EnGaging: the journey of a pan-European project

In October two years ago, 8 partners a combination of government based bodies and private companies came together for the first time in Milan. For me this was a first experience in a European Erasmus Plus funded project. Up until then I had communicated with a project planner, who wrote the proposal and had managed to get it accepted through the magical systems in the European administration in either Brussels or Strassbourg. Today marks the final official meeting of the project and the sprint to complete all the final deliverables, hence it feels right to give a flavour of the experience.

The objective of EnGaging was to come up with a view of how the European incubator market is handling topics such as growth hacking and gamification, deliver training in an Academy and come up with a set of online training tools for startups but also startup support services to assist their audiences in gamification and growhthacking. We will also have recommendations for authorities looking to support such initiatives.

I have to say, I felt a little bit apprehensive when one of the project leaders in Milan was beyond herself with happiness to see me arrive. Little did I understand then how much the project would rely on my input and understanding of gamification and my company practices in the space of applied growth hacking. As the project journey evolved, it often felt as if someone wanted to just drain my knowledge, capture it and put it out in either a classroom or online course. I personally struggled with that concept, because it is also what makes me a living and I have to say, there was not always consideration for this. When a course has to be created and then be made available for free for all eternity and for all to access, the project fees were nowhere close to covering the amount of knowledge to be shared. One could argue you make it available and gain reputation, but for me then this needs to be quantifiable. Currently I still don’t see how it does for us.

In any project collaboration and project communication goes through various levels of forming, storming and performing as most people with a leadership education may have come across. This project was no different. It was great to see at the project meeting that despite some key people changes and the occasional chinese whispers where what was said and understood to be miles apart, we did still generate most of the deliverables by now as we head into the final conference.

The live training Academy in Ancona this time last year, definitely built some international friendships and potential collaborations for all involved. As one of the main trainers, it was a tough lead up with shifting demands. Thankfully it all worked out on the day. The fact that my experience both as a trainer and practitioner in both gamification and growhthacking was a hit, I was relieved by. I personally dislike textbook trainers, so a person who can tell me live what they learned from good and bad implementations and personal experience is much more powerful in my book.

From a technical perspective for the online course deliverable, we went with the Bluerabbit.io platform, which allowed us to have a gamified online learning trajectory and we put the content into a conversational quest format. I think it works, quite nicely, but if you want to try it out for yourself, here is the link to enroll for level 1. I am quite proud we reached this stage and it did end up fully gamified, with a lot of help from my friend Bernardo at Bluerabbit.

From a small business perspective it is probably my first and last endeavour into this kind of project.  On the plus, the connections I made were great, the cities I visited were beautiful and meeting a diverse group of people was enriching on so many levels. Check out more about the project and access any of the tools on the project website: Engaging Project. (https://www.engaging-project.eu)

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