Gamifying Entrepreneurial Education


“Fundamental to the Startup Weekend model are several layers and aspects of Gamification theory that we continue to embed and weave into various levels of engagement” – Mark Nager CEO

These aspects are intrigue, reward, status, community and challenge. The following explanation has been taken from here:

  • Intrigue. Content and story line often represent the consumer tech side.  The enterprise needs to develop relevant content to keep users engage.  Content could include help topics, related information, user generated comments, etc.

Startup Weekend’s brand provides an inherent intrigue and appeal to its target audience. The goal of starting a business in just one weekend is not always attainable, but is still a very real possibility and is encouraged and promoted with support from previous success stories our target audience hears about. One element that must be further developed is a retention strategy. We need to focus on providing more materials, information and user-generated content to keep the community engaged pre and post weekend.

  • Reward. Both non-monetary and monetary incentives can be deployed.  Rewards should match level of difficulty so users gain a sense of accomplishment.  Non-monetary rewards could include exclusive information, access, or recognition.

Those closest to Startup Weekend include the vast network of organizers and facilitators. We provide each with a special set of rewards including Startup Weekend branded track jackets, Moleskine notebooks, personalized Startup Weekend business cards, and even a fancy glass beaker with the Startup Weekend logo to put on a shelf or in an office. Startup Weekend participants receive stickers and event-level swag; however, a technology-based rewards structure is being included to recognize and create incentive for attendees who participate frequently.

  • Status. Leaderboards codify status in gamification.  Leader boards reward status and provide a recognition mechanism as well as a way to tier users.  A robust analytics platform must align with the objectives of gamification and support reward systems.

Again, our facilitators and organizers get special recognition; however, we have not yet developed a public leaderboard. This will be addressed in the coming year though new individual and team websites for each participant.

  • Community. Social is a key part of gamification.  Users want to connect, share, and reach out to other “players”.  Expect integration back to mobile and social platforms.

Startup Weekend is based on an offline world where meaningful, lasting communities and relationships are forged. There is no stronger bond entrepreneurs can build over the course of a weekend than actually launching a business together. This is core strength of the Startup Weekend model. Our online solution will also address and emphasize community energy and needs long past the weekend.

  • Challenge. Users must earn a sense of accomplishment to remain engaged.  Gamification in the enterprise should tie back to the achievement of levels with increasing difficulty.  Challenges will tie back to reward and intrigue over time.

Another strength of the Startup Weekend model is that despite the varying levels of attendee experience, there are always new, intriguing and challenging things to learn and take away from the event. Building a program that helps reward the vetrans and even group them together to help increase the challenge levels will surely continue to raise engagement and performance levels.

Eventbrite - Edinburgh Startup Weekend 11/2012