How to win the UN Influx hackathon this weekend

This weekend we’ll be offering Rise platform free to any projects that use it during the UN Influx hackathon to solve the problem set: How can digital innovation help the UN and the public work more effectively together?

If you’re looking to win, then Rise would be your perfect platform for your app, as it will help your team leap frog the rest by giving you more bang for buck in the short development time available.

What is Rise?

Rise is a gamified performance management platform, designed especially for infinite gamification – programs that flex, grow and run forever as they become adopted by the player community that has been gamified.

A classic example of Rise style gamification is already being used by the UNDP: to gamify country leaders into focusing on more than just GDP growth – it’s called the Human Development Index.

Can I use Rise?

To get to the stage of being able to use Rise in this competition you first need to be on top of a few key technologies. First up, what are the skills will you need if you want to use Rise as your technology platform?

  • Gamification – understand how to influence, motivate and engage with non-financial incentives such as status, peer comparison, progress, feedback and digital badges.
  • Social Media – Rise is the foremost gamification platform for Social Media – as part of the hackathon you’ll have access to every single one of Rise’s powerful data connectors including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Datasift, LinkedIn, Weibo, Xing, Slideshare, Blogs, Moz, Alexa, Google, Brandwatch and many more.
  • Scorecard design – at the heart of every Rise board is a great scorecard – if you’re thinking like a game designer you’ll be ready to create the scorecard of choice, use formulas, ratios and our unique relative scoring algorithm to create a sophisticate score that none of your players can game.

While Rise can be used entirely by non-technical users (using the existing connectors and themes) you may want to be flash and develop your own automated scoring and visuals. If so you’ll need to have abilities in:

  • REST APIs – Rise provides a round trip API for an automated, raw score keeping and consolidated score distribution
  • HTML/CSS design – Rise also offeres a fully themable UI so you don’t even need to build your own app, just drop your HTML in and Rise will turn it into a fancy leaderboard.

Maybe that sounds a lot, but don’t worry – the Rise manager UI is designed to train you in all of these sophisticated digital engagement techniques, so that the end  result is that you’ll have a digital engagement property that really works. Also I’ll be around on Saturday morning to offer tips and advice on how to get started and use the platform.

Ok what’s your team’s idea?

You’ve got to grips with gamification and the Rise platform, now it’s time to put your idea together. These gamification design questions will get you started:

  • What’s your business objectives?
  • Who are your players?
  • What will they be ‘playing’?
  • How will the experience add value to each player? (player led design)
  • Will success in this game be interesting enough for them to tell others?
  • Will others want to join?
  • Will it develop an audience of its own? 
  • How will I show players and audience the score?

Worked example

Let’s take a worked example of how we could use Rise to fulfil the UN Influx challenge. I’ll start by answering my own questions above:

What’s your business objectives?

Let’s say our objective is to make the inner workings of the UN, what the staff are up to on a day to day basis shared more openly with the public. To me that means social media – so what if we could encourage UN Staff to talk more on social media about what they are up to?

Who are your players? What will they be ‘playing’?

So our players in this case will be UN staff and country representatives, the game they will be playing will be ‘who is the most influential on social media’

How will the experience add value to each player?

For each player, the game will help them to get better at social media by comparing their progress with their peers. I will give them feedback on a monthly basis so they can see how they’ve fared.

Will success in this game be interesting enough for them to tell others?

I will put them on a leaderboard, so I will appeal to their competitive side and flatter them by showing how high they stand versus others in the organisation. They are certain to retweet if I tell them their scores.

Will others want to join?

No-one wants to be left out, I’m sure the leaderboard will be quickly joined by colleagues elsewhere within the UN, keen to find out where they stand on social media versus their peers.

Will it develop an audience of its own? 

Yes, for international relations enthusiasts (another of the hackathon’s target groups) who want to know who to follow and engage with via social media they can quickly scan the leaderboard to find the right people.

How will I show players the score?

I will be tweeting out to all the players once a month letting them know their rank on the leaderboard.

Will it work? Will it win?

I will be launching this  over the weekend to see whether it gets the traction it needs. I’d be very surprised if it didn’t.

UPDATE 23 Feb 2015 – 08:42

In the end I didn’t launch my leaderboard at the weekend as I didn’t want to steal the thunder of  one of the teams in the hackathon itself. Theirs was also a great idea – they wanted to use a similar concept but focus on frontline UN staff and volunteers in the field. They did indeed use the Rise API and created frontliners.org to recognise those UN Volunteers sharing great UN stories on social media. And yes they won! They took home the coveted – ‘heart’ prize for the most inspiring and emotional project. I am super chuffed for them.

UPDATE 25 March 2015 – 20:26

I launched the site in the end as www.UNSocial500.com and it has had a fantastic reception with hundreds of shares and over two thousand visitors to the site in the first two weeks after its launch.

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