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By Corinne Geri:

icebucket logo

As is the popular custom these days, I too was challenged to have a bucket of ice water thrown over my head. The Ice Bucket Challenge, sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on one’s head or donating to the ALS Association in the United States. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads.

Not one to back down in the face of a challenge, even the kind to require a change of clothing, a bucket was quickly located and filled with bags of ice and… cue the camera!

So while I was being submerged in ice cold water, rethinking my whole prepared-to-take-on-any-challenge-that-might-come-my-way strategy for life, I came to realize the power of social media when it is combined with gaming elements.

What better way to increase engagement and virality than setting up a challenge (complete with an entertaining effect) and then asking people to post videos of their efforts in achieving the goal?

Just take the plunge

So what makes people pour buckets of ice over their heads?

Well, for a start, celebrities are doing it. The internet is awash (pun intended) with the famous, queuing up to douse themselves in freezing liquid. And I won’t lie – if Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg opted to chill their brains, I am willing to follow suit.

Having people of influence set a personal example is always a good motivator.

Social media, accessible to every person with a bucket, makes it that much easier to convey your message in the hope that people in your circle will follow your lead.

It also creates a sense of community, making you feel a part of something bigger.

Let’s rewind for a second. What is the ice bucket challenge?

Within 24 hours of being challenged, participants are to record themselves as a bucket of  ice water is lifted overhead and poured over the participant’s head.

The participant is expected to donate $10 to the ALS association in the US if they have poured the ice water over their head and donate $100 if they have not. The cycle keeps going since everyone completing the challenge dares others to do the same thing.

This may seem pointless, but all of the awareness for ALS because of the Ice Bucket Challenge led to the ALS Association raising  $ 41 million so far, compared to $1.7 million during the same time period (July 29 to Aug. 17) a year ago.

Rise to the challenge

Challenges are often great motivators. In this case, I was called to engage in a somewhat uncomfortable yet undoubtedly achievable task. This is the best kind of challenges – not a walk in the park, but still within reach. People should not get discouraged while trying to complete a challenge beyond their capabilities. At the same time, borrowing Roosevelt’s famous words, nothing worth having or worth doing was ever achieved without effort.

The original goal of the bucket challenge was to raise money for ALS. While people might be reluctant to donate or simply unaware of the cause, they can be persuaded into doing so by being challenged.

Watch me take on the challenge

So now I’m soaking wet and can’t stop sneezing. But I’m also up there, with the best of them, sharing a wet smile with LeBron James, my fellow Ice Bucket Challenge participant.

I have completed the challenge so now, my victory will be perpetuated on the web for all to see. And that is what social media does best – recognition.

Making the world a better place, one droplet at a time

Committing to a meaningful purpose is important for motivation and this challenge is the perfect example.

Donating to charity and helping to raise awareness for diseases are without a doubt worthy causes.

Don’t Try this at the office

OK, so this had all been a refreshing experience, but how can I use the mechanics that seem to be working great in this challenge to do some good within an enterprise environment?

First, we need to choose the challenge. Good choices can be doing something for the greater good and welfare at the company: participating in volunteer work encouraged by the company (and by doing the challenge getting the company to donate money to that cause), or doing something for the general welfare of the company, such as undertaking a clean-up or decoration activity that would make the work environment nicer or more fun (such as a sports facility).

Think of what can be the workplace equivalent to having a bucket of ice poured over your head. It should be fun! Don’t go into taxing those who haven’t participated with a worse task – they just won’t get the recognitions the others got.

 Make a Splash

Completed challenges should be published in the company’s internal social network (or newsletter, or widely-distributed email). Colleagues might be asked to vote for the best or most creative execution of the challenge, thus allowing employees that choose not to take on the challenge, to still be part of the game.

To sum up, this challenge proved to be enlightening as well as refreshing. All in all, not a bad activity for a hot summer day!

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