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Gamification Framework for Meetings

January 23, 2013

Last month, I had the great honour of speaking at the Next Generation Meetings Conference in Stockholm about gamification in meetings and events. As part of the presentation, I developed a list of 5 key considerations when looking to enhance your meetings through the use of gamification.

To get us started, let’s start by defining gamification. In a nutshell, it is the application of game mechanics to non-game situations.

From an event perspective, examples can be high-tech, such as the development of mobile apps that encourage specific behaviours, rewarding participants with points for completing specific tasks (or quests). While the development of game apps for events is a growing trend, gamification should not be viewed only as this. Gamification can also be low-tech through the use of interactive activities that have game-like aspects. Regardless of the form that gamification takes for your event, there are a few key elements that should be considered: goals, audience, mechanics, execution and social.

Games

  • Goals: The first (and arguably the most critical) step is to determine your meeting or event goals. Whether your goals be education, networking, innovation, awareness or something completely different, understanding your goals is fundamental as this will provide the context for your design decisions. You’ll want to have a clear understanding of your goals for your organization, your event, your community and potentially your industry.
  • Audience: Knowing your audience is also of great relevance to gamification. Going beyond the traditional understanding of demographics, you’ll also want to know about what motivates your audience, what is the organizational culture, and what are the attitudes and aptitudes for different manifestations of gamification – including technology and social media.
  • Mechanics: With your knowledge of your goals and audience, you’re now able to move into the mechanics stage. Develop aspects of your game in such a way that they reward your participants for the types of behaviours that will help you to achieve your goals. As an example, if you’re hoping to encourage your participants to visit your sponsors’ websites, you might want to develop a mobile app that gives points to your participants for doing this.
  • Execution: As great as your game may be, it also requires great execution skills in order to be successful. Effective games require onsite support, proper infrastructure, feedback mechanisms and champions. If you’re offering an app, consider offering an orientation or training as part of your opening session. Also, make sure that your venue offers the needed infrastructure, including appropriate bandwidth levels. FYI – there is a great bandwidth estimator available for free from the Convention Industry Council.
  • Social: Finally, your game needs to consider the types of social interactions that you would like to encourage. For example, is connecting your live and virtual audiences a priority? Are you hoping to facilitate teambuilding or networking? With this in mind, develop aspects of your game to encourage this type of interaction. A very cool tool for encouraging social media use at an event is the Kred Leaderboard. I saw it in action at Next Generation Meetings and I really liked that it measures both influence and outreach. To learn more about and influence as a game, check out Kred CEO Andrew Grill’s presentation at the Next Generation Meetings conference.
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