If you have looked at my User Types HEXAD or read any of my work (hey, Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play is a great Christmas present to yourself or anyone you love….), you will have noticed that Disruptors are often portrayed as the bad guys of the group. Now, this is for good reason in some respects, I added them due to some observed bad behaviors in systems I had been involved with. Turns out gamified systems are not eutopian worlds of love, points and badges… Some people just enjoy being a pain in the butt!

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

However, not all disruption is bad, or at least not all Disruptors are bad. When I originally added them, they had a broader categorisation of 4 types.

Disruptor 13554607765574786957 500x435 The Importance of Disruptors


The way I saw it and what I had seen led me to believe that some Disruptors were more “misunderstood” than evil, wishing to find and highlight issues rather than destroy everything.

It is easy to dismiss behaviours such as complaining about a new system, or pushing the boundaries and finding bugs as being negative. However, it may just be someone’s attempt to get heard. That’s when when I created the Inspiration card deck and put together the gamification elements I was using, I included tools that help Disruptors find a voice, such as voting systems and ideation platforms.

Periodic table of gamification elements6442582484978928485 1 The Importance of Disruptors

Disruptors, Your Friend and Mine

When I am asked what to do with Disruptors, I have to split my answer. It would be easy to say “bring forth the ban hammer and remove them”. However, you need to look more closely at their behaviour and try to understand the motives. Are the actually trying to tell you something, are the like a misbehaving child – looking for attention to point out a flaw or injustice.

If you can get ahead of their behaviour and understand those motives, you can actually convert what seems to be a negative interaction into something incredibly positive. Listen to them, give them a voice. They care enough about the system to take time to reach out, no matter how the action may initially be perceived. If you take notice, communicate with them and act on anything they may be right about, you may just convert them into one of your biggest fans!

A Disruptor is for life, not just for Christmas!

Merry Christmas Monkey The Importance of Disruptors

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