It's a new year and whether you have a new social business platform right out of the box or something established that is struggling with widespread engagement, using a little magic might help bring more of your audience on board.


Social business can be a tough sell to some audiences, and while I firmly believe that it is the future of work I can understand some skepticism.  Traditionally we try to present the features and benefits of social business to our teams which can sometimes backfire, turning people off to our platforms before they let it work for them.  Easing our teams into a new platform and a new business model at the same time can be tricky because it's different and unknown.


Everyone loves magic.  The best magic is enjoyable by skeptics and believers alike. Unbelievers spend their time trying to figure out the trick while others just take it all in, either way a magic show can be enticing. Integrating magic and illusion into your business related storytelling can be very effective.  Great examples include any presentation by Marco Tempest on TED.com or this presentation in Stockholm


A couple of years ago I used magic to encourage community members, both new visitors and experienced super users, to explore our social business platform inside and out.  Each visitor was invited to pick a number at random which we would run through an equation.  At the end I promised that I would be able to guess the answer.


It's a simple yet amazing model.  Community members were invited to participate in the SuperPuzzle via email. Visitors were linked to a worksheet, which they needed before proceeding. Another link in the email brought users to the first page in the process where they were asked to think of a number.  They wrote that number down on their worksheet and continued to follow the directions.  Visitors traveled via links throughout blogs, wikis, files, forums and profiles.  Some spots included mini puzzles that yielded clues while others included some informational text about that piece of the social business platform. On the last page of the puzzle, we did some math with the numbers on the worksheet then I asked them to click to the answer page.  On the answer page I would present users with the result of their previous equations which you will remember included a random number that they added to the equation.



The answer is formed by a seemingly unrelated set of equations and a little algebra.  You can see different version of this trick here, here and here.

The fun part was that all users got to explore our social platform without any expectations and they each left with experiences of the nooks and crannies of our collaborative environment.  Going forward, the obstacle of trying something new had been broken down and each player was at least a little comfortable with parts of their new social toolbox.



Because seeing is believing, I will present the #SuperPuzzle2 out here in the wild so each of you can play around with the playful way to invite folks to explore, different social tools and platforms, on Tuesday February 17th 2015.  A link to the start page will be presented here on my blog, via Twitter (@XstGardens), LinkedIN, Facebook and so forth.  I look forward to your participation, please be sure to share your thoughts about this idea and the actual #SuperPuzzle2 in the comments below.


The Super Puzzle II is now posted here ----> Magical social exploration via the Super Puzzle II