As part of a new path of marketing NASAGA to gamers in the workplace, I'm doing a workshop next week at the Board Game Geek annual event helping gamers think about how they can turn their passion about games into something in the workplace.
So, I'm looking for Your Story!
I'd like to find the stories from people who started from a love of games, and found a way to fit them into their work. My goal is to present a variety of scenarios to help folks think about how they might make a connection in their workplace to the use of games, simulations, or experiential learning.
Does this apply to you? If so, please tell me the steps you took in your organization to introduce games in some way, and any advice you'd like me to pass along to new people.
We're going to be doing quite a bit about this at the next conference with the hope of attracting more people who have a passion for games and an interest of tapping that passion at work, but need help getting started.
I'd appreciate responses by Nov. 13.
I was definitely a board game enthusiast first before I started applying my passion for games to the workplace.
I had already been bitten by the game enthusiast bug in high school (Illuminati, Nuclear War, Cosmic Wimpout, etc), kept the game passion in college (Magic the Gathering, Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, etc.), and continued to get even more passionate for my game playing until today.
After growing up in a small town, I decided that my first corporate career after college would be as a consultant for 2-3 years to see the world and country (my 2-3 ended up being 15 years and counting). It worked and I was fortunate to get some early projects that brought me to London for 6 months, Edinburgh, Chester, Boston, San Fran, Chicago, Princeton, Miami, etc and was enjoying my job as an IT corporate training developer. But although I was working in training during the day and playing games at night, I didn't put the two together in any meaningful way.
My tipping point involved a flyer I saw from this organization I hadn't heard of called NASAGA that was coming to my city - Atlanta. An organization of professionals dedicated to promoting learning through games? How come I never thought of that? That simple flyer changed my life. Even though the conference was 6 months in the future, I immediately started to see connections in my brain about how to better apply my games to the classroom. When I was able to attend my first NASAGA conference, I immediately felt welcomed and session after session showed me that I had already built up this huge gaming skillset about different game mechanisms, game facilitation, and rule explanation skills that I think are just 2nd nature until I see so many other people do it poorly. I learned that it wasn't so hard to apply what I knew by either adding my content into these other game frames, or using small jolts/activities to bring up points in my training. I needed to build up a debrief skill (something that didn't naturally come out from playing hobby games) and then I felt comfortable either directly applying games into my sessions beyond an icebreaker, but into the core of the learning.
I also have been trying be a game developer. While maybe I couldn't make a game that competed with Race for the Galaxy or Ticket to Ride, I had enough skills to make effective games that had worked in meetings and training sessions. Add to that some of the casual frame games made available from Thiagi and the new game building software available, and I don't need to be an advanced Flash developer to create online games for learning.
Some of the things that I did in my organization:
1. Just let it be known that I wanted to be the games for learning person
2. Start internally blogging about games for learning (even if the first few blogs were just posts to what I was reading about from others).
3. Volunteer to lead games, first, in easily accepted places (icebreakers, holiday parties, etc.)
4. Bring games/activities into things you control (classroom, meetings, presentations, etc.)
5. After doing this for a year myself without seeing much return, eventually people started paying attention and now people actively seek me out when they have proposals involving games or if they want to add "fun" to their sessions. (I quickly steer "fun" to a productive activity that relates to the subject).
Thanks for doing this session, Scott! I'm sure it will be a success.