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Vasilis Gkogkidis is a gamification designer and researcher splitting his time between industry and academia. He works for GAMIFICATION+ alongside Pete Jenkins and does a Ph.D. on serious games, gamification and innovation at the University of Sussex. He studied computer science and did a postgraduate in Business Management at the University of Brighton where he met Pete Jenkins. He organizes Gamification Europe with Pete, he is the Greek Ambassador for GamFed, the founder of the Thessaloniki Gamification Meetup, organizer of the Brighton Gamification Meetup and a certified LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilitator.
Vasilis started the conversation by thanking us all for being media sponsors of Gamification Europe. That includes me, as the founder and host and certainly includes you as an Engager! We are spreading the word about Gamification Europe and will be interviewing future speakers as well as featuring previous interviews with guests who will be speaking at the conference.
He has been dedicating a huge chunk of his time to the conference at least since June and has been quite happy with the results to this date, they sold out with the Call to Adventure ticket (the super early bird)!. He is the curator of the event to pick the speakers and themes for the conference, that is in line with the overarching theme “From player to professionals”. Speakers look very interesting, one of them is Marigo Raftopoulos and she has been researching gamification for a while and will explain why she thinks some companies think gamification doesn’t work! Vasilis wants to find talks that will be interesting for every one of the attendees.
Vasilis feels that this conference is special, among other things because it is the only in Europe that is in English, with speakers from all around the world and is not academic, it is industry focused. There are many regional events like Gamification Turkey and Adam Pusztai’s event that were focused on the local markets and languages (Turkey and Hungary). The conference is really international, from every perspective: speakers, attendees, language and the projects presented. You will be able to meet and talk to people who are otherwise quite difficult to even meet in person.
He also has focused on turning the conference into a learning experience. The curation process has involved trying to get different things from different guests. For example, Melinda Jacobs who is focused on narrative, storytelling and UX. She will be speaking about how UX and gamification are related. He wants to create a pdf after the conference with a list of best practices, books videos and other recommendations from speakers that can improve everyday practice for attendees!
3radical is, as a sponsor, offering their platform for the gamification of the conference itself and it is being used to design experiences for the attendees before and during the event. For now, he won’t give too many details to keep the mystery (yes, that is gamification, quite meta 🙂 ).
About education in this conference, there are no tracks, everyone will be in the same space so there is not a track about education. This does not mean that we won’t get talks related to education, all the contrary! In fact, we will have speakers like Bernardo Letayf, who has his gamification tool created exclusively for educators, he will be talking about his journey and what has he learned from teaching. An Coppens who is not dedicated to education but she mostly works in learning projects, so lots to learn from her as well! Most of the links I’ve been sharing take you directly to their episodes. If you haven’t listened to them yet it could be a great opportunity to go back and check them out! There is also Samantha Clarke, who will be talking about an educational experience they had where they used mystery boxes that they sent to students! Quite interesting to listen to it seems! Juliette Denny will be also there talking about learning too.
About other amazing speakers we will also have the chance to listen to Andrzej Marczewski, Bart Hufen, Michiel van Eunen, Manuel Pimenta, Will Stuart-Jones, Steve Bocska, Zac Fitz-Walter, and Karen Sikemma. About the participants, in 2017 and what it seems we will have as well in 2018, there are gamification consultants (offering gamification advice and/or design), gamification software vendors, companies and individuals that want to get into gamification and want to learn more about it, and the fourth type of participants are companies and individuals who want to improve their gamification practice and to learn (and network of course!)
These are some of the reasons to attend to Gamification Europe. You might be considering attending and hopefully, this has brought you into the boat, but if you’re still on the fences we have two considerations for you. The first is that the prices will only go up as time passes by, so the best time to get your tickets is now, not right before the conference! The second and very important one is that if you want even further benefits from the conference, as an Engager you can benefit from a 10% discount if you purchase your tickets through this link: professorgame.com/GamificationEurope. In full transparency, we are sponsors and affiliates, so this means that you will get a better price and also support Professor Game podcast fulfill its mission of delivering amazing inspiration to make education amazing using gamification.
Conferences are a difficult thing to organize, which is one of the reasons I always like to thank those who, like Vasilis and Pete, put these out there for all of us to enjoy (without the hardships!) One of the things that Vasilis has found challenging is the fact that it is a marathon! There are so many things to do and figure out, like talk to people about the conference, how to improve the website, how to offer more information, what information to offer, who should be a speaker, what is the cost of bringing speaker x, how will they make money… So you spend a lot of time on a single project and don’t get many chances to refresh by diving into another project for a while, there are always opportunities to do more for the conference so he is like constantly plugged in! This can bring about burnout which is certainly a complicated place to be. There are also a lot of people to get in line, so far as dates, themes, flow, learning and many details.
The first Gamification Europe (last year) started, for Vasilis at least, like this:
Pete calls and says “we are doing a conference”
Vasilis replies “when Pete?”
“In November.” Vasilis quickly goes to the calendar and says
“I’m fully booked until November, you are fully booked until November!”
So the challenge was big enough and they got to it! They have many reasons, one of them is to bring the community together. Lots of partnerships and friendships have started. For both Pete and Vasilis it made sense because they are community. Andres Garcia Parker is credited for a phrase from last year: “Last year’s event was like a tribe gathering.” As a business it is something they wanted to get into and experiment with, practicing what we all preach in the industry! As speakers they have been to many conferences so they have tried to replicate the good things and avoid the bad ones! Besides, Vasilis likes organizing!
We also had a chance to talk about the escape room that Vasilis will organize in the Brighton Summit! It is about teaching some concepts, so I’m guessing it is something you will be interested in. If so, you’ll have to press play and listen to it!
If you want to find more about the conference you can google it and many things will come up next to the web page gamification-europe.com, social media included. We can also reach Vasilis Gkogkidis on all places, including his episode on Professor Game.
Lastly, don’t forget if you want discounted tickets for the conference go to professorgame.com/GamificationEurope! I really hope to meet you there for the first or subsequent time!
Looking forward to reading or hearing from you,