We solved a space crime for our 2020 holiday party. It was fun, engaging, and out of this world. We can’t wait to head back into the cosmos!

2020 was a year of adapting, reinventing, and coming up with plenty of creative solutions (mostly while talking to people on tiny screens). But even after all that, we still needed a hand turning our holiday party into a productive, and genuinely exciting, 2pm-4pm CST Zoom call. No small task. So we reached out to the folks at Moniker Partners — who launched us into the cosmos to solve an intergalactic space-crime… Team building happened… It was fresh and inspiring… And we took some notes on all the reasons why we can’t wait to go back to space (virtually, or course). But also kinda in real life…

Screenshot of Expo, Inc Zoom Call 2020 holiday party showing TASK FORCE 04 in action

Team building that feels like solving a space crime… The way it should be.

We might not have solved this particular space crime (more on that later), but we definitely put on some cool costumes/backgrounds, diligently interviewed potential space crime suspects (played by very talented improv actors), and had a blast trying to put the pieces together. But here’s where the real team building magic comes in…

In the Space Crime Continuum (that’s the name of the event), each team member only gets a chance to interview half of the suspects. A team might end up with all the clues as a whole (if they ask the right questions). But it’s up to each team member to communicate the right info, at the right time. And most importantly, the team has to trust new information and ideas as they come in (ideas that maybe contradict what they know or heard or think). It’s all kind of a metaphor for how good creative work gets done isn’t it?

And while we didn’t name the right culprit this time, we learned that it pays to think about a deeper meaning to whatever problem is at hand. That, and trying to solve a space crime is a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Screenshot of Expo, Inc Zoom Call 2020 holiday party showing TASK FORCE 03 in action

Imagining you are on a spaceship is more interesting than working from home… Even if you are still working from home.

Zoom can sometimes feel like an endless team building exercise, but after The Space Crime Continuum, we see now that a regular Zoom call is lacking one important component, and that’s — imagination. There was a whole other world to discover in the Space Crime Continuum. The characters all had fully formed backgrounds. There were maps and plans to inform questioning. And you really had to put yourself on the spaceship and think about what might have happened. It wasn’t just something where you could sit back and expect the answers to appear. But we have to say, imagining you are on a spaceship is still more interesting than working from home. Even if you are still working home.

Screenshot of Expo, Inc Zoom Call 2020 holiday party showing TASK FORCE 02 in action

A little structure goes a long way in the virtual world.

Every “suspect” interview had a 10 minute limit. There was also a 10 minute debrief after each interview, a halftime break, and a crew of people in the sky making sure everything worked and everyone was in the right breakout rooms. If only every Zoom call was that structured. All of the breakout rooms were also neatly labeled and intuitive to find. And we don’t say this lightly — everything just worked. From an event organizing perspective, we learned a lot. But mainly we learned that when people have a place to be, a strict virtual schedule to keep, and every breakout room is easy to get to — plenty can get done in a short amount of time.

screenshot of a man in a white coat inside a spaceship, a zoom call, and a map of the spaceship

The space crime suspects (actors) held this whole intergalactic Zoom call together.

All the characters we encountered felt real. They had real thoughts and hopes (all of which were interesting) and they didn’t just give away plot points to move people through the story. It was also all improv. The actors had to take each question and react to it in a way that was both entertaining and useful, without giving away the game. It’s a tricky balance. It also means that no two Space Crime Continuums could ever be the same. Even with the same people… Everyone in the event world has had to adapt and reinvent this year, but this virtual experience from Moniker really was next level. We’d also love to see more actors in virtual events, conferences, kids events, and entertainment events. At the moment, the event world might be the only ones in the galaxy working on this kind of stuff. Pretty cool! 

Screenshot of Expo, Inc Zoom Call 2020 holiday party showing TASK FORCE 01 in action

100 percent we’d do it again!

We all want to get together again in person next year. And the year after that. And maybe even take a break from virtual at some point. But we do think events like Moniker’s Space Time Continuum are here to stay. They are fun, engaging, and something completely original in the event space. We can recommend, and 100 percent we’d do it again!

December 29, 2020

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December 29, 2020

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