We receive playing cards at the outset of the gamification session at IMEX - America’s Smart Monday, which seems all too appropriate for a conference in the Gambling Capital of the World. (PLUG: The day’s education is powered by MPI, thank you very much!) I have the ace of diamonds and the queen of clubs (blackjack!); Shalynn Robinson (our director of partnerships) has the ace and two of hearts.
Gamification is the process of applying gaming concepts in business situations. In the U.S. alone, there are 183 million active gamers who play an average of 13 hours a week, so the market is already there. But what does any of this have to do with meetings and events?
The Green Meetings Industry Council first used the concept to engage attendees in 2011. Game ON! randomly assigned onsite and online attendees to teams. Team leads received iPads to track progress. These consoles included instructions, social media and a leader board—all of which were available via app as well. The strategy: Immerse attendees in a sustainable event universe. Teams earned points by attending sessions and completing tasks. Feedback was instantaneous. The organization built on the game at its 2012 conference, adding badges and updating the app.
San Francisco Travel engaged MPI WEC attendees with its Geoteaming Goose Chase—a smartphone photo scavenger hunt. An app provided participants with photo missions based around sessions, events and sponsors (YES! sponsors). Photos were submitted online. A feed let participants follow other people’s posts. A real-time high score list allowed delegates to change strategies. It created buzz, branding for San Francisco Travel, social media engagement and generated more than 400 F2F meetings for the sponsor.
Gaming tips for the meeting industry:
- Create great epic stories
- Provide means for feedback
- Offer ranks and levels (earned badges)
- Create teams
- Use timed challenges to increase excitement
We get to keep our playing cards, and give them to people that provide us with inspiration during the rest of the conference. I can't wait to give mine away.