Puzzle-solving: Combining engagement, competition, difficulty and rewards

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Everybody knows about a Rubik’s cube – at one point, the pinnacle of problem solving games. At one point, (and at times, even now) there was something amazing about seeing someone solve it. If you’ve ever tried, you would know that the difficulty involved made the people who solved it even more remarkable.

Thinking back, there were many such challenging games that would have people trying, failing and still persisting just to be one of the few people who could complete it.

What makes these games so compelling is figuring out how it works. People enjoy challenging themselves to find new patterns and sequences that can help them solve the puzzle (similar to how Big Data and AI analyse data to find common elements). Also, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of completing something that only a fraction of the population are capable of.

Several companies like Google and BlackBerry have used puzzles, jigsaws and interactive games to engage with their audience during activations and events to create a unique, stand-out element that would attract and entice attendees to participate.

Google has even used cryptic puzzles in their outdoor advertising campaigns for their recruitment process where people who broke the code were asked to come in for an interview shortly after.

Escape rooms have also been gaining popularity off late. They require attendees to solve a puzzle to be able to leave the area and complete the activity. Software giant, Microsoft have also used escape rooms for their internal activities to reinforce critical thinking, conflict resolution and a collaborative culture.

Creating a novel puzzle is likely to pique attendee interest and have them engaged for a longer duration. Keeping the right mix of challenging, interesting and rewarding may be difficult (even some of the best event management agencies may struggle), but if managed correctly can have your attendees talking about it throughout the event.

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