Posts from 2017

They Gamified My Cereal! 


We have been preparing a presentation for our webinar on gamification next month, so the topic was on my mind.  This morning I was surprised to see a game on the back of my Honeycomb cereal (yes I'm still eating kids cereal once in a while). Actually I was not too surprised to see a game. In the past they've had activities like a maze or Where's Waldo game. But now they have jumped on board the Social Meda and engagement train. "Its not about what you do, it's how you make it yours", is the heading on the back of the box.  "RU Honeycomb 2 UR Core?", they ask. They specifically call out to skateboarders, music lovers and gaming. They give examples of the kinds of posts you could make.  Highest number of cereal pieces stacked, unusual foods to eat the cereal with.  They suggest posting a video to show "what makes you an original, like Honeycomb."  Brilliant! 

This is a good example and reminder that almost anything can be gamified with a little creativity.  Brands are not just selling, they are engaging and including.  Gathering info from the community about their product.  If they are listening to the responses, they are likely to learn a lot about the community.  Non Profits could use this same strategy to engage and learn from members.  You may want to skip the videos on cereal stacking :-)

What is the most unusual thing you have seen gamified?

Check out our webinar on Gamification.

Iteration: One Key Element of Design Thinking

Recently I was doing some research on a new technology and I was reminded of the value of iteration. During the research I noticed a very large number of failed attempts of getting the new technology to work. This reminded me of similar past experiences where trying something new often caused many, many failed attempts before something of value or usefulness was produced. It was a good reminder for me that many attempts actually produce very valuable insights. Each failed attempt is a painful experience, an emotional experience. That emotional experience forces a memory of what does not work. This emotional connection allows us to move forward in a new direction away from the failed attempt. The cycle of build, test, fail, feedback, learn and iterate, is invaluable to the development process that can be accomplished in no other way.

It is this process that design thinking emphasizes. Design Thinking is an approach whereby this process is accelerated allowing multiple iterations and in much shorter timeframe. The end result is a shorter time to a useful product or solution.

What problem would you apply Design Thinking to in your organization?  Comments welcome.

Crowdsourcing - What is it good for?

Crowdsourcing allows business to take innovation and creativity to a new level by collecting information from hundreds of minds and varied experiences. It allows anyone to contribute their ideas leaving race, gender, social standing, out.. There are a plethora of ways to utilize crowdsourcing for your next association conference that will engage your crowd and keep them talking after it ends.

One form of Crowdsourcing is Gamification. With gamification, you can motivate attendees to contribute valuable ideas with a friendly competition through leaderboards and rankings. Or for those less competitive, send them on a scavenger hunt, enabling vendors to reach out people who might not have otherwise visited their exhibit.

Crowdsourcing can be brought into individual sessions as well. Interacting with your crowd is now a lot more effective with interactive games and scores appearing on the big screen in real time.  Ask them questions and have them report back via phone app.  And traveling the room with a mic is a thing of the past. Have them submit their questions using their phone, allowing the speaker to choose what they would like to answer.

After the conference, save valuable conference information in the conference app to be referenced year around.  Questions that weren’t able to be answered during sessions can be placed on the app as well as any other additional information vital to the conference.

Bringing your conference into the 21st century through technology and crowdsourcing is a great way to boost interest in annual events.   “Crowdsourcing provides a platform where age, gender, race and education no longer matter. Only the quality of work matters.” (Jeff Howe “Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business”)   .  Allowing diversity through worldwide problem solving encourages creativity, innovation, and working together.  

If you are interested in learning more, check out our live webinar on Crowdsourcing and experience it first hand during the webinar.

App Engagement Validation from Analytics and Metrics

Creating a solid app with a team of people is just the beginning.  Measuring and analyzing the use of your app is key to app success.  Carefully tracking progress not only aids in understanding how your app is being utilized, but it enables you to focus on whether to adjust features, or devote more energy toward promotion of the app.   By measuring information like shares, comments, likes, and bookmarks you can get a good feel for what your members want more of and content that you should reconsider.

Through measuring results of their app, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association discovered a 300 percent user gain in year over year growth and a 200 percent increase in screen views.    Likewise, keeping attuned to app activity, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) found that from 2015 to 2016 there was a 14 percent increase in engagement.   IFT reached nearly 10,000 likes and 54,000 bookmarks from 9,400 members.  Without analytics and measurement they wouldn’t know how they were doing and whether the content in their app was working.  the Professional Convention Managers Association (PCMA) Vice President of Business Innovation Jason Paganessi states, “Looking at analytics is critical.” This enabled his business to concentrate their energy and resources  where necessary, saving them excessive amounts of time.

Measuring and analyzing app results does not have to be complex. “Keep it simple,” Paganessi advises. Changes should be done one step at a time.  


For more information with regard to analytics and metrics please see the full article published in Association Forum of Chicagoland’s Forum Magazine.

Gratitude is Stronger than Caffeine

Attitude is everything!  That has been my experience.  Recently I was working the mobile app support booth at an event we serve.  It was a large event. The users had lots of questions, mostly about Wifi, not the mobile app.  I helped hundreds of people over the course of a few days and it occurred to me that attitude is so important, both my own and that of the customer.

For example, in the morning when I was fresh and perky (I am a morning person), I felt really friendly and had extra patience.  I was able and happy to greet the customer with a friendly “hi” and perhaps even make a funny remark about the mobile app or how I would help them.  However, after a few hours of answering the same question and the wear of the day, I noticed my attitude was drifting.  My greetings were not as upbeat, and the funny comments were gone.

Likewise, I noticed that some customers were really appreciative of the help I offered and left with a very genuine smile and gracious “thank you”.    While others, well, let’s just say they did not show appreciation and perhaps left some negativity in the air.

I left that event pondering these things as I wrote my trip report.  Then this morning as I arrived early for a networking event downtown, I stopped at a new place for coffee.  I had no expectation since I had not been there before.  I had a question about their drink options and the staff person’s response was a welcome surprise.  She slowed down from her normal pace, leaned forward towards me and made direct eye contact.  She answered my question clearly and took my order.  In the process of our 30 second conversation, I had mentioned that I like my drink “sugary”.  She remembered this when delivering my drink to me and asked me to try it to see if it was sweet enough. She said she would be happy to add more flavor if I did not like it.  WOW!  This was a refreshing attitude.  It’s not that my regular coffee chain gives me a bad attitude or even bad service, but it was the way this person connected and made me feel that I will remember.  Now I will be looking for this coffee chain in the future.


I did make a point to go back and genuinely thank her for her service and told her it made a difference to me with a large smile.  Perhaps I may not have done this had I not just had my own customer support experience.

Carl W. Buehner once said, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”


How do you respond to those who help you?  Do you expect great service, or appreciate it?

When you are serving others, in any capacity, what is your attitude?


I felt more energized by the great attitude of my server than by the caffeine in my coffee.


Gratitude is stronger than caffeine!

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