Creating “interactive experiences” is essential for live events, be them face-to-face (f2f), virtual) or hybrid (a mix of f2f and virtual). Interactive experiences are one of the reasons that justifies being present, a way to connect attendees with each other, with the content and with the speakers.
Creating interactive experiences is also an over-hyped expression that’s often brought out to justify mobile technology or other kind of rube-goldbergian mechanism that participants end up by not using (not intuitive enough, too complicated, no real value added, etc). An art installation by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama dubbed “The Obliteration Room” shows how a great interactive experience is created and while this one was aimed to kids, it summarizes some of the key factors to create one (more on that below).
Kusama created a totally white room and provided thousands of colored stickers to kids that over the days placed them wherever they wanted, co-creating the new looks of the place.
Essential Ingredients for a Great Interactive Experience for Your Event
While working on summarizing the process, I came through with a few things that might seem obvious to you but if you analyze many efforts that are made at conferences they totally miss these points.
(A typical failed experience I see over and over again is one including QR codes as an entry point and expecting people to start interacting with them out of the blue. It fails because of one or more of the following: people don’t know what a QR code is or how to use it, they don’t have a smartphone a QR code reader in it, don’t have internet access or it’s not provided by the event, the experience is dull or not worth interacting with in a third place, because of this they don’t invite other attendees to take part in it).
A great interactive experience should:
- Be designed for all attendees and not just for a specific group
- Be easy to use (ability factor)
- Motivate people to take part of it (motivation)
- Include a trigger that acts as a call to action for people to take part of it
- Have results that are memorable (wow factor), that stimulate conversation
BJ Fogg, founder of the Standford Persuasion Lab, created a Behavior Model framework that combines the simultaneous presence of Motivation, Ability (easiness of use) and a Trigger (call to action) for a given Behavior to happen.
Fogg distilled several successful behavior recipes that can be applied to create such an interactive experience, one of them being Simple, Social, Fun. This formula is behind the success of popular iOS apps like Instagram and can also be applied in a low tech environment.
Consider how Kusama’s installation mentioned above satisfies these three conditions: it’s simple to use (give out a few colored stickers to the kids), it achieves its result by social interaction (several people applying the stickers inside the white room) and it’s fun for the kids to do too. The visual result is amazing (wow factor) and am sure than many of the kinds had it photographed it with their parents mobile phone and shared it with their friends (and other parents too).
What kind of simple, social and fun interactive experience could you create at your next event? (And if you do create or created one, I’d like to know about it! Pleas email me the details)
Photos where taken from Colossal and Courier Mail AU