. There are also plenty of mountain biking trails, white water rafting experiences and horse riding opportunities.

Six Unforgettable Vacations For Your Family In 2018

Regardless of how old your child is in the year 2018, it is time to grab the family and try something new this year.

We all have dreams of seeing far off lands, which can include watching the Northern Lights above a small town in Scandinavia, sailing the Indian Ocean, or perhaps travelling to Egypt to explore the tombs your child recently learned about!

1) Relaxation for the Body and Mind

For children between the ages of infant and eight, there is no better time than now to visit the incredible area of St Davids, Pembrokeshire.

The area is an incredible area seemingly designed just for children to explore. There is an abundance of wildlife and the area just has a safe feel to it, which allows parents to relax. While we realize this destination may seem a tad bland for a family bucket list, it is the perfect location for the family to bond and come together. A week in St Davids cottages is the perfect getaway to unwind, far away from the chaos of everyday life.

2) A Snow Safari Under the Northern Lights

This is a vacation for children between the ages of 4 and 14 and is located in Finnish Lapland.

We all know that going on vacation can be a rather expensive venture, with so many attractions costing several dollars. However, with the Northern Lights, you get to see one of nature’s premier attractions for free. In order to see this explosion of lights in the northern sky, one must head north and be above a latitude of 60 degrees. Finnish Lapland is one of the best destinations for the Northern Lights in addition to all of the other family-friendly attractions such as the local reindeer farm, snowmobile safaris, and snowshoeing.

3) Blue Seas and White Sand

The Greek Islands is a premier destination to bring children from the infant stage all the way up to eighteen.

Many people try to enjoy summer vacations in the UK, Spain, France and Italy, however, it can be rather crowded.

For a much simpler vacation with far fewer crowds and the chance to explore ancients relics, gorgeous beaches and quaint villages, Greece is the ideal location.

If you follow world news at all, you know that Greece has suffered through some major financial stability. In addition, the eastern islands became a major port of call for thousands of migrants fleeing from Libya and Syria, which caused an 11 percent drop in tourism to that area With these issues, Greece has become open to some incredible deals for those looking to save money.

4) Revisit Ancient History

For children between the ages of 9 and 12, a perfect destination would be the areas of Sicily, Rome, and Naples.

This is an ideal location for children who want nothing to do with ancient history, to them it belongs in a boring history book. There are several child-size tours that allow the young ones to follow in the footsteps of ancient soldiers, visit the villagers and animals that have been frozen in ash on Pompeian, and a favorite of many children, check out the Great Sewer by the Forum. After all of the excitement, the whole family can enjoy a few days in Sicily with clubs for kid and spas and golf for the adults.

5) Wild Animal Excursions

If you have children between the ages of 12 and 18 who just happen to love wild animals, Borneo is going to be a hit destination.

If your child is getting ready to leave home and you are looking for one trip of a lifetime, the wildlife excursions of Borneo cannot be missed. Borneo is an incredible land that is filled with green highlands, cactus forests, lava formations, and gorgeous tropical beaches. However, the one thing that makes Borneo so unique is all of the wildlife. Typically, you are going to come face to face with some creature within seconds of walking onto this tropical island paradise.

6) A Northern Safari

While Canada may seem an unlikely area for a safari, it is the perfect location, especially for children between the ages of 13 and 18.

Consider this one of the easiest final frontiers to get to. Imagine trekking along the snow-covered Rockies and ice-covered lakes as the wind whips across the road. One can begin the journey in Vancouver for a little city time and then head off to Whistler, Jasper National Park, Wells Gray Provincial Park, and finally Lake Louise.

Improving the Security in Your Commercial Location

One of the most important factors in the overall profitability of your commercial location is its security. If you don’t have a smart plan in effect that will thwart would-be raiders, your stock, valuable equipment and livelihood are left exposed to the criminal element.

Here are some intelligent practices you can apply to beef up the security in your shop, service centre, gym, factory, academy or any commercial location.

1) Risk Assessment

The first order of business will be to identify all the risks relative to your commercial locations. Take an afternoon to walk about the place in a crooked frame of mind. Consider how it would be easiest to break in, where a valuable object could be accessed through a broken window and other areas of security threats. If possible, consult architects in Guilford to pinpoint all the weak entrance points of the building and come up with a design which doesn’t leave your building vulnerable to unauthorised entry.

2) Strengthen entry points

An opportunistic thief knows the easiest way into a building is through the conventional entry or access routes. Windows and roof access points can also be used to break in and steal and should be fortified as well. Chooses doors and windows with solid construction and resilience. All doors and windows should be locked down and shuttered tight after closing time.

3) Secure the perimeter

The vast majority of thievery and burglary crimes are caused by an irresistible temptation for unguarded goods. Most petty crooks these days don’t have the time or interest to consider a heist on a well-guarded location. But, if there is no good lighting, the perimeter of your company is in run-down conditions or the locks are frequently left open, you send a strong invitation to passersby to come in for a five-finger discount. Of course, you will need to consider your potential clients and not make your business look like Fort Knox.

4) Install CCTV and alarms

“SMILE! THESE PREMISES ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE”, this notice always reduces the probability of making away with stolen property or conducting effective vandalism. CCTV and alarm systems are a strong deterrent for all types of criminals from rookie hoodlums to seasoned cat thieves. Make sure you get an expert to help you select the best application for your location.

5) Know your staff and visitors

As the value of your merchandise or equipment rises so will the need for a tight-knit community of visitors, clients and staff members. Those operating businesses dealing with precious metals, for example, will want to perform background checks on their employees and have a strict identification system for clients seen only by appointment. Sign in and out systems can also keep track of what happened and when.

6) Safeguard important equipment

Whether you run an office or a health spa, there is a good chance you have valuable computers, laptops, tablets, merchandise or other necessary equipment lying about the location. There should be a well-appointed system for keeping valuables from becoming misplaced or stolen. This may involve locking IT equipment in a safer storage unit. There are also gadgets that can help you locate items or set off alarms if they are moved from their proper location.

7) Protect your business online

It is not just your physical locations that need protection in this modern day and age, Cybercrime is garnering profits from all types of online transactions and those that lack any type of protection from cybercriminals can be singled out for an attack. Take the time and resources to fit your online transactions with top-of-the-line cyber security features. Furthermore, keep tabs of which employees are provided with passwords.

8) Advertise your security

Don’t make the security systems ion your location to subtle, half of the deterrent is letting intruders know the security is in place. Place some neat and attractive signs that indicate the presence of strong security features.

10 Tips on How to Increase Security on Your Commercial Property

A crucial factor, when you own a property or run a business is to ensure that the property and your employees are secure. If you have failed to take the necessary steps to ensure intruders stay out, your business may be susceptible to attacks. Below are a few important steps you should be taking to improve the security of the premises.

1. Risk Assessment

To begin with, you need to identify weak points present in the business. Talk to your staff about things they think should be improved on and examine the news and local advice to find out what happens in your immediate area. This can assist you in identifying areas where security may need to be improved.

2. Strengthen Your Entry Points

There might be a number of ways to get into the property that require improved security. Think about any possible avenues where intruders may try to use in order to enter the premises, followed by reacting accordingly. Consult with local architects and install windows and doors of a solid construction and make sure they feature secure locks. You should also ensure they are locked and closed when the premises are empty.

3. Secure Your Perimeter

When intruders see that the business has been guarded well, it will usually stop them from trying to enter. Relevant security lighting, fencing and a car park that is secure can assist in preventing burglars from entering your property. However, take care not to keep away potential employees or clients in the way of making the property appear like a jail.

4. Install Alarms and CCTV

CCTV is necessary for any person looking for a way to protect their company. These will deter intruders from attempting a break-in as well as assist in identifying culprits that do break in. It is also important to consider the alarm system type that your business needs and ensure to change your codes regularly.

5. Know Who Your Visitors and Staff Are

Try to ensure your business is safe from your own staff and visitors to the building. The background checks can assist in preventing employee theft while signing in and out systems or a visitor-pass usually means you can track every person that comes into and leaves the premises.

6. Safeguard All Your Important Equipment

Tablets, laptops and similar devices are easy to steal when they are lying around. So, ensure they are kept in secure locations as well as hidden. Anything that involves important IT equipment or cash should be securely locked away. When necessary, install computers with an alarm that detects tampering along with recording the serial numbers.

7. Protecting Your Online Business

Cybercrime is another security issue you need to be aware of, which means all your computer-systems need to be protected well. Invest in firewall technology and high-quality anti-virus protection and ask your staff to use strong passwords.

8. Advertise Your Security

When you make it obvious that the building is secured it also deters potential intruders. When you display that you have alarms and CCTV in place it usually makes an intruder rethink whether they should attempt a break-in.

9. Regular Checks

If any faults arise in your overall security system, repairs are required immediately. Repair breakages to windows, doors or your roof and offer reminders to your staff about your safety procedures and to report on any potential threats.

10. Always Be Prepared

Conduct a detailed inventory to track all your equipment, followed by taking photos of all your assets. If you do experience a break-in, act fast by contacting all the necessary parties. If your security system needs to be changed after you experience a break-in, avoid doing the same thing, because the intruders are now aware of the systems in place as well as the equipment that you will need to replace.