Gergely Gurmai, Edu-Game & Training Tool Designer

  • 3 Nov 2020 1:12 PM
Gergely Gurmai, Edu-Game & Training Tool Designer
Gergely Gurmai is and Edu-game and Training Tool Designer. He creates tools of any kind that help people grow in a playful and easy way.

He designed INSPIRE Card Game Series for better habit awareness and achieving our goals, worked with Csíkszentmihályi's FLIGBY Team on a Leadership Development Program, and he was involved in several other playful learning projects. 

Gergely originally has an IT Masters degree and he used to work as a Data Engineer for 8+ years. He worked with several different companies from micro teams to large international enterprises. His structural mindset and engineering background still helps him a lot, but he has changed career path 5 years ago as he became much more interested human behavior and finding easy, fun and natural ways of learning. That's what all his projects are about now.

Early this year, he started collaborating with Secret City Trails to produce interactive, story-based City Discovery Walks scenic views and hidden spots of Budapest.

His new initiative is to create inspiring T-shirt designs that remind people to their values and good things to go for.

1. Where did you grow up?
In a suburb of Budapest. It's quite far from downtown, so I was regularly joked about "When are you coming up to Budapest?"

2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I lived in Belgium and Ireland as an expat and I have tons of great experiences. These times were the most intense periods of my life as I wanted to both grow career-wise and try the local things and meet new people.

On the other hand, Canada and Singapore are counties I could imagine myself and my family staying for a while. We've been to Toronto with my wife and we loved it! The culture, the people, the city, Lake Ontario... I felt that people are more laid back and more welcoming and tolerant there. It's a multicultural city. Canada also has a great education system, which is important for me now as I have a little daughter. Vancouver and Singapore are simply on my list.

3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?
When I was in Belgium and Ireland, I missed the sun. You don't know what you have until you miss it. I thought I would miss my friends but it turned out that I still have several friends that are either international or Hungarian expats living abroad now. Keeping in touch with your friends is up to you and them. Now I would add family to the list. All grandparents love my daughter and vice-versa. We have regular visits which would be much harder if not impossible when living abroad. We also do skype calls but that's not the same for Granny and Grandpa, nor for my little girl.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
My Secret City Trail route covering the most gorgeous views downtown along the Danube. Really, it was my intention when building my route that it has to have
1, a beautiful view
2, interesting insights of hidden parts of the city
3, challenging but solvable riddles
+ an entertaining and fun story.

My personal recommendation is Széchényi and Rudas thermal baths (try the Rooftop Pool!), especially in winter time at night. Wonderful experience!

5. What is your favourite food?
I love Asian and Middle-Eastern food including hummus and all types of curry and wok dishes. I don't eat meat for a year now and these cuisines offer tons of vegetarian meals, not to mention that these spices (turmeric, ginger, coriander, garlic, cinnamon) are both tasty and super-healthy!

6. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise?
I used to do karate, played soccer and did short distance running. All in a national competition level, it was pretty intense. Since I've graduated, I'm not in racing mood anymore. My current favourite is swimming.
7. What is your favourite place in Hungary?

Széchényi and Rudas (try Rooftop Pool, really!). And the other thermal baths in Hungary. Egerszalók, Demjén, Hévíz, Miskolctapolca... lovely places, must visit if you have time to go around the country!

8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
None. Since I was 10, I always wanted to be a computer engineer as I was addicted to computers and all the possibilities that you can use them to do things that would take A LOT longer manually.
And I became a Data Engineer as I was amazed how insights from raw data can help people making decisions by understanding how the world around us really works. Then I realized that giving tools and reports won't help if the people don't change their attitude and behavior.
So now I'm working as a playful learning tool designer focusing on creating AHA moments so players can level up in their lives.
Is my everyday life and career path perfect? Far from that, especially now. But it's worth it.

9. What’s a job you would definitely never want?
Oh boy, that list is pretty long! I had over 10 jobs before I became freelancer and I was always course correcting. Anything that involves routine and manual tasks, strict rules, outdated company policies, including the 40-hour workweek. 

I'm a big disruptor of the 9-to-5 jobs. This is an outdated form of work and science keeps showing that it's unnatural and highly inefficient, especially in creative jobs like mine. Do what you love and do it when you are the most efficient. And one more thing I avoid: "We do it this way, because we have always done it this way."

10. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Lake Balaton, due to current circumstances. First summer holiday with my daughter. She loved the water!

11. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
Hopefully Bilbao and Barcelona. Me and my wife love Dan Brown and these two cities appear in his new book Origin. I've been to Barcelona but it's never enough. Gorgeous city.

12. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Music: Haha, stuff like Pet Shop Boys and East 17... so much fun to see these old song videos now!
I was also a big fan Red Hot Chilli Peppers and U2. I also liked techno at that time, now I'm more into trance.
Movie: Taxi 1-2-3, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and all the Jim Carrey movies! Hobby: sport 24/7.

13. Apart of temptation what can't you resist? 
Dark chocolate.

14.Red wine or white?
I rarely drink alcohol recently. I'd go for Irish Whisky.
15.Book or movie?

It depends. I don't watch a lot of movies nowadays. I go for quality in both: movies and books that make me think or have a unique actor performance. I love Dan Brown, I've just finished Origin, and it was amazing!

16.Morning person or night person?
I tend to be a night owl now. I sometimes wake up early morning and have creative ideas - but then I get tired early during the day.

17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Children's Education. Same as the 40-hour workweek, the current educational system (all around the world) is based on outdated rules that are scientifically proven to be inefficient and even harmful. Youngsters coming out of school never want to see a book again.
My mission is to bring back the Love of Learning to adults and keep it up for little children. Babies naturally love exploring and learning, so all we have to do is to embrace and empower their creativity and curiosity. They'll do the rest by themselves!
I've become a big fan of Montessori education. Its guidelines are so natural, focusing on the individual child. This method keeps me amazed over and over!

18. Buda or Pest side?
Buda for living, Pest for going out. I go out less and less now, so I vote for Buda.

19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?
My educational card game series: INSPIRE that helps you get to know your habits and achieve your goals. It took me 3 years, 10 iterations and hundreds of play tests to make it available. It has a very deep but still clear system around it. It's easy to start and hard to master. I read the book the Art of Game Design. That book introduces 100 aspects to analyze your game. My goal was to create a game that passes as much aspects as possible. And, based on the feedback I regularly receive, it does. Funny thing, I wanted to create a game that's so simple so that you don't need a trainer or a coach to play - and trainers and coaches are more and more interested in it as they can see the depth and opportunities in it.

20.What would you say is your personal motto? 
I have a lot. The all time favourite is "Live Your Dream."
Other quotes I love:
"Don't live default. Live by design."
"What can you do today that will make tomorrow better?"
"Some great's gonna happen."

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