Ludium I: intellectual gathering made of participants embedded in a virtual world

The Arden Institute organized a smart event called 'Ludium I':

Ludium I was an effort to develop and prove a radical new paradigm for intellectual gatherings. Abandoning entirely the standard speaker-audience structure, the ludium instead embedded participants in a game designed to generate both tangible output and emotional excitement and satisfaction - fun. It intentionally ignored the distinction between work and play, and sought to test the possibility that professionals engaged in a properly designed game would generate both entertainment and productivity at the same time. The Ludium was designed during the summer of 2005 and was held at Indiana University, Bloomington, from September 29 to October 1 of that year.

A selected group of academics and game designers were formed into five teams to play a competitive game of concept generation. The teams were tasked with developing proposals for using online game technology in university research; proposals were judged by a sixth team, with the best proposal earning a grand prize.

The report presents in some detail the five proposals on online games for research, and then appends a large amount of additional creative work and commentary captured from the participants during and after the ludium. Three kinds of readers may find this material useful. First, academics should find the proposals and associated critical discussions to be a valuable introduction to the kinds of university research one might do using online game technology. Second, game designers should find clues about the kinds of online games that may be viable in the academic gaming sector. Third, administrators should see in the structure of the event, and its success at enabling people to have fun while working very hard, a potentially valuable strategy for motivating their workforces.

There is a huge document that summarizes the event (25Mb). Still have to make a more serious pass on this (I just skimmed through the whole document, but from what I've seens there is a lot to grasp here in terms of online game technology used for other purposes...)