Gamifying the Networking Experience at Startup Weekend 

As an event organiser, how do you measure the connections made at an event? How do you remove the feelings of nervousness and anxiety for people who don't feel confident in making new connections?

At Startup Weekend, we used wearable technology to enable attendees to instantly connect with each other by simply tapping their smartphone against their Startup Weekend T-shirt.

Gamifying the networking experience resulted in an increase in participation and engagement and measured an average of 14 new LinkedIn connections per attendee.


Startup Weekend organisers are always looking for innovative solutions to provide that real ‘WOW’ factor to participants.
— Renee Coman, Startup Weekend Organiser

What is Startup Weekend?


Challenges

Startup Weekend organisers recognise that networking can be intimidating with people feeling nervous and anxious about the prospect of connecting with others at the event.

As attendees are commonly students, business cards are not typically used to as a means to connect and organisers are mindful that the Startup Weekend audience is made up of tech-savvy, young people who use mobile as their preferred platform.

The challenge for organisers is to provide a comfortable, engaging environment whilst supporting the goal of enabling valuable connections in an interactive and entertaining way.  


LInkedin embedded t-shirts

The benefits in embedding attendee's individual LinkedIn profiles into their Startup Weekend t-shirts were associated with the interactive, instant way in which people could connect with each other using their mobile, the value of measuring those connections using data from the t-shirts and an increased likelihood of the shirts being worn outside the event, providing additional exposure for key sponsors.


I made 20 new LinkedIn connections directly through my shirt.
— Kelly Noble, Startup Weekend Participant