In our previous blog we started a framework with regards to gamification, which you can view by clicking on the following link: Gamifying your community to better health.  We defined what gamification means and we provided some high-level examples on what one could do to engage their community.  In this blog we are going to focus a little more on how to implement such techniques and how to determine success rates.

Before I talk about a specific way to engage your community, I like to always reference stats as I am big on numbers because of the story they tell. Did you know over 2/3rds of employers consider gamification an effective strategy for encouraging their employees to improve their health?  This stat comes from a leading research company M2 Research and more than 30% of employers intend to adopt a minimum of one health-focused gamified strategy in the next year, according to BI Worldwide.  What these stats tell us is the concept is becoming more mainstream with employers as they look for ways to engage their employees with fitness.

So what does this mean to someone that manages a Parks and Recreation Department? It means these companies are beginning to look for events and places that they can leverage to engage their employees.  So what can be done to engage with such companies or individuals?  One thought is geocaching, which is a great technology that takes scavenger hunting to the next level, it’s a great way to get companies, families and individuals out in one’s community exploring new parks or trails and finding clues along the way while sharing their findings with friends.  What you could do is setup a team challenge where members of a team visit numerous destinations along a pre-defined route that you choose in search of clues.  Once they find that clue they would need to answer a question in order to move to the next level or location, this is where technology can come into play.  Perhaps that question can be related to the history of a trail or adjacent park.  What a great way to learn about one’s community.  The end goal could be time based, so the first team that finds all clues and answers them wins a prize.  It’s easy to find local businesses in your community that will donate prizes or gift cards for such endeavors, its good exposure for them.

So how do you measure success?  One simple way is the number of participants, however one can expand upon that to truly see how engaged participants are with the challenge, is everybody trying to finish the challenge? Are the clues compelling? Are they sharing with their friends or inviting their friends to join?  What is the gender and age breakdown of these participants?  All this information can be accessed by setting up a challenge and that same information can help you with future grants or sponsorships to continue to offer similar programs in your community.  Remember people like to play games, challenge their friends and share, this is the hallmark of a successful event, how engaged are your participants?  Our next blog will focus more on the growth of participatory sports such as road races and mob events and how to capture engagement throughout the year as opposed to a one-time event.  Let us know what you think about the blog or what you’d like us to write about, email us at dan@cmecompete.com