In a humble space that has housed numerous sample sales and the New York City Chocolate Show, Badgeville held an exclusive invite-only event for thought leaders interested in gamification. Located on the second floor of the Metropolitan Pavilion, Badgeville’s Engage 2012 event greeted each attendee with a laissez-faire coat check, a fancy neodymium-magnet ID badge, and an open bar with a clever menu. Canapés were served to the hungry and the delicious food was never in short supply. My vote for best dish by far was the grilled cheese. I also must say the complimentary Moleskine-esque Badgeville notebooks were a nice touch too.
As you made your way into the main space, you had to make an interesting decision on whether you wanted to be apart of the speaker runway, white club-sofas, or wall-lurkers. To elaborate, Badgeville to divided the space into one part runway for the speakers and one part lounge complete with large sofas and LCD screens for the distant spectators. Most people opted for the runway experience as Jeanne Meister, founding partner and author of Future Workplace and Forbes, kicked off the night with welcoming remarks and charming energy to introduce Kris Duggan, CEO of Badgeville. Kris spoke about his current perception of the gamification market and had a humorous moment when asked if he thought gamification was an additive process (he wished it was).
Most of the sessions of the night were comprised of company employees explaining how they’ve successfully incorporated gamification into their organization. From William Hussey’s experience with gamifying Degrassi with a second screen at Bell Media, to Matt Moeller’s Samsung Nation rewarding their most valuable advocates, and even Matthew Brender’s work to reward EMC event attendees with online rewards on their gamified platform — all the companies that spoke made a compelling case for gamification across a variety of business functions. Despite all this great evidence of gamification’s penetration into each market, the most compelling session really belonged to Mark Goldstein and his Top 10 Trends in Loyalty.
As the Founder and Chairman of Tibco Loyalty Lab, Mark outlined his top 10 trends in loyalty as the only person to walk up and down the runway while giving his presentation. Mark’s 10 trends were delivered well, considering he had to avoid one attendee’s dog and it may come as no surprise that gamification was on that list, as #5 of his top 10. Mark commented on the necessity to give users what they want and the experiences they’re accustomed to. Some used to say social is the next big thing but by now social is integral to every loyalty program. At this point, “social is flour and if you don’t have social in your product you’re pretty much gluten-free”. I could not agree more (sorry Celiac-sufferers). If you’re not putting gamification into your loyalty program then your program won’t be going anywhere.
As the night wound down, Alan Lepofsky, VP and Principal Analyst of Constellation Research, gave the final session and explained the importance of reputation. He broke down reputation as 4 R’s: rank, recognition, reputation, and role. Alan even rewarded some lucky attendees with free consulting if they could remember his 4 R’s. I wanted to participate in Alan’s game but the aforementioned wall-lurkers were making quite a bit of commotion despite some of the staff’s best efforts to hold “Quiet Please” signs. My condolences go to those who had to do that.
Alan’s talk wrapped up and the night ended with more alcohol, ice cream sandwiches, and a great time networking. I spoke to many interesting individuals that night and learned something critical about why these events are excellent. One discussion I had with Zachary Bodnar, one of Badgeville’s NY producers, really drove the point home for me. There are many events that feature gamification now but they come with neophytes who still just want to add a leaderboard to their new mobile application. At gamification events held by industry leaders, you’re going to find those who are most interested in gamification and can talk about things like psychological profiles and motivation as it relates to behavioral change. The sessions at Engage were great and all but I realized I’m really at events like these for the people who come. Bright minds, exciting projects, and a keen understanding of the subject matter at hand make for rich connections that are unmatched by offshoot gamification sessions that take place at events with a far greater scope. I felt a true sense of community brought together by gamification and hope for more community-driven events in the future.