Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gamification, Reveal and Millenials

I am always excited about how we can improve learning, engagement and ultimately build connections and relationships through the power of face to face meetings. One of the ways we have found effective is through the use of communities that are aligned at an event through a mobile app, with a gamification layer built in.  I had the opportunity to speak with a writer for Business in Vancouver's annual meeting places edition about this over the summer, and much to my surprise, this feature became the cover story released in November. 

The next week I was contacted by some very smart Millennials (thank you Felix) to see if I would consider being their guest at the upcoming Reveal Competition, a business case study competition taking place at UBC and using Siim Software's gamified environment as the platform.  Since I love seeing gamification in action, I of course said YES and I could not have been more impressed, on a number of levels.  Kevin and Khalil were excellent hosts for the day, as I tagged along as a guest judge, and learned a lot. While there will be more prolific and thoughtful people who could share their perspectives on this experience as they lived through it, there are a few of the key things I learned as an observer of this day below. 

Live from the Reveal Competition
Twitter Stream #Reveal2013

1. Millennials will rule the world. Between the leaders, organizers, judges and volunteers, I met a number of smart under 30s who are forward thinking, hard working business graduates whose understanding of finance, balance sheets, commerce, technology, enterprise solutions and organizational structures was impressive. Their ability to judge and accurately assess the acumen, decisions and thought processes of the teams they were judging, and ask thoughtful and probing questions that were still fair was fascinating to be part of.  

They aren't scared of change, they are anticipating change. Their perspective on how they will move through and around organizations and how their education, choices and lifelong learning will impact their opportunities is clear, and they are willing to do the work and they were willing to help others be successful by sharing knowledge.  

2. Gamification works. The platform Siim created was based on a matrix, so teams first chose their hotels (the business of choice for this year's competition) in a draft format, and then as they made decisions, their decisions impacted each other hotel in their neighbourhood and comp set so, as in real life, the decisions were not linear and did not have a linear or expected outcome.  This is where the learning came from, the opportunity to try things, to meet curveballs and to see where your choices led your team.

3. Presentation and decision making skills matter. Not only did the team members have to work through the simulation, they also had to present to the judges, in a variety of real-life formats - via computer, via speaker phone and face-to-face and answer to their decisions. Of course the beauty of this is, it's not real and you may be very successful in the simulation, or you may "fail" or not do as well as you would like - but you really cannot beat the practice that a gamified environment gives you. Safe and immensely effective in learning and honing business skills, and truly competing using your wits, knowledge and acumen, imagine the possibilities for an organization to have talented team members who are not scared to try making the tough decisions, but understand there are multiple potential (not textbook) impacts, and who are practiced at the tough conversations... 
The key takeaway as revealed on Twitter #reveal2013 "Always expect the unexpected."

4. Diversity and Inclusion is our real life. There were a number of teams from institutions of higher learning from across Canada. Every culture, gender and a wide range of ages were represented.  Anyone who expects to see co-workers that look just like us had better take another look around and recognize that talent comes in all kinds of packages, and embrace perspectives.

5. Cufflinks. This is the bonus tip. Yes, dress for the job you will have, those who were there both competing and judging certainly did.

Reveal Conference 2013 provided a unique environment for these learners, and taught them lessons it could otherwise take years to learn in the workforce, making each a more valuable asset for those hiring.  It takes a team to bring something like this alive, and kudos to the talented force that brought the Reveal Conference to fruition. I can't wait to see what they do next year! 

Additional Resource. If you are not familiar with how gamification can positively impact your organization, this link is to a webinar I had the privilege to do In October with Trevor Roald at QuickMobile -  "Gamification" . It takes about an hour but covers the who, how and why of making gamification work for you.  (they have a lot of other resources here too)

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