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Who are the new serious gamers?

smartangle newsletter · Feb 2020

Who are the new serious gamers? Just read through and you will discover a brand new class of innovators.

Quite some years ago I had the chance to join a workshop where I experienced the gamification approach. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! I still remember how much I was intrigued, excited and motivated in attacking a very serious problem as building a better business model for one of our products categories, by using a simple game.

In my previous experience, I have been using a lot the so called role game, to get participants into their assigned roles, play it and really learn what I was trying to transfer to them. Cool stuff, but gamification brought me to the next level.

Since then, any occasion was good to me to learn more about gamification, and how to bring such elements in workshops design (and development, of course). I used many different elements of gamification, and introduced games in each and every workshop I did.

Gamified workshops were very appreciated by participants, because they let them really feel the challenge, empathise with each other, learn more about the business, deep dive into root causes of problems, try to get to a tangible solution…and all of this by having a lot of fun.

Across the years I noticed that every time participants are playing games, they are much more involved, more motivated in providing their contributions, so keen to winning a contest, or aiming at eating their prize (I use to bring some chocolate or candies), and are so amazed when after the game they realise they worked out some solutions to a problem that had no solution since months.

Who are the new gamers, then?

I am! On my opinion, and by experience, the new gamers are those professionals that are open to approach a serious problem by playing, by using a “lighter” approach to the way they generate ideas, concepts, or new business scenarios, and by following a much more focused and solution oriented approach to build their solutions.

After quite some years of practicing, I would say that a serious gamer shall be acting from inside and outside workshops, so such a person shall definitely be:

empathic: in order to understand all participants’ (and colleagues’) points of view, to feel the pain of the business, to have a clearer picture of where the problem could come from and to dig deeper and deeper in it, trying to spot even the most hidden causes;

unconventional: meaning she shall not be a typical tie-man, but should be able to go beyond the conventional limits, thing different, do thing differently and guide other colleagues across new thinking patterns;

focused: because it is very easy, especially in workshops, to fall in the trap of business environment’s dynamics, therefore, a clear focus, a goal and a strict timeline could be the way forward to avoid the sparking of such frictions;

engaging: colleagues need to be engaged, “enter the flow”, and relax, in order to provide the best, unconditioned and open contribution to the challenge they are facing;

supportive: but with a certain “let them play” approach, because, especially in workshops, participants shall feel part of the game, and abandon the way they look at themselves (for instance, those people that say “I’m not creative enough”);

funny: of course a little dose of humor is essential and should be the ingredient to get out of some situations, or avoid some traps, or even turn a tough and serious discussion into a lighter one.

Well, I have framed a bit the sort of profile of a serious gamer, trying to imagine how such person could behave in workshops and in daily business life. I hope, as well, that this profile could be of interest for whom is willing to learn more about this new wonderful “skill”, or even for any company that might be interested in testing some of these approaches in the future.

To wrap up, few days ago I have read a nice post on LinkedIn, where the author was saying who is a facilitator, according to him. Well, I couldn’t agree more, but for me there is a full new bunch of people, the serious gamers, that are using more and more games, serious play (we will get back on this) and any similar approach to let people have fun while discussing about very serious business challenges.

Come and be part of the community!