Can gamification make participants addicted to your meeting?

I’m sure you’ll agree with me, if I claim that the highly motivated participants are crucial to create a succesful meeting.

So who can we turn to, if we want to learn more about how to motivate people to cooperate and work hard? I would definitely look at the computergame Industry.

More and more people leave reality and immigrate to game spaces. In the US alone more than 5 million people spend more than 45 hours a week on computergames.

The Game developer and researcher Jane Mcgonigal explains this mass exodus:

”The truth is this: in today’s society, computer and video gamse are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy. Games are providing rewards that reality is not. They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.”

The average age for videogame players is 35 years and 44% of them are women. A study showed that 61% of CEOs and CFOs take daily game breaks at work. Game dynamics are apperently appealing to all kinds of potential meeting participants and not only young men, as many would assume.

The best games are so intrinsic motivating that you never want to finish them. To play the game is a reward in itself and both quitting or winning the game are equally unsatisfying outcomes because you had to finish playing. If you have been caught up in Tetris or absorbed into Angry Birds you know what I mean.

What if we designed our meetings like games? If we made them so challenging and engaging that the participants wish they could stay longer?

To do that we have to think like game developers. We have to make attractive goals, challenging rules a and immediate feedback systems, so participants can see how they progress on the tasks they are working on. And finally we have to make it voluntary to participate in the game, if it is forced it is experienced as stressfull work instead of as fun and satisfying.

It’s not easy to gamify meetings successfully but it is possible.

Recently I’ve developed a meeting concept with Visit Denmark, called the Pitch Perfect Game. In a gamified way, the participants experience a very unusual site inspection, that ends with them pitching the strengths of the Venue to each other. The Pitch perfect game has been evaluated unusually high on both satisfaction and learning outcomes.

Another example is the Danish company Workz, that has been very succesful in developing and facilitation board games for big meetings.


Mcgonigal, Jane; Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How they Can Change the World.

This is how you increase innovation in group works

First thing most of us do, when we enter a conference room, is to look for people who are similar to ourselves or whom we already know. If you want innovation at your meeting, you should counteract this tendency by securing diversity when you seat and group people. But how do you do that most effectively?

A metastudy from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation showed that diversity was important to increase innovation in companies.

The study found that diversity on gender increases the chances of innovation with 110 %. Apparently some magic happens when men and women start talking. Don’t we all know that?

If you increase diversity on educational backgrounds innovation increases with 50%. Put an engineer together with a doctor and see what happens.

If you increase diversity on ethnicity the chances of innovation increase with 30%. Create a mental Silk Road by letting an Indian share thoughts with a German.

Consider diversity when you seat and group people. Make sure to mix gender, educational backgrounds and ethnicity. Create a safe and positive atmosphere, where the participants are motivated to move out of their comfort zone.

But diversity does not automatically lead to innovation. The study showed that the chances of innovation are decreasing if you group people across ages. So be careful with matching the professor with the freshman.

Of course innovation can happen across ages, but apparently we have to make a bigger effort to succeed. So when you face diversity difficulties like language problems, religious opposites and age gaps, make sure to design a well thought through facilitated process.

Increased diversity of Increases the chances of innovation with a factor of:
Gender 2,1
Education 1,5
Ethnicity 1,3
Age 0,3

Source: ”Innovation & Diversity”, Forsknings- og innovationsstyrelsen 2007