Green Hat Games is a corporate teambuilding and event planning company based in New York and Stockholm that specializes in gamification. The central philosophy of the company revolves around the idea that any clearly defined business goal can be “gamified.” The process can take place anywhere, and it can be created for a wide range of budgets for groups ranging from 20 to 2,000.
For those of you new to gamificaton, the premise is fairly straight forward. Teams are given a challenge that requires them to work together, typically within a certain timeframe, in a fun and educational way that ties to a business objective. Some type of smart phone or tablet is generally used to facilitate the game.
The “fun” part is important butit’s not designed solely to build engagement. It’s also a powerful way to get people to use a different part of their brain to uncover new solutions to traditional challenges.
“The motivation behind the creation of Green Hat Games was initially to make our own lives more unpredicatable and hence more stimulating,” says Niklas Tyllström, sales director. “We realized that, like many people, we’re not looking around our environment that much. We’re just sort of cruising through sometimes, caught up in our work responsibilities…. So we wanted to try and see the world around us a bit more, and work with other people to do the same thing, using technology in a cost efficient manner.”
Green Hat Games was founded in Stockholm in 2006. The New York operation opened in February 2011.
Of course, creating a competitive game during a meeting is nothing new. But within the last few years, changes in both technology and the business landscape have spurred a new level of sophistication. Tyllström says gamification “has absolutely exploded” because of two converging trends.
“The first one is the way of doing business today,” he says. “There’s more of a recognition now that the people in a company are vitally important, and when they’re properly engaged, they’re more motivated to execute what needs to be done.”
This is where gamification thrives when it’s organized intelligently, because people are more likely to take risks because of the spirit and immediacy of the event.
“Second, technology is widely available,” adds Tyllström. “Everyone has a smart phone so it’s much easier to stage these things than it was just a few years ago.”
NEW YORK CITY
In New York, Tyllström says the city provides an unlimited variety of games for any type of group and business objective. For one recent group, the business goal was finding a way to increase client retention. Groups were asked to roam around a certain area of the city and take photographs of brands that they felt provided excellent customer service.
Teams were then required to type a message into the tablet about why they admired these certain brands.
Then, the participants had to take pictures of brands they thought did a poor job of maintaining good customer relations, and again, they typed in why. All of this was required within a specific timeframe.
“We start with an business objective and build an engaing format where the attendee themselves provide the experience,” says Tyllström.
Once all of the groups return to the headquarter venue, everyone can then analyse their answers, as well as the other team’s answers.
“Attendees know the theme before they start, and everyone has to think constantly on their feet,” says Tyllström. “For the followup questions–why do you think these particular brands are lacking customer service–the people have to type into the machine so they tend to be quite concise and focused, especially if there’s a timer.
In the end, the ROI of the event is clear.
“It feels like a live thing so you need to perform on the go,” explans Tyllström. “And if you can’t do it, your company is going to lose out big time.”
The French liquor brand Pernod, owners of ABSOLUT and Smirnoff, hired Green Hat Games to create a gamified event in Stockholm for 300 attendees. The business goal was brainstorming both the upcoming year’s marketing campaigns and new business opportunities.
Green Hat Games brought everyone to the Museum of Modern Art, located on an island in the center of the city. The teams spread out with their tablets throughout the venue to a series of prescribed works of art.
For three minutes, the attendees were told to talk about each piece of art. Then they were asked how they might create branding campaigns using what they had just discussed.
And like before, everyone was asked to write down their top 10 creative ideas. The tablets then deleted the first eight suggestions without the group knowing. Tyllström says the first eight answers are usually the most obvious. The client wanted the really outside-the-box answers at the end.”
Was it successful?
“Very much so,” says Tyllström. “Because they’re doing their job but they’re doing it from a much different perspective where everyone has to give clear answers without hesitating. Then, because the data is compiled instantly by the device, it’s easy to create a followup workshop to discuss the all of the teams’ feedback.”
This can be customized for any city for any business objective: teambuilding, stress management, networking, etc.
“Someone is designated as the moderator during the follow up sessions,” says Tyllström. “Then everyone discusses the findings and decides the company’s path forward into the future.”