Bad word – good idea. What in heavens name is Gamification? It’s another technological advance available to meeting and event planners that we should all take a look at.
Gamification is applying the science and psychology of gaming in a non-game context (meeting or event) to motivate and reward your attendees to perform certain desired behaviors. Event gamification utilizes a mobile game app to encourage attendees to ask questions, complete challenges, connect with colleagues, and visit with organizers and sponsors during a meeting or event.
The fundamental purpose of any meeting or event is to drive attendees to take action. Planners want attendees to interact with vendors, network with each other, share their experiences, and engage with presenters. Game mechanics, immediately available on attendees’ mobile devices, encourage participation in games, competitions, and goal-oriented activities that create psychological and physiological benefits such as motivation, self-efficacy, improved motor function, neural processing, and self-esteem.
Humans are naturally inclined to compete, improve themselves, interact with others and achieve goals. Digital gamification provides external and internal incentives that make participants want to take part in everything you have planned for them. Incorporating goal-oriented activities with your planning helps you encourage guests to stay engaged, interact with vendors, promote your event, and create valuable connections. As a bonus, when you provide your guests with games and activities, it helps them focus, process information, and feel good about themselves.
Often, our responsibilities as event planners involve facilitating team-building exercises and helping attendees connect with one another. Conference gamification apps and activities are a great way to combine participants into unique groups to promote communication and collaboration. Organizers can create groups based on:
- Geographic location
- Work responsibility
- Personal interests
- Strategic teams
- Custom criteria
Meeting Play, an event planning app developer and a pioneer in gamification development, recounted the following case study on the use of gamification in team building.
“Our client was organizing an event to bring together global divisions with the goal of sharing best practices. They needed to match people in one division with their counterparts in the same division from another country. Once again, the gamification feature of our event app served as the perfect solution.
“Using the information provided by the event organizer, as well as our match-making algorithm, we were able to define 16 recommended connections for each attendee. We populated the participants’ digital bingo cards with their top connections. Attendees also wore iBeacon lanyards to alert them when they were near another attendee on their networking list. Participants were able to scan the codes on their connections’ lanyards to populate their bingo squares in the app. The entire process was fully automated.
“The results were astounding. Our client was able to organize meaningful conversations within strategic teams to help them move their business forward. At the same time, attendees made valuable connections to help them enhance their careers.”
One can readily see the utility of gamification in information gathering, networking, team building, vendor visitation, and product awareness. Companies like Meeting Play design and implement digital “games” for a wide variety of applications and customize games to suit individual planner’s goals. It’s time for us all to take a closer look at this new technological application.