It has been almost a month since Event Camp Twin Cites 2011 (ECTC11) and I’ve had time to reflect on what I learned about creating team building sessions in a hybrid meeting environment. I wanted to share those insights with you.
Back in late June, Ray Hanson asked me to help develop an interactive team / gaming experience for ECTC11. We wanted to push the envelope and go out on a limb in creating a hybrid meeting experience that was different than anything that had been done before – in other words, we wanted to create a customized hybrid team building program that was interwoven throughout the entire two-day event where both live and virtual participants were working together on the same team doing real team building challenges.
To the best of our knowledge, this had not been done before.
Sure, there have been sessions before where live and virtual participants were placed on teams and worked on challenges. Any number of technology suppliers provide the means for people to compete in a trivia challenge or earn badges where their scores or efforts get rolled up to a “team.”
This isn’t team building – it is team gaming.
Team gaming allows for individuals to participate and compete and even feel like they are part of a team but it doesn’t allow for a deeper, more sustained bonding and trust building that are necessary for team building. If you want to add some energy and fun for an hour into your event, team gaming challenges are great. If you want to help teams work better together and really get to know the people that they are on a team with, you need to do team building.
We used ECTC11 as a laboratory to try to see if this could be done in what we called “The Great Event Camp Challenge.”
What we did:
As mentioned before, team gaming for events is not too daunting – as long as you are focusing on individual participation from both live and virtual participants. However, creating a custom team event for a hybrid audience presented some significant challenges. We needed to look at how people engaged in the event, how they communicated with each other, how learnings were going to be processed, and how teams would work together as a team and not just as individual participants.
For the Great Event Camp Challenge, we decided to interweave the team sessions throughout the event. We developed three different avenues for teams to participate:
- Team Challenges
- Team Badges
- Team Case Study
Each of the avenues provided teams with ways to earn points. Ultimately, we had decided that we wanted this event to be competitive to help keep teams engaged and attentive. The team with the most points won.