Jenny Gottstein: Go Girl
Have you ever been to one of those old school team building camps or had to do awkward trust falls in the middle of a training seminar? It is fair to say that is a common experience. Besides making people a little bit more uncomfortable with their coworkers than they already are, the results of those exercises are pretty varied. On top of that, they aren’t necessarily the most engaging experiences to participate in.
No offense to trust falls and slide shows but that style of team building is a little outdated. The Go Game, is an immersive experience company that creates customized games intended to facilitate anything you can imagine. Whether a brand experience, team building exercise, or simulated zombie apocalypse the common denominator is fun. As Director of Games Jenny Gottstein is architect, producer, host, and more, creating live action challenges that use play as a tool to bring ideas to life.
To ask how one goes about becoming a live action game designer would be an inefficient use of a question. There isn’t a school or undergraduate program dedicated to teaching people how to facilitate connection in diverse fun environments all over the world that has a pathway to employment. We can only hope for a world in which this type of school exists but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a particular skill set needed to do the job. Before the San Francisco Bay area native moved back to work at The Go Game, Jenny worked in the party scene of New York. She would host underground dance parties in a Chinatown restaurant, or bring hundreds of people into a free department store to exchange clothing, records, and home goods.
For anyone who has been an event producer of any size you’ll understand you have to be a master of logistics, and pull everything of with the seamlessness of a Broadway production. There is a delicate balance between working front of house and behind the scenes that must be achieved so that all the work you put into making an event come together does not come undone on the day of. In addition the requirement of creativity sits on the shoulders of a game producer as well. The experience must be novel, organized, engaging, and on top of that it must serve an intended function.
This functional demand separates the logistical and aesthetically focused event producer from the results oriented experience designer to create a purposeful fun that not only entertains, but educates as well. Jenny has travelled the world to some odd and exotic places to create engagements of all types “I’m, part bar mitzvah DJ, camp counselor, Q from 007, and Legends of The Hidden Temple producer.” explain her profession, Jenny’s work has led her to run games in 18 different cities at once, or simply manage a game in Malta from a remote mobile command center in her kitchen.
Through the use of technology custom built by Finnegan Kelly one of the company’s founders she is able to track, and manage game participants through a proprietary system that predates smart phone geolocation. Each participant group plays a different version of the games but still walks away with a shared experience.
Applying this great use of innovation, creativity, and tech just for gratuitous fun makes for an amazing time but in 2011 Jenny began to produce the Zombie Apocalypse Disaster Preparedness game in various cities across the country. Living up to its name, the event teaches gamers how to prepare for slightly more realistic natural disasters by immersing them into a world plagued with the undead. In the coming years she hopes to create interactive games for libraries, voting, and financial fluency for young adults.
Whether crafting an engagement for pure pleasure or with a higher purpose in mind Gottstein has taken traditional tools of bringing people together and technology as a member of The Go Game to shape unique experiences that bake meaningful lessons into unforgettable memories. Most recently she was name one of Forbes 30 under 30 for 2015.