Virtual Get Together: Bingo and Speed Dating

While a passion for data science and a sensitivity for societal problems unites all our CorrelAid Netherland members, every one of them has their own unique experiences and stories to tell. For example, one member helped set a world record in knitting; one was nearly run-over by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma; somebody, believe it or not, hates cake; and another member has sewn around 100 teddy bears.

To get to know each other’s stories a little better, we organized an online meetup that combines Bingo with speed dating (yes, that’s right). We asked participants to tell us something unique about themselves beforehand, and then created Bingo cards for each of them. In case you’re new to Bingo, the goal is to strike out four elements, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. One example Bingo card is shown below.

Bingo card

We met online in a chic restaurant at, where Trevina — our Community manager — had set up fancy tables. Guests were instructed to take a seat, and then the game began. Within seven minutes, they had to find out whether any experience or personal fact on their Bingo card matched with the person across their table; without, of course, directly asking! After seven minutes, the session ended and we rotated counter-clockwise. The top figure in this post shows the setup.

The speed dating component gave the whole event a nice dynamic, and time just flew by. After ten of these seven minute rounds, Trevina created a maze and we puzzled through it to find ourselves in the lounge on the right.

Did anybody manage to get a Bingo? Kamal and Filip initially believed they did, but then it turned out that they misattributed a personal fact or experience to the wrong person. Keenly observing the situation and listening carefully, Maria discovered the identity of the person with three fathers, and half-jokingly announced “Bingo!”.

She did not, however, accept victory, saying that it would be unfair to do so when the official speed dating part was already over. Instead, she said “Победила дружба”, which is Russian for “friendship wins”, and so we got to save our secret prize for the next event.

This was an internal event and we had 17 people signing up, with about 14 ultimately joining. In addition to members situated in the Netherlands, we had people tuning in from Italy, Croatia, and Germany.

We chatted for another half hour or so after the main event, and everybody expressed how much fun they had. I was myself quite surprised by how enjoyable the Bingo + speed dating combination turned out to be, and I highly recommend it, in case you’re looking for an engaging format for your own event.

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