Dr Michaella Richards
Chief Strategy Officer, Mighty Serious


For more than 20 years, Michaella Richards has worked around all sides of the health innovation system, including universities, research institutes, technology companies, healthcare providers, user advocates and government. With a PhD in neuroscience, Michaella has particular strengths in evidence-based approaches to development and implementation of strategy, policy and technology. She was the Director of Health technologies and Innovation for the Victorian Government until 2015, when she founded her own advisory business in digital health. As an advisor and consultant over the past eight years, Michaella has worked with health and aged care agencies to explore opportunities for innovation and reform, and to address barriers to adoption. She has also worked with numerous Australian and UK companies to bring digital health products to market. These days, Michaella splits her time as a co-founder of a new gamification start-up Mighty Serious, digital health advisor, yogi and slave to her indoor plants.





The Evidence for Successful Gamification Approaches in Aged Care – A 2023 Analysis

Do you play Wordle? Candy Crush? Duolingo? Collect Super Hero Builders for your kids from Coles? If so, you’re part of the fastest growing group of game players in Australia – 35 years and over.

In 2023, 81% of all Australians play video games. The average game player is older than 35, and half are women. Most (90%) people play games to destress and many (52%) would prefer to use game based tools at work than existing technology solutions.

Gamification, or the use of tools, techniques and psychologies from entertainment games, has emerged in the past decade as a way to improve the experience and success of business operations. From recruitment to training to wellbeing support, gamification technologies and approaches have been moving into the mindset and toolkits of aged care providers, albeit slowly and with varying success.

Gamification approaches have shown to be particularly effective at targeting groups of people who would otherwise not be reached by traditional means – for example, adolescents, older adults or culturally and linguistically diverse populations. For aged care, an industry with a culturally diverse, female-dominated and an average age of 54yr for its workforce, gamification has the potential to deliver significant improvements for day to day business.

This presentation will explore three areas where games have been applied to deliver benefits in aged care or industries like aged care: recruitment, training and care delivery.

For recruitment, mini-games or gamified processes have been successfully used to attract interest from diverse applicants, to streamline recruitment, to screen-in for capability or to screen-out based on attributes like inherent bias. The presentation will present case studies from gamified approaches used by McDonald’s, Hilton and the New Zealand police force to examine take aways for the aged care industry.

For training, gamified learning approaches have been applied to improve incentives to engage learners more closely in learning, to improve learning retention and to stimulate a sense of community around learning. The presentation will examine key gamification techniques from Duolingo for language learning, Ninjio for cybersecurity training and Mighty Cares for aged care training.

For healthcare delivery, gamified approaches are being used in different ways to enable new models of care. The presentation will examine Tablo Outset for home dialysis and reSET for addiction management.

We examine the science behind the success of gamification in these case studies, including user-avatar bonds and flow state. Finally we explore low-hanging fruit for the use of gamification in aged care – focusing on the potential impact for workers and providers as well as for aged care users.