I presented my session on Game Dynamics this morning: really an exploration of the underlying ways that games work and how it relates to some of the wider work around learning in the Social Age. The framework i’m using to present this distinguishes ‘game mechanics’, which are the actual nuts and bolts of the game (moving things, collecting things, scoring, shooting, winning), from ‘game dynamics’, which are underlying aspects of interactions (such as ‘sense of loss’, ‘micro failure’, ‘risk’, ‘collaboration’, ‘nurturing’, and so on).
One aspect that i focussed on today was the notion of who owns the authority behind reward: is it community generated, or formally bestowed. The analogy i used was this: which would you value more, an email from the organisation thanking you for your work on a project, or a hand drawn card from your nephew, thanking you for a birthday present? Clearly the latter would have more authentic value, even though transactionally they are the same encounter. I was using this as a conversation about intrinsic, inherent value: often the context is central to the value perceived. The point being that even if we design learning with the rituals we observe elsewhere, we won’t necessarily carry the intrinsic value with them.
Interestingly, much of the interest from the group was around notions of trust and community, how we generate engagement. For me, this is always about understanding that it’s about more than just the space or the technology. We have to address the sociological context too: how people engage, why they engage, how trust is built, how shared value is found.
The high points of the conference this year were really around analytics and data driven decisions: it’s good to feel that many organisations are looking at how to assess more social approaches, although i remain concerned that the gap between measurement and control is always small. Measuring things is just a function of measurement: it’s not validation that the organisational story is right.