10 to Watch 2016: Enigmatic Events

“I create events that engage people in different ways. Some people are visual puzzle solvers, others prefer the social interaction, and others are much more introverted, so there is something for everyone.”

Photograph by Simon Desrochers.

While the name Enigmatic Events conjures the mysterious and unfathomable, this Victoria company’s service is relatively straightforward: helping businesses create better teams.

“I provide gameful ways of doing meetings, enabling meetings with a purpose,” says Enigmatic founder Chris Rudram. “I’m interested in how you can use these games for real results … By giving people an interesting experience, you create memories and ties that last.”

Along with his inherent love of games and mysteries, Rudram’s work is inspired by writers and thought leaders David Rock and Jane McGonigal. When he develops an event, such as a murder mystery or interactive quiz, he draws from game theory on how the brain reacts to work and stress, and current thinking on how play can reduce stress and treat mental-health issues.

“People are starting to understand that there is an alternative to the standard meeting, especially when you’re starting a new project,” he says. “This is another tool you can use to get responsive engagement from your team. You can get more collaboration through the use of games.”

These games also put failure in a safe environment, and Rudram believes teams can take valuable lessons away from failing together — obviously it’s better for a business if it’s not in the real world.

“There’s also a need to put failure in a safe place because when you’ve got a new team and the development process is going to take a year, if that team fails, that could be the failure of a company,” Rudram says. “If you put them in one of our sessions and can see the team isn’t able to work together, you’ve got a better chance of success in the long run.”

Q&A with Chris Rudram of Enigmatic Events

What’s the best advice you received when you were starting out?

Talk a lot and listen a lot. That was the advice. It doesn’t matter how good your idea is, until you speak to someone and express that idea, it’s nothing. When you show it to someone and they bring in their ideas, you create something bigger and better than that first idea. Active, deep collaboration is brilliant.

What are you most proud of?

One thing is Murder by Midnight, my recent collaboration that pulled together elements of dinner theatre, performance and game theory.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Explaining what I do and how I can provide value to companies — that this is more than entertainment. Creating fun events is one aspect, but gameful thinking can be used during project work to create faster and deeper collaborations.

Enigmatic Events Business Profile

Type of business: Facilitates team building through gaming and unusual events

Year founded: 2014

Owner/principal: Chris Rudram

Employees: 0

This article is from the April/May 2016 issue of Douglas.