The goal of this game is to make attending, scheduling, and running meetings more efficient by making the attendees and facilitators more mindful of their costs. Costs could be linked to actual cost (e.g. salary, seniority, or utilization) or some hypothetical cost (spending of virtual points which is the example used here.)
A corollary of why this idea is likely to work can be seen in the way counting calories can reduce weight by drawing attention to absent minding snacking.
Imagine a system where each employee is given a certain number of points they can spend attending or hosting meetings (e.g. 500 points a month.)
By attending a meeting an attendee burns some of their points every second/minute/hour. The rate at which points burn could also be a variable. Senior staff or people who historically attend too many meetings could burn their points at a faster rate.
Meetings themselves could have a given archetype which defines the proper range of points based on required attendance for a quorum and an ideal duration. This could prompt the following questions:
- If you’re inviting only half the team to the stand-up should you just reschedule until more can attend?
- Are you sure you want to invite all 200 people in the org to this meeting?
Certain potential rules fall out of these constraints:
- What happens when you run out of meeting points (can you not attend any new meetings until your points are refreshed, can you borrow from others)?
- What happens if you have a surplus of points at the end, are you rewarded?
- What happens if a meeting goes over their ideal duration, do you start burning points faster?
What could happen with this system in place?
- People could front-load critical business in case they run out of points.
- People don’t stay for the entire meeting; they drop once their business is done.
- People might look for other ways to syndicate information other than meetings (recorded zoom calls with fewer attendees which are syndicated wider.)
- People might reject more meeting invites if they are trying to protect their surplus.
There are also other negative possibilities too:
- Loss of small talk at the start, which could make relationships feel more transactional.
- Loss of brainstorming time or following hunches in meetings which could be inefficient in the short term but unlock long term value.
Note: This idea will work only while it’s novel to the participants. Moreover, important work will need to continue to be done (points or no points,) and this game-like approach could easily turn into an oppressive soul crushing experience if employees feel like their being punished for getting their work done the best way they know how.
Photo by: Adrien Olichon