Archive for August, 2010

by Rich Mesch

Other posts in this series: 1 2

Do you want your learners to collaborate? To demonstrate leadership skills? To drive towards a goal? To evaluate and analyze situations before committing to a decision? To value the perspectives of others?

Then you definitely want them playing games.

Most of us have probably played Monopoly. You know, the strategic decision-making, asset-leveraging, and negotiation skills tool?

What’s that you say? Monopoly is a kid’s game where the biggest decision you make is whether you want to be the thimble or the dog? And it’s just a game, because you roll dice, and the dice determine what happens?

Well, let’s think about that. Yes, Monopoly has an element of luck (so does real life!). But what drives a winning strategy in Monopoly?

  • Strategic decisions on what assets to purchase
  • How to leverage those assets by improving them and driving larger ROI
  • Building alliances that enhance your ability to compete
  • Negotiating with others until you’ve maximized your revenue stream


In fact, the winner of a Monopoly game is usually the player who has the greatest strategic vision (which properties to acquire and improve) and the best negotiating skills (at some point, you’re going to need to sweet-talk other players into selling or trading you their properties).

Does your audience need any of those skills?

But let’s not stick with old school board games. Today’s Role-Play Games (RPGs) and Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are not the single-user joystick games of years past. They require collaboration, team building, smart use of resources, strategy, and follow-through. And the most successful RPG players also tend to be great leaders and team-builders.

So am I recommending that we commit large swaths of business time to playing Monopoly and World of Warcraft? Not really (although that would be fun!), but I am recommending that we identify and utilize the elements that make these games so effective: (more…)


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 by Rich Mesch

Other posts in this series: 1 2

I first started talking to businesses about using games to improve performance way back in 1985. Back then, I was working mostly with mid-level and senior mangers, so talking about games required hushed tones and euphemisms. After all, busy important managers couldn’t spend time playing games. They had big, big decisions to make. And so what if the game was designed to help them be even more effective in making those big, big decisions? This was serious business. They weren’t games; they were “experiences,” or “competitions,” or “challenges.” Or maybe you just didn’t talk about it at all.

What a difference a couple of decades make. We no longer have to apologize for using games for performance, and there are a few organizations that actually champion them. But we’re not out of the woods yet. With many organizations, the business case for games as a performance improvement method remains to be made. And even in organizations that support games, there is still the question of how to design and implement effectively.

In this series, we’ll look at several aspects of gaming for performance, including:

  • The reasons that games are an effective performance improvement methodology for almost all audiences—even senior executives. Especially senior executives.
  • Some common myths about gaming; your audience may be more receptive to games than you think; and getting a great game experience doesn’t have to be hard.
  • Aspects of effective learning games; there’s a good reason why some people are still talking about the experience months and even years afterwards.
  • Types of games; computer-based games are great, but technology isn’t the solution to every challenge. Think you’re too grown up for tokens, cards, and dice? Think again.

 Up first: in the next post in the series, we’ll look at 5 reasons games are an effective performance improvement method. See you then!

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