Role: Design, Ideation
Challenge: We have 20,000 unfamiliar people in a large room. How do we get them to break the ice and develop new friendships?
In 2014, Cisco came to JUXT for ideas on their annual, GSX Conference. Being that the conference was in Vegas for the first time in years, it only made sense to do it big. Our goal was to create a cutting edge experience that would facilitate introductions between attendees and equally reflect the innovative frontier that Cisco was pursuing. Also living up to the even theme: “Be Bold.”
The big idea: Human pong.
One of Cisco's number one goals for the GSX Conference was for attendees to get to know one another. They wanted GSX to inspire new, meaningful relationships that would in turn, encourage collaboration in their careers and professional growth.
So how do you help break that ice?
Give attendees something fun to experience together, that they never have before. Create memories, excitement, thrill, teamwork.
The primary GSX attendee was a Cisco sales person. This personae included an individual that is typically pretty competitive. We wanted to embrace that quality, by creating an experience around competition and teamwork. From that point, it naturally made sense to create some kind of game, that would involve teams and competition (much like their day to day work!)
The idea of pong came from answering the question "What's the simplest game for newcomers to get the hang of, and quickly enjoy?" Also, the visual design of pong worked really well within the hardware constraints of this project. A short throw projector, illuminating a 15x15ft transparent screen, comes at a pretty low resolution. By embracing the lack of resolution offered, we chose to create atari-like, pong graphics a la 8-bit design.
Connect challenge was designed to accommodate up to 8 people – 4 teams of 2. As players walked onto the floor, the game recognized them through each attendees RFID badge. An attendee's RFID badge contained their registration data: location, age, industry, vertical, years at Cisco, etc. When all players walked on the floor, the game would then pair them into teams based on their similarities. For example, two players were from the same state or sold the same Cisco product would be paired together. Also, the game would intelligently recognize the number of players on the floor and adapt its design to fit 2, 3, or 4 teams.
Each team of two was given a paddle. The paddle would move in the direction that the teammates walked towards, together. Keyword: together. The paddle would only cooperate when the teammates were moving harmoniously. If one teammate ran one way, and the other ran the other way – the paddle would fail. But when the teammates moved together in the same direction.. voila – the paddle would cooperate and the team was practically unstoppable. This experience was designed to encourage teamwork. Teams could only win when they worked together. If teams did not work together, they would surely lose.
Like a traditional game of pong, when you score on the opponents goal, you get a point. To speed up play (more than 20 thousand attendees were ready to play), when a team scored on another team, that team was eliminated. The last team standing was reigned champion.
The Connect Challenge was a massive success. Multiple people would come back again and again to play and meet new colleagues. Not only was it the main attraction and talk of GSX, but hundreds (if not thousands) of new relationships were formed.
This was by far one of the most challenging yet rewarding projects I have worked on to date. Everyone involved in the creative process of this project (including our client) played a crucial role in the success of Connect Challenge. It took every ounce of grit and tenacity to make this project happen in just 3 months.
JUXT (Creative Agency)
Shane Diver (Create Direction)
Vinicio Vazquez (UX)
Sean Metcalf (Design + Art Direction)
Dani Morales (Design)
Bryan Hawkins (Design)
Snibbe Interactive (Engineering)