6 months ago InCo movement and The Manager's Association of Slovenia decided to organize a business conference "From inspiration to innovation", dedicated to simulating an innovation process, according to InCo's dynamic model of innovation phases.
Soon after this initial idea, InCo members agreed to create a conference based on participant's involvement that would go beyond the simple 'listen- endlessly-maybe-raise-your-hand-and-ask-something-once-in-a-while and the occasional-mini-workshops' to lighten up the ex-catedra conference style that so many of us have been experiencing in the last decades...
Therefore a concept of experiential learning has been applied, transforming the conference into an experiential conference, based solely on participants undertaking tasks and striving to learn as they go.
The question soon arose: do we invite the participants to enter the process with their own individual cases (challenges) or do we simply give them a pre-made one, one for everybody?
We decided to go with a universal challenge for the practical reasons of running such an event.
Next question: do we take a business challenge from the environment or try to come up with one purely ficional?
With this question arising, everything was set to involve the concept of gamification.
Gamifying the conference
The conference itself is unique in its design. Participants form teams and each team travels through 3 different stages (the 3 phases of innovation) throughout the day, experiencing different techniques in each stage.
Violeta, InCo movement's leader, has described the conference in detail.
>> Read her blog post here (in Slovene) and here (in English).
I shall only zoom in the actual gamification aspect of our gamified conference, which turned out to be a huge success!
Robin's gamification elements
In the picture below you can see the gamification elements used in InCo's adaptation of the Robin Hood challenge:
** canvas can serve as an independent tool (the model of the conference can be easily adapted and used for playing in your company's environtment)
More gaming insights
You might be asking: "OK, a lot of stuff here, but what is the actual gamificaion about it?" A fair question, indeed.
The most basic gamification element is the narrative and game world, coupled with producing the end result on the participants' part.
"What effect does it have," you might ask next.
It gives purpose to teams to follow through intense 11-hour conference, to emerge fully in each skill (the 12 techniques), to design a solution using gamified canvas, to work within the team and with other teams (we've witnessed two teams sharing secret ally information!) and just basically transcend the limits of left-brain problem-solving to ascend to greater ideas that might lead to innovation.
Transferability - the conference as a product
InCo's Robin Hood gamified conference can be easily reproduced to fit your organization's requirements. It can be localized even up to a point of changing the narrative. Who is your local hero? What challenges does he/she face?
For more details on InCo's conference design, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for playing!
There were 76 participant, daring enough to take the challenge and help ship another invention (the conference itself) to the market. I thank each one for being there with us.
There were some 30 people running the conference: thinkers, witnesses, facilitators, trainers (the 12 techniques), architects, ambient designers,... thank you for believing in the idea and thank you for making the Robin Hood gamified conference possible!
To my knowledge, "From inspiration to innovation", taking place in Ljubljana, Slovenia on June 12th 2014, is the first gamified experiential business conference in the world. An innovation.
Our team is gaining experience fast. We invite you to the world of game-design, game-based learning and gamification. Let's talk! Or better yet, let's play ;)