Picnic Network

by Andy Mayer
Posted on 14 September 2011
read time: 3 minutes

PICNIC is Europe’s leading festival for creativity and innovation. Every September 6,500 leading thinkers and creative minds from disparate backgrounds descend on Amsterdam for three intense days of exploring solutions to the issues of our times.

So Yoomee was delighted when PICNIC came knocking at our door and asked us to work with them to conceive and develop this year’s Festival website.

The PICNIC team wanted to take their site in an entirely new direction, reinvent and give it 365 day a year relevance to the people who attend the Festival. Their vision was to add new social dimensions with a PICNIC Club and to provide a platform for the Stories behind the conference, all with a liberal sprinkling of PICNIC humour added into the mix.

Hence we forged a close working partnership with PICNIC, took up our box of Agile tools and started to work on strategy together. Much of this work took place over Skype, proving there’s no geographical barriers to enlightened partnerships. With the festival rapidly approaching we prototyped iteratively till we had a working Beta we could present to the wider PICNIC community, using them as real-world testers in the run up to the event. Yoomee was able to the community site live in record time because we were tailoring and customising our existing social platform - morphing it into a social conference platform. Kitty Learing, PICNIC’s Program Director has been more than a little impressed with progress:

The PICNIC website has been a frantic work in progress with a very limited time to build. Yoomee successfully stayed on top of things, while remaining extremely flexible and responsive. And all of that with a smile. ~ Kitty Leering, PICNIC's Program Director

We’ve added a host of PICNIC touches – members of the PICNIC Club, for example, invite each other to sit on their PICNIC blanket rather than become ‘friends’. Personal profile tags default to ‘bland’ ‘no_friends’ and ‘boring’, thereby encouraging new members to escape this slur by pro-actively changing them to something more informative. Gamification brings yet more fun to the site. Conversations are already buzzing in the run up to the Festival.

Hosted in the cloud with our amazing partners at Engine Yard in the States, the PICNIC site hosting can be scaled up and down to cope with intensive and heavy use peaking over the conference period.

The final part of the equation was to develop an integrated PICNIC iPhone and iPad app so those attending PICNIC can literally carry the Festival around in their pocket and take a peek whenever they need to. 

Now much conference than a standard conference website, PICNIC's social conference platform engages with the community 365 days a year via a smart social network.

A subtle underlying game mechanic uses points and badges to drive continued engagement.

Conversations and user generated media are all organised by subject tags, helping the PICNIC community find their way round an increasingly buzzy site.

An integrated iPhone and iPad app literally allows those attending the Festival to carry it around in their pocket and take a sneaky peek whenever they need to.

Posted on 14 September 2011 - By Andy Mayer
Share this post
blog comments powered by Disqus