You probably remember building castles in the sand or houses with blocks in your childhood bedroom, or have watched your children play house or shop. This childish sense of fantasy is something that grown-ups still have and can use to their advantage in business.
As we develop and grow up, the analytical half of our brain takes over the functions for our daily lives. In some jobs more than others. But I see again and again in gamification workshops that the play instinct is still there. For some participants, activating it just takes a little more time, but not because they don’t want to, but because playing in a professional context is initially blocked by the analytical half of the brain until the creative-emotional side finally shines through.
But how can this knowledge be used in our everyday professional lives? You may know business simulation games from workshops or university. “Business Administration for Non-Business People” is one I can remember. It was one of the first simulations I participated in to gain an overview of commercial contexts.
The gamification approach uses haptics as a special means of gaining a comprehensive understanding of a topic. If we work with our hands, we think differently as the creative and analytical hemispheres of the brain work together. Let’s take the example of building a bridge in a team-building workshop. The challenge is for two groups to make one half of a bridge each, which should fit together in the middle.
The approach of thinking with your hands is also followed in LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) workshops.—a method that is used for team-building workshops, for strategy finding and also for space missions. Yep, that’s right. NASA® also works with LSP, as do many other companies around the world, to develop goals for the organisation.
The IoT Service Kit board game also takes a purely haptic approach. With it, new business models can be developed or processes optimised on using action cards and pens. This is used in industrial production, among other things. For example, bringing together information technology and machine technology (operation technology - OT) is making heads spin in many companies. Should we introduce IoT? No problem. But how? Where are sensors needed? How can the data obtained be used in IT for predictive maintenance? The IoT Service Kit answers these questions in a playful way with guidance. And even in interdisciplinary teams. Another benefit is that the participants do not need any prior knowledge of the technology—solutions are created playfully.
As a final example for haptics, I would like to introduce you to card games. If you come from or have been involved in agile development, Planning Poker will mean something to you. It estimates effort using playing cards. In the first round, players choose an estimation card that calculates the cost of a task. If the estimations are far apart, the participants discuss until a consensus is reached. The Bechtle Modern Workplace planning game is also a card game that we have developed to learn about the many possibilities in the world of Microsoft 365. How do teams optimally collaborate with OneDrive and Co? They can, of course, read books or listen to lectures ... but they can also simply educate themselves through play. I presented the business simulation game in detail in another blog post.
Now I have talked a lot about haptic solutions. Of course, there are also digital solutions for learning through play. Simulations, for example, some with highly professional graphics, can be found quickly via search engines. I would like to introduce you to what I consider a good alternative—an intelligent chatbot with which employees can educate themselves in entertaining conversations. I of course mean Conversational AI—a collective term for communication between users and computers via automated dialogue systems. There is more behind it than a chatbot as we know it from the past. This also applies to voice assistants that use Conversational AI. It has something of the series Knight Rider (for the older ones among us) when we tell our wrist watches to inform us to leave for the dentist at 6pm.
If you have any further questions on the topic of gamification or are interested in a modern workplace simulation game, please do not hesitate to contact me. Whether haptic or digital with Conversational AI—together with you we will find your individual solution.
Until then—enjoy your next game!