Simon Willison’s Weblog

What are good ideas and examples for event gamification?

My answer to What are good ideas and examples for event gamification? on Quora

Straight up points and badges style gamification seems a little contrived to me, but there’s definitely a lot to be said for activities that encourage delegates to meet new people.

Here are two of my favourites. The first is really simple, but effective. Have the event host or morning keynote speaker encourage everyone in the audience to introduce themselves to the person behind them (there’s a chance they already know the person next to them). Give them 30 or so seconds to talk, and you’ve set a great precedent for the rest of the event and created a bunch of new random connections in the room.

Brooklyn Beta 2012 had a brilliant variant on this. Firstly, they asked every attendee to put the event organisers in touch with a parent or close relative. The organisers then contacted all if those people and got then to answer done questions, which they used to construct a short attendee bio which was then printed on the conference badges.

These badges then became fantastic talking points and ice breakers... “What did your parents say about you?”

On top of that, they had another small but clever social hack: during sessions, attendees were encouraged to wear their badges hanging down on their back, so the person sat behind them could read their bio and maybe start a conversation in the next break.

One last example I heard about from the Picnic conference: lunch was served in picnic baskets for four, but you could only retrieve your basket if you found three strangers to share it with. Simple and clever.