What an awesome Gamification World Congress 2014

Gamification World Congress 2014 = AWESOME

You know you have had a great time, when coming home feels a bit empty and you miss the people, the conversations, the talks etc. Each of the 3 days had a different flavour with new information, exciting projects, crazy fun and much more. For me it was first of all an absolute honour to be part of this amazing event. The organisation was impeccable and made me definitely feel very welcome (where else do they have a little coeliac corner at breaks and lunches, super impressive!!! Muchos Gracias).

In so many ways it felt like being in your favourite movie and meeting all the main cast in person, which felt slightly surreal at times. Many of the guys I look up to based on their contributions to the industry such as Kevin Werbach, Mario Herger, Victor Manrique, Andrzej Marczewski, Isidro Rodrigo, Bart Briers, Brian burke…. to name just a few, I had conversations with and shared ideas with, laughed and joked with. I still feel like I have to pinch myself that this is real and not just a dream. And then to challenge my brain a little further and realise I am now part of this group also as the only female speaker on the main conference day.

An Coppens Speaking at Gamification World Congress 2014
Gamification World Congress 2014 – An Coppens of Gamification Nation

Here are some of my personal reflections and insights:

Firstly, the exciting part of this industry is that it unites people from a variety of skills backgrounds with a clear vision of making life, learning and business a better experience. Closely linked to this observation was a very personal lesson for me is that I do belong in the line up, which is a very feminine view I guess, I have a perspective to share which can enhance the experiences people build. Whilst I don’t consider myself an academic, I do have a practical contribution to make with the feminine perspective on things and my background in NLP and learning & development practise.

What I also realised is that I have lead a very gamified life and have always taken that approach, just never realised other people didn’t do this? I learned the capitals of Europe with grape rewards, I achieved big mile-stones such as marathons and degrees, because I made them a game with different levels. For marathons I carried a jelly baby pack and for each mile mark passed I lifted my arms in celebration and then took a jelly baby. Simple stuff really, but very real for me always. I enjoy it when I can inspire other to have a smile on their face too.

Some great tools were presented in the workshop days, which I will be investing in to use with clients such as the Gamification Model Canvas and the player user type card deck, although I would prefer them in colour. What comes out very strongly from the workshop day is that we all want the clients we work with to think their solutions through properly and not just throw a bunch of money at designing a gamified solution, which may not have a clear target audience, not know the target audiences preferred behaviours and not have a clear business objective.

Because I was the only lady speaker, I realised a lot of girls are looking for role models they can relate to, based on the amount of them that came up to me afterwards. Equally a lot of businesses are trying to reach female audiences and are not yet succeeding. I would be delighted to be the feminine voice on any project even it belongs to another company to do the rollout and core development. Us girls are competitive, but we express it in different ways to guys. We do like to game, but prefer anonymous or social over hyper competition any day. We are emotional beings and will be making an awful lot of buying decisions at home and in the work place, so engage us our way.

The key messages that resonated deeply with me

Kevin Werbach’s view that we need to save education. His 10 things that game designers know and educators should, will be going up as a reminder in my work area. I so concur, with 15 years in the people development sector, I can only echo his ideas and do my best to make learning a more engaging experience one course at a time.

Bart Briers picked my favourite cartoon Calimero to make the most striking point “Don’t be a Calimero, be an Angry Bird!”. Be proud of what you have achieved to date and when you fail, just think 1202 and try again, just like an angry bird would. Amen to that!

I had a great time and would like to thank everyone: organisers, fellow speakers and participants who made this an awesome experience! For now thank you and until we meet again! 🙂

Be happy!

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