Gamification in online research communities

Friday September 6th, was a day I had been looking forward to for quite a while. It was the first day of the ASC (Association for Survey Computing) Congress at the University of Winchester. This time, the themes covered gamification, data visualisation and text analysis. I joined in order to share InSites Consulting’s approach to gamification focused on MROCs or Consumer Consulting Boards as we call them, but also because I was keen to hear what others have to say and to be immersed in the topic of data visualisation.
After an early train from London to the lovely, but wet, Winchester, I had breakfast and mingled with the other attendants. The morning session was dedicated to the topic of gamification with top speakers such as Jon Pulleston, Pippa Bailey, Betty Adamou and myself. Everybody approached gamification differently, but at the core, the same story kept coming back, a story about declining participant engagement and what the market research industry needs to do to tackle this problem. We need to review our product offering and update it to meet current consumer expectations. Jon Pulleston sees this as ‘advertisification’ of market research, where we need to learn from advertising how to captivate an audience and engage them  with our product.
At InSites Consulting, we approach it slightly broader and see the solution more as adopting the offering to the new consumer reality. This involves offering a stimulating (both visually and cognitively) environment, where participants can interact and create an impact. Part of this solution is then gamification.
As is evident, this is not an easy quick fix solution, but as Pippa Bailey nicely put it “As market researchers, we need to become more creative when we develop the research [be it a survey or discussion guide].” At InSites Consulting we share this view and take this approach when working on new research. At the same time, we like to think ahead by working on a scalable model for gamification that we continuously expand. This includes, for example, using automated game elements in our Consumer Consulting Boards, a library of creative techniques, etc…
Data visualizationThe afternoon session focused on data visualisation and was kicked off by Tobias Sturt and Adam Frost from The Guardian. They not only offered us an inspirational 45 minute showing that data truly is beautiful, but also gave us some insight on how they go from data to infographic. Here interesting analogies can be made to our own data interpretation and report building and I can’t wait to get all creative in my next report. Finally, there was also a very interesting presentation from Alex Reppel on data visualisation and on the many different applications of data visualisation.
After a long day, I headed back to London feeling inspired and ready to continue working on updating and evolving our market research offer to both clients and participants.

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