Designer Kurt Nelson Discusses Event Camp Twin Cities’ Gaming Element

The following is a guest blog article by Jenise Fryatt.

Event Camp Twin Cities attendees both on-site and remote will have a chance to experience one of the hottest trends in event participation techniques this year: event gamification.  Organizers Sam Smith and Ray Hansen have been collaborating with human motivation expert Kurt Nelson in adding a gaming element to the conference, now in it’s second year and already known for it’s focus on event innovation.

Kurt’s work through his company The Lantern Group, has included developing & delivering motivational programs, culture change programs incentive programs, strategy initiatives and much more. I recently asked Kurt to answer a few questions about the ECTC game.

JENISE: Please share a little about how you came to be involved with ECTC and particularly in the design of the gaming element.

KURT: I became involved with ECTC when Ray Hansen called me up and asked me if I would be interested in helping out with this “innovative event” that he was working on.  Ray and I had worked together years ago on a few events where I had developed some team building sessions that he thought were innovative and he wanted to team up and experiment with some innovative team games for ECTC11.

JENISE: What is the game that attendees at ECTC will be playing?

KURT: It is not so much a game that attendees will be playing but instead a series of different challenges where teams rack up points, earn badges and compete throughout the two days.  The challenges are designed to allow the attendees get to know other attendees better, reinforce the content of the conference, and allow real-time application of information.

JENISE: As a designer, what do you hope the game will accomplish for ECTC? 

KURT: The idea behind the Event Camp Challenge really is about getting people involved – whether you are live in Minneapolis, in a POD in Europe, or attending virtually online.  The way that we get and consume information is changing and this is an experiment to apply some of those insights to meetings.  We hope to get people more connected and more engaged in the meeting by actively challenging teams in a fun competitive manner.

JENISE: Will there be opportunity for the pods and the online audiences to participate? 

KURT: Yes – both the pods and the online audience will be able to participate.  It has been one of the main goals and biggest challenges of developing these challenges.

JENISE: Do you think the addition of gaming elements in conference design has the potential to become pervasive at events? Or are possibilities for its application more limited? 

KURT: I think that the way we interact and engage in meeting content is shifting.  Content isn’t just coming from experts anymore – but from the attendees themselves.  Today, more than ever, we get information real time and in bite size chunks through new venues such as social media, blogs, YouTube videos and Google.  I think gaming elements can help events tap into this change and keep people engaged, involved and having fun – real time and in bite size chunks.

Jenise Fryatt’s blog Sound n’ Sight covers events industry thoughts and features with an audio visual and social media bent. Jenise is also co-owner/marketing director of Icon Presentations Audio Visual for Events located in Southern California. She describes herself as an “events industry cheerleader” who is also a yoga and improv devotee trying to stay in the present.

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