Monday, June 9, 2014

Experiential conference on the wings of gamification

The idea for an experiential conference is the result of frustration and boredom. Attending conferences has become a tedious task for me, both as a participant and as a lecturer. As a participant I am sometimes excited by certain lecturers with interesting stories and experience.
CHALLENGE: tediousness; the passive role of the listener or lecturer at meetings/trainings.
However, I am discouraged by the essential structure of such events as they do not enable participation, exchange of opinions and first-hand experiences. I find that I'm learning most effectively from my own experience with a particular subject, but only if it makes me feel excitement for something new and if it challenges my comfort zone. It is also nourishing to push the limits of my knowledge in an actual way, i.e. by comparisons with my personal experiences. Lecturing at conferences made me feel the same way. Apart from networking I usually have no opportunity to interact with the attendees and learn their views on my presented topics and their significance for them and their own environments.
IDENTIFIED NEED: a new type of professional meetings/conferences/trainings with experiential learning and exchange of experiences.
I soon realised this frustration was shared by others, too. Many of my colleagues experienced conferences, professional discussions, and trainings in a similar way. 

And so the idea for a new type of conference was born. A discussion led to a joint effort resulting in an experiential conference addressing the lack of awareness regarding the methods used for the dynamic development of the innovation process (link for I2 - post in Violeta's Blog) and the concept of gamification (link for gamification - post in Violeta's Blog), which already spurred significant interest when we first discussed it in January 2014.
Conference organisers: InCo Movement, Manager's Association of Slovenia, Slovenian Association of Facilitators, Architecture Centre, expert groups and individual experts (36 people directly involved in the realisation of the Conference).
This article describes the content of  our business innovation - the "Experiential Conference: From Inspiration To Innovation Through Gamification". This is a story that will be fully manifested on 12 th of June 2014. You are invited  to share its energy.

Photo 1: Model of experiential Conference "From inspiration to innovation", Ljubljana 2014

WHY? (What drove us in designing an experiential conference based on gamification?)

We wanted to:
• develop a non-technological innovation for application in conference activities; make the conference playful, experiential; involve all participants in the conference activities;
• provide the participants with a unique experience of a systemic (comprehensive) approach to the innovation process through 12 diverse methods;
• introduce the Slovenian business community to expert professionals who can be employed by organisations, institutions and individuals to help with the development of the innovation process;
• develop a commercial product for a new type of conference/workshop in accordance with  innovation and gamification principles.

Photo: Testing of the Conference's concept (part of the team),
Ljubljana, May 2014
Source: Vibacom
The idea of an experiential conference gathered together representatives from all key aspects of successful innovation  process: content (game) developers, method presenters, moderators, designers of the physical and energy space, authors of video and photography materials and volunteers who recognised the exciting nature of the idea. We share curiosity, the desire to discover something and contribute something to development and creative teamwork.

HOW? (The key basic elements for implementing an experiential conference):
The methods: The conference will present 12 different methods for the 4 key phases of the innovation process.
The roles: The organisers will assume 14 different roles for the Conference's successful execution.

Photo 2: Model of experiential Conference "From inspiration to innovation", Ljubljana 2014
The model: To ensure an active role of the participants at the conference we have developed a special "canvas" (a template of the business model of a strategic plan), which will be amended by the participants throughout the event/game.
The game: The background of the entire conference is a business game based on the story of Robin Hood that was adapted to the jargon and challenges of the business world. The activities as a whole will simultaneously serve as a demonstration of the gamification/playification method with several twists in the plot, carefully selected additional information, misleading information, etc., all of which will be used to simulate the everyday market conditions in which innovations must be developed.
The Teams: 9 teams of participants (strategists solving the Robin Hood challenge) will be simultaneously active at the conference; each team will act as a group of advisors who will, based on news from Sherwood, form a strategic plan for Robin to help him achieve his vision, throughout the conference.
The process: The innovation process is one of key elements of the innovation structure (I2 polinkaj na stran o I2). It is not relative to industry or structure (there are no significant differences depending on where it is applied - industry, local community, small business, NGO, research institute, educational institution, etc.). It addresses and supports the development of contextual elements that help us recognise the need for innovation and helps develop inspiration from thought to product, service or solution that is attractive to the market. The process of the conference is divided into 4 key sections representing the four phases of the innovation process and events connecting these phases into a whole (the drafting of an idea, design of a prototype, market manifestation/identifying the needs and central activity in the market).
The environment: The organisation and the physical and energy tools of specific parts of the environment support the context and process of the event taking place in it.
Additional elements: The environment and activities will be supported with game elements that will help create an experiential atmosphere of the plot.
The rules: The rules of the event defining appropriate relationships between all participants.
Accompanying activities: In addition to the innovation process, the conference will offer several additional activities that will support the authenticity of the experience and help participants understand the challenges they will be faced with.
The schedule: The most classical aspect of the conference, which however also contains hidden dynamic elements and helps establish a connection between the conference experience and real life.

Photo 3: Model of gamification

The elements of the conference are based on the philosophy of participative leadership, cooperation, co-creation and active participation of all community members. It promotes the principles of inclusion, respect of diversity, equal representation of opinions, proposals and views of all community/team/game members.

1st experiential conference in Slovenia: From inspiration to innovation (Experiential conference through 12 techniques)
WHEN: 12th of June 2014 at 8 a.m.
WHERE: Ljubljana

WHAT (Which topics will the Conference address and what are its key outcomes?):

The contents produced by the project groups through gamification will serve as the basis for learning about different methods for successful implementation of an innovation process.

The content is divided into the following basic sections:
- gamification of the Robin Hood tale: the concept of the game and the philosophy of its application in the business environment with the aim of acquiring new competences through a simulation of a real-world environment; these competences are required in facing real-life challenges.
- the "canvas" model used by the team for preparing a final report (strategic plan): the canvas is used for the visualisation of the results and understanding of the key elements that need to be drawn from the story in the individual phases of the innovation process.
- the strategic plan: the final result of gamification presented to Robin Hood at the end of the Conference in the form of "recommendations from the Sherwood advisors"; based on these reports Robin will chose who will assist him in his decisions in the future.

Photo 4: Kanvas for gamification

I am certain that the event before us will be unique. Everything that will happen, is experienced and internalised, or will flourish, is a part of the story as a whole. And that's exactly how it should be. That's how our life is - unpredictable, exciting and open to new things. Join us and experience the process of innovation through innovation itself. Equip yourself with modern tools and confidently seek the opportunities this modern age offers us.

Take care, Violeta

P.S.: the Experiential Conference 2014 is the result of open innovation of a large circle of individuals who have felt the need for something new and responded to the best of their abilities. We are sharing everything we have created during the past nine months on an open source principle - we are openly sharing it with the
community (with you)  that has enabled us to create it in the first place. Thank you!

How can we cooperate
Where can we meet globally?
  • Next BIN dogodek: BIN@SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom, 3rd - 5th November 2014
Interesting links

1 comment:

Younik said...

Sounds brilliant and I’m sure it will gather amazing souls and ideas.
All the best to this initiative!

Marine L. Rot