Networking Nightmares

Networking Nightmares and how to solve them.

For someone like me who loves to get out and meet people the idea of networking can still be a nightmare.  Don’t get me wrong.  I find the idea of going out and connecting with new people several times per week exhilarating – as most extroverts do –  but despite the enjoyment I derive there is still something in my systems thinking heart that cringes.  The nightmare is twofold.  First that we think that getting together over drinks is going to help us make deep connections when often people split into groups they already know or breeze through as many conversations as possible to ‘do their job’ for the night.  Second the idea that surface level conversation can possibly develop a relationship that can challenge the deep issues in our society is simply incorrect. Continue reading “Networking Nightmares”

Provoking Hope

Triskele - Triple SpiralReading Karen’s recent blog got me to thinking about hope.  While she was talking more about harvesting hope, her post stirred within me the question:

How do we provoke hope in others?

Ok maybe inspire is a better word for it.  I have been learning lately how to tickle instead of poke; to gently move things in the direction I want them to go.  Bring lots of others hope and thereby the motivation to tackle the challenges facing them in their personal transformation and in the greater world is a passion of mine and so I’m inspired to reflect. Continue reading “Provoking Hope”

Confronting Failure

Sistine ChapelI was working on an outdoor project yesterday – probably one of the last before winter – and looking around saw how many different failures that I’d had in getting everything wrapped up prettily.  In the same moment I reminded myself that each of the failures was simply just a project that has yet to be completed or still in process.  What I was judging success by was based on the time it took to finish, which has nothing to do with whether it ever gets done or is even necessary.

I’m sure if you looked at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on day 4 as a complete work you might have though that Michelangelo was not doing his job very well.  But you see, that’s the point.  At any given moment we are only looking at a piece of the process.  While some things so seem to be finished products, or projects we can always re-visit them.  This means that we are really only ever looking at a piece of a process.  Know this as well that the greatest beauties can come from what seems in the moment to be a disaster.

Don’t stop trying to achieve.  Don’t stop dreaming big.  In fact, dream bigger and try for more because you can’t ever fail at following your heart’s calling.

Stakeholder Care

I had the opportunity to lead a roundtable during the Resilient Business Summit a few years ago – here are some of my thoughts.

Finding and holding onto the pulse of your many stakeholders – Community engagement as the conduit.

I arrived on campus during the summer at the elite private school. No one was around. I wasn’t sure if I needed to call the cable company, or how to place a phone call. I didn’t know the area or which restaurants to avoid. I was brand spanking new to this school and community and felt very alone.

It became immediately apparent why so many people early in a new job or locale make the decision to leave. They have no real connection to the community and so the decision to leave is an easy one.

Tip #1 – Welcome Continue reading “Stakeholder Care”

Changing Culture Norms through Storytellling

Cultural norms help to shape who we are. The stories that we hear every day. Those going against those norms are often outcast, but they are brave and being true to themselves in their actions.

What if this was all about gaining equality. Equality in the races, in gender, in identity. We are all people after all. Men had been forced to hide their feminine side and women their masculine. Many behaviors seek to overly espouse the opposite. Business women with short hair in suits. Women smoking. Or driven to over expression through hiding their true nature. Men who become over powering and violent in action. Culturally we seek to numb and hide in our actions. Drinking, drugs, over-consumption. We are obviously sick and getting sicker. While some of this can be attributed to our diets, those have been controlled by the cultural norms and so we must look deeper at the root. Continue reading “Changing Culture Norms through Storytellling”

Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals

The challenges of operating in a changing world

The ‘old school’ as some would say with regards to being in business, has a lot to do with hierarchy. Domination of a sector ensures success and how much money you have enables that to happen even faster. Business owners sell most of their business to investors in order to bring life to their dreams, politicians kowtow to backers losing their morals and their concern for citizens in the process, and people sell their future earnings to companies for the privilege of taking care of their basic needs from day-to-day. As I was watching Les Miserables last night I thought of how people in the future would look to our current situation in disbelief and grief in the same way I viewed Jean Valjean. How could that possibly be ok that someone went to prison for stealing the bread to eat? Can easily turn into today’s predicament → How could someone not have a place to live when there are empty houses? Or → How could the government let that happen? Continue reading “Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals”

Games for Didactic Use

One of the things that is important to me is creating positive change in the world.  While I loved teaching, I felt that there had to be a better way to connect with people.  After watching the failures of schools to produce responsible students and that of the environmental movement increasing changes for the survival of the species it seemed clear that there is a better way.  So I researched and read and looked at what appeared to be successful.  What I’ve come to is that games area fun and engaging way to connect with and communicate a message.  While the message can be communicated through both the theme and the mechanics either should provide a better way for information to be retained as behavior change.

The use of games for education is a growing field, although it has been in practice for decades in experiential education.  Using games in education, in a didactic purpose, is linked with greater understanding and better assimilation of the information by players.  I may not be a scientist, but I can observe that there is movement on the games front as this understanding percolates through society and more play pops up. Continue reading “Games for Didactic Use”

To Gamify or Not to Gamify

To Gamify or Not to Gamify

That is the question.

Gamification is a hot topic nowadays.  In conversation I’m seeing people reaching blindly towards gamification the same way they stumbled towards social media five years ago.  To many, gamification is something that they’ve heard about people doing successfully and so they want it.

Pint the Tail on the DonkeyThe surge in interest in games reminds me of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  A little silly to watch, but everyone genuinely wants to succeed.  The other interesting dynamic is that I’m not sure anyone can see the donkey yet.  While we are working closer and closer to understanding how to do this, it seems to be a field that includes elements connecting game designers, educators, and marketing professionals and thus one which our incongruous education system of silo-ed study has not created an environment conducive to cross disciplinary understanding and action.  Some might disagree on this point, but I’d point out that in order to design effective games you need to understand systems theory, game design, psychology, math, sociology, etc.

But back to the topic at hand.  In the past years candy, and other ‘junk food’ companies offered games to their consumers on their websites.  I expect that they were seeking to get traffic to their websites.  The games that I’ve seen often have little to do with the brand, but there in the background was the logo.  M&M’s does this with a shuffleboard game, for example.  The point is obviously engagement since you don’t need to play a game to open a bag of M&M’s.  Connecting your product to an enjoyable experience is a good idea and one that came naturally and early to that sector. Continue reading “To Gamify or Not to Gamify”

Gamifying Create Better Impact Games

Create Better Impact LogoSo as you may know Create Better Impact Games is my company.  I design games around making the world a better place which I know will one day be worthy of winning awards from Games for Change. Right now, this is a little tiny company with a little tiny budget.  Not that one day it won’t be able to hold its own with the big boys, but for now marketing is not the top priority.

As I got ready to bring Waste Not to market using an Indiegogo Campaign I had to think seriously about how to approach marketing. While I have a lot of people in my contacts I couldn’t be sure who would actually have natural interest and who might need some convincing.

Being a game designer I tried to think of ways to make liking or signing up on social media fun and engaging to the community.  This process is called gamification and everyone and their mother is currently trying to apply it to their web presence.  I am lucky that it is part of my natural reaction to communications.

Waste Not Logo
What are you going to do with it?

Back to the point.  There I was at the start of a campaign trying to raise money to print Waste Not.  My Facebook page for both CBI Games and Waste Not were relatively new with little to now following, I had just begun a Twitter presence for Waste Not, and I had nothing on Google+.  So in response I decided to give away a version of my game for free via social media.  You heard me, for free.

I figured that if people got a chance to play the game, even if slightly different interactions than with having a deck of cards, that they’d be more likely to ‘like’ and engage with the marketing of the brand.  In this case, I was seeking to let the game speak for itself.

Now I’ve been going forward with the understanding that this deck of cards will be able to be used in many ways.  That will always happen when you give someone a flexible tool, is that they will begin to bend it and play with it.  In fact many of the stories that we know from childhood have changed over the centuries.  The basic story is still there to communicate the archetypal hero/ine’s journey but the details change.

Well that’s exactly what I’m seeing happening with Waste Not on Social Media.  While the instructions were to share the status so that others could see what you were liking and playing people tended to comment on the Waste Not status.  While this did not garner the amazing viral experience I was hoping for, I did get the benefit of seeing how people began to play the game.  And let me tell you it was fun!  Yes, my games are fun for me too.  Especially when I get to watch others play.

While I’ve let go of the control over the rules and will continue to allow for this project to flow and grow, I’m glad that I undertook this experiment in the gamification of my own marketing.  I think overall those that played did have fun and many of them played several times.  What I’m seeing now is a small but committed group of people who are totally engaged.  I’d prefer this any day to a large, unengaged group.  My hypothesis is that as long as I follow the same theory of engagement that as the following grows it may be smaller initially but they will be more valuable relationships.

Update on Updates

You like me, you really like me!

Lately I’ve been getting tremendous feedback from people stating how much they enjoy the campaign updates, and how much they look forward to them.  Wow!  Thanks!!

You are excited when new updates and newsletters post.  You are happy for Waste Not’s success.  How lucky am I to be a part of a community, made up of both people that I know and those that I don’t, that is so engaged with the process of creating a better world that they look forward to it?  I’d say that I couldn’t be happier.

So what’s the next step?  Well, there are 8 days remain in the Indiegogo campaign and I’d love to build this community more.  Let me know what you’d like to see in the updates, share a picture of something the you reused or upcycled around your house, or maybe tell me how you are planning on using your deck of cards…  Don’t forget you are welcome to check Waste Not on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WasteNotGame or Twitter https://twitter.com/wastenotgame/

Also important, tonight I will be videoing playing the game for your entertainment so look forward to some fun Saturday morning videos.

Support Waste Not on Indiegogo!