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At Technoport events we pledge to not only talk about innovation, but also innovate ourselves.
To do this it was decided that Technoport should conduct an experiment each year. Last year the Live Crowdfunding Experiment resulted in NOK 700,000 pledged to four fledgling startups.
This year Technoport aspires to innovate the conference experience through gamification. I sat down with Hermann Ørn Vidarsson, Technoport's Head of Events, to find out what's in store for conference attendees.
Well part of the challenge ”Have an Experiment each year” really opens your eyes to possibilities and possibilities become fun. We had s**t-loads of ideas. Some good, some too demanding, quite a few of them crap. This particular idea came up when two issues met:
a) We were looking for a conference app that would encourage strangers to talk. All the apps we found were practical, but boring.
b) In a completely different setting a friend at Kantega told us about iBeacon technology.
So a few cups of coffee became a few pints of ale and lo and behold we had our idea.
Well you start by downloading the app, creating a login, and you are rolling.
The app uses your bluetooth to detect where your are and when you are there. We utilize this dataset to grant you badges, such as ”Right on time”, because you were in the main auditorium when our first keynote started, orr ”Hero of the dance-floor” because you spent more than 30 minutes on the dance-floor at the crowdfunding party.
You can also start out on quests, like ”TechHead” where you gather multiple badges related to the quest. When you have received all 6 sub-badges you can claim the quest reward. The badges are all associated with a score, so for each quest you complete, your score increases. Thus we can announce a "Winner of the Conference" at the end of the event.
Well not really. Part of the concept is to explore if gamification is a strong enough incentive to change behaviour. Though we do believe that the winner will get both pride and glory!
Hahahaa yes, it most definitely is. Although I must point out that we only track participants around the event venues. What happens 10 metres away from Kunnskapssenteret and Studentersamfundet we have no way to detect.
This is an experiment, the dataset will be anonymised, and only used for research and development purposes. The results will be shared with all the participants. And of course, you don't have to take part if you don't want to - but where's the fun in that?!
No! We want to innovate.
But we truly think there is money to be made here. This could be added value to a conference registration and ticket solution. It could be made to cover multiple conferences giving a very attractive insight to the end users.
But it's more then just money here. We could also get some interesting insights into how gamification works.
The channels are not set yet but we plan to release the code as open source and the dataset to researchers in the field of serious gaming.
Firstly, I would recommend everyone to allow their organisations to do an experiment now and then. We talk a lot about taking risk and accepting failure. Well that becomes much easier when you call the project an experiement. It also has the added benefit that your organisation will look around for opportunities, allowing them to explore ideas that might look risky at first glance. Even though you see a huge obstacle to the idea, it might be that a colleague of yours sees an easy solution to it.
We do have plans for next year's experiment, but we are not ready to reveal what it is just yet.
Thanks Hermann! More details including how to download the app will be sent to conference participants shortly.