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Melinda Jacobs

Chief Product Officer,

Melinda Jacobs is a product expert, gamification specialist, and N7 paragon with over 12 years of experience. She’s a geeky nerd who found a way to combine her love of games and her fascination with people’s behavior into award-winning expertise. As Mindstone’s Chief Product Officer, she’s on a mission to help people unlock opportunities by showcasing their learning from everyday content. Previously, she was the founder of the digital experience agency Subatomic and helped organizations develop interactive experiences that change behavior through play, games, and gamification. She routinely gives talks around the world on playful design, behavioral science, and technology ethics.


From Cheat Codes to Conscious Choices: A Deep Dive into Gamification Ethics

Gamification is often marketed as the ultimate solution for user engagement, brand loyalty, and behavioral change. But beneath the surface of the points, badges, and leaderboards lies a pressing question: Are we genuinely motivating users, or subtly manipulating them?
In this session, we’ll delve into the often blurred lines between ethical engagement and design manipulation. By debunking the myths surrounding gamification’s ‘magic’, we’ll underscore the crucial role of understanding the systems we’re designing within. We’ll highlight the dangers of designing solely for vanity metrics that favor quantity over quality and why the mechanics driving frequent use may actually be getting in the way of your value proposition. This talk will act as a guide toward building more ethically sound, genuinely engaging experiences.