Turning team building into a plaything
Gerry Crowley is at the forefront of something called ‘digital gamification’, a way of applying games technology to team building and staff development. The phenomenon is being imported from the US and is gaining popularity as an alternative to the more physical exercises that have prevailed in recent years.
It puts brains ahead of brawn by challenging participants to complete tasks using a hand-held computer. Not only are companies using such methods in corporate away-days, they are being applied to brighten up otherwise routine meetings and conferences.
Gamification helps encourage and motivate people to increase productivity, teamwork and engagement. Since 2010, 350 companies have launched gamification projects and Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, predicted that 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies would introduce gamification to boost engagement, retention and revenues by the end of last year.
Delegates, who are normally expected to sit attentively while someone speaks at them or draws on a flipchart, are now juggling, singing and ultimately working together to complete fun challenges, encouraged and lead by gamification software.
Crowley’s Team Challenge Company has recently introduced the most advanced treasure hunt app, Go Team, to the Scottish market and it has proved a hit in the corporate market.
Team Challenge Company has the Scottish licence for Go Team which was awarded by Bluehat Group whose CEO Tim Shepley said: “Team Challenge Company are at the leading edge of corporate events in Scotland, so are well placed to make the best use of this innovative technology in their wide-spectrum of events.”
“Employers want something that will engage more of their people,” says Crowley, pointing out that traditional team building exercises, such as assault courses and paintball games, favour the fit and usually male members of staff.
“Using an app to follow a treasure hunt appeals to a cross-section, including older and disabled people, and companies like that.”
Clients include Barclays, GSK, KPMG and the TedX organisers. The oil sector has been particularly keen, and while there has been a downturn in demand it has not impact too much on Team Challenge’s figures.
Appropriately, at a time when the new James Bond movie is about to be released, he says the company is thinking of a developing a spy game. Whether or not MI6 will sign up is another matter.