crowdsourcing a keynote closing session on health games

April 8, 2013

in context communication,health games,speaking engagements,wellness ROI

HRE Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

on april 24 i’m moderating a panel on health games at the human resource executive health & benefits leadership conference in las vegas.

i’ve intentionally constructed a panel with varied perspectives, responsibilities, and backgrounds. my panelists include rajiv kumar, CEO of shapeup, inc.; chris cartter, general manager of meyou health; melissa yoakam, benefits manager for chipotle mexican grill; and cathy murphy, vice president of human resources operations and wellness for blue shield of california.

being a communication consultant, it’s in my DNA to gather audience input to help shape whatever i’m going to write or say. in that vein, i’m inviting you to crowdsource the questions i ask the panel. in exchange i’ll write a post to let you know what we bandied about.

to get you started, i’ve shared my panel’s initial list of questions. i’m sure we have more than we cover. so, while you’re adding your questions in the comments, please also call out which one of ours you’d really like answered.

thanks in advance,



1. let’s begin with a basic question: what essential design elements must be present to make a health game a game?

2. [to the game creators] because we associate games with fun, we often overlook the theory underpinning them. i want to take a look under the hood of your products. what behavior change and game design theory is baked into your game(s)?

3. do you see today’s games for health in the workplace having the same vitality and variety as games for health overall? how do they compare in these respects to games in general?

4. [to the game creators] one of the biggest plugs for health games is that they overcome the health engagement issues most employers see. so, what are you seeing with your game? who uses them most, and for how long?

5. [to the employers] have you seen a noticeable difference with games versus some of your other health promotion strategies? how did you define or quantify any difference?

6. [to the employers] you’re on this panel because you obviously believe in the potential of health games. but i’m sure you know there’s still some skepticism and curiosity about health games. what was your experience selling games internally? among your colleagues and industry peers, what have been the strongest objections and how have you responded to them?

7. of course employers aren’t the only ones who can be skeptical, curious, or perhaps uncomfortable with health games. employees too may find it challenging to use them within a work setting, or to share their private health goals. what have you experienced? what have you learned that can guide others’ successful implementations?

8. let’s discuss the juxtaposition of self-reported data and validated data. what’s the benefit derived from spending money on tools that deliver validated data? do all games deliver this? should they? are self-reported and anecdotal data actually sufficient to quantify and substantiate game ROI and benefits?

9. in 2012, shapeup and i collaborated on a survey to understand employers’ perceptions and current adoption of health technology, including games. one of the top implementation barriers cited by participants was cost. if i’m an employer and i have a limited budget, why a health game? why is this a good investment?

10. [to the employers] considering cost, how would you evaluate affordability? how would you look to evaluate ROI and show the value for the cost?

11. we know we’ll see many more companies adopt health games this year and in the coming years. how do we work together to leverage this gamification trend? what can we draw from it to construct meaningful experiences to increase engagement?



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