On March 11, 2012, I published a blog entitled “Innovation Games: Budget Games for the San Jose Community.” Last week I went to East Lansing, Michigan and gave a presentation at the Meaningful Play Conference at Michigan State University focusing on this very same topic – the very important role games can play in business and communities.
The purpose of the Meaningful Play Conference was to connect “play” with real outcomes. I discussed the success of the Budget Games in San Jose created by the Innovation Games® Company last January, 2012 during which San Jose city officials brought community leaders together to help Build a Better Budget. They used the gamesas a basis for determining budget priorities for the City of San Jose.
At the Meaningful Play presentation, I discussed the use of play and games and the way they enable participants to be creative. By engaging multiple forms of intelligence (verbal, visual, and strategic), they cause greater volumes of information to be shared. Moreover, they encourage collaboration while building consensus. Games also involve high levels of emotion which bring about denser focus. Additionally, they introduce randomness which allows for an abundance of creativity.
In San Jose, Budget Games was used to educate citizens, gain more input from them, and establish actionable quantitative and qualitative feedback for city officials. In order to accomplish these goals, it was critical to obtain a high level of diversity of city residents and leaders. Because city officials are concerned with citizen interaction, the end result was a focus on community input.
In addition, the games were the foundation for building Great Neighborhoods by the Every Voice Engaged Foundation. This organization looks at individual neighborhoods with unfunded mandates and provides a vehicle that builds on collaboration to shape ideas for potential projects that can be self-funded.
To understand the full story, please check out the Meaningful Games power point presentation that I have posted on the Simon Associates website and on slide share. Or, check out our Facebook page: facebook.com/simonassociatesmanagementconsultants.