Reflections on Gamification world congress 2015

Reflections on Gamification world congress 2015

Gamification world congress has to be one of the best organised events I attend, from the pre-conference communication to travel and accommodation arrangements and the event itself. The organising committee is mainly made up of volunteers, who run their own businesses and the event is better organised than some professional companies in the event management space can achieve. I think that’s the difference when people passionate about their industry get together and want to make the most out of something.

I already shared my thoughts on the workshop day in last Wednesday’s post, so it is the main conference days that will take my focus for this blog post. The one thing that still stands out as majorly lacking is the amount of gamification used by speakers to keep the audience engaged and that goes for both the community day and the actual conference day. In my view it isn’t really hard, from voting and in my case dancing to clapping, shouting and fun delivered from stage, there is a lot one can do to engage the audience. Sitting on your bum for close to 8 hours in a dark room will even get the best intended participant sleepy. So lights up a little more would already be better to start with, it also gives the speaker more vision of what is happening in the room. It is one of my pet peeves to have to sit through death by powerpoint style presentations, so as an industry it’s time to change that. Saying that it was already an improvement to last year, somewhat more interaction and lots more ladies on the stage as well.

The community day brought interesting perspectives from around Europe primarily. We started the day with best practices, octalysis and a panel discussion. I have to say what was becoming clear in my mind from listening is that more and more projects are actually happening, which is also what we experience in the company, and that the time for frameworks and theory is making room for sharing what we learn in and from practise. I think in Europe we are at a tipping point towards gamification being seriously considered by a lot of organisations for a variety of purposes. We saw examples in education, goal setting but also in changing behaviour with water usage, which was one of the best examples of the week for me. What was also interesting that people are daring to share what they learned from failures within a project.

I spoke on feminine gamification viewpoints, which triggered a lot of conversation and much to my own disappointment I didn’t get back into the room for the rest of the day, because of it. When I go to these events I am also there to learn from others, I love learning and absorbing other views to come out a better designer (my request for the future, be mindful of this when taking speakers away from the event). The questions I received where around them not fitting in either side of the gender equation for everything and I mustn’t have been clear enough that it is a spectrum rather than you are one or the other. In some situations you will behave in a feminine fashion in others more masculine and that is perfectly normal. My main advice is to tap into all the human resources spectrum when designing a corporate program and to be inclusive.

I heard great feedback on the virtual reality talk, gamification for dinosaurs, gamified CRM’s, which I will be looking up on slideshare and hopefully get a chance to catch up with at a later point. Bart Briers did a magnificent job keeping speakers on track, the wardrobe changes and wigs were the nice unexpected factor to keep looking out for. It is probably on the day one of the harder jobs, so hats of to my fellow Belgian. We might not be many in gamification, but we sure give it our best shot to make a difference :-).

The main conference day started with the amazing Gabe Zicherman, talking about the next wave of engagement and behavioural engineering. I trained with him and he has a great perspective on where the industry is headed, I do believe we need to tap into behavioural economics and blend big data analysis into our designs going forward, which I believe will make things more powerful. He was followed by a talk from Carlos Martin who made the connection between Internet of Things (IoT) and gamification as a way for the future. The more smart devices we all carry around and share our homes and cars with will tell that story. Way back in my initial degree, I wrote this evolution into my thesis and barely passed. So things are changing…

The project from Santander combines digital storytelling with viral (creepy) videos and gamification tools to help their people live the corporate values in their daily work. Fun to see and I will look forward to hearing the result story as well. Yu-kai Chou was introduced as the tornado of gamification thanks to his superheats rate of speech and he did in fact nearly burn out the translators, he spoke mighty fast. I do like his framework and it helps me with implementations, having done his training and seen his framework presented several times, it would be great to also hear the successful implementation he has done with it. He went on to win the gamification guru award for the third time running for which congratulations. We might have to introduce a relative leaderboard soon.

The loyalty presentation by eMee with Atul Gupta challenged the way we use loyalty cards and how to improve our relationship with brands. The best gamified presentation came from my friend Jaume Juan from Compettia, who basically quizzed us about their results with clients using their quiz application Retame. Brilliant yet simple and impressive and mighty engaging, also well done on the impressive client list. He was followed by scientific research carried out by Marigo Raftopoulos, where she shared her insights on how corporations implement and see gamification and what the main pitfalls were. I highly recommend you find her presentation.

The funniest presentation has to go to the people from Pernod Ricard, who brought along their Tamagotchi Ricardo in a phone. He was acting bored, interested and asked pertinent questions most employees and managers at some point would ask in their career. They shared how they are using this feature in learning aimed at their managers initially, which showed great uptake and results so far and further roll outs are planned. I have to say he had me chuckling away throughout the presentation.

Michael Wu impressed us with his ladder framework based on big data science and the length of engagement we would like to create. It was the first time I had the chance to listen to Michael and I have to say he has amazing insights, once again I recommend finding his slideshare for further learning and reading. His suggestions are very applicable straight away, so I will be testing them for real. (as a little aside he is a lovely dancer too 🙂

I skipped a few of the talks after that, because people needed my urgent input into a project, which meant I missed a ranting Roman Rackwitz or at least that’s what I heard after as well as adventures in learning.

Andrzej Marczewski’s talk about his Christmas turkey was great, in fact out of all of the talks he made me think the most about what makes us buy in certain places and not others, what makes us loyal. Great brainteaser. I think by that point my cup was full of great new information and the last few talks sort of came and went. I remember wondering through Alberto Tornero’s presentation whether he was trying to tell small companies not to engage with big companies, so the big companies could just play with each other. I am sure that wasn’t his intention and the advice was rather think before you jump in from both sides, but it wasn’t the right tone to finish a conference with. Maybe I ran out of steam or the program might have done a bit too.

The afterparty was as usual epic, having kept the dance floor occupied for most of the night I took the chance to sleep through the final day sessions on gEducation and gHealth but from what I am told they were brilliant. I have to say I am still processing a lot of good information and hope to implements some in my current projects. It was great to meet so many fabulous people passionate about making a difference with gamification as a key driver.

If you were there or just following online, what were your highlights?


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