The seventh of our 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa: when debriefed to allow space for dialogue, games can be powerful learning tools. In particular, games that emphasize collaboration, building a team, dealing with transition, and negotiation all have significant leadership development opportunities. Using games among younger populations helps reinforce concepts that may be new to them.
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Leveraging the Tremendous Potential of Games for Leadership Development
Pac-Man, Frogger, Space Invaders—games from the 80’s are trending right now. We wish we could tell you that Space Invaders could help people develop more emotional intelligence. While we can’t do that, we also shouldn’t discount games entirely.
Gamification is the process of using game design on non-game applications to make it more fun and engaging. But what does that have to do with leadership?
Games that emphasize collaboration, building a team, dealing with transition, and negotiation all have significant leadership development opportunities. When debriefed to allow space for dialogue and meaning-making, games can be powerful learning tools. Using games among younger populations helps reinforce learning among a demographic that is completely new to leadership development.
To tap into these new solutions, we’ve partnered with Tesla, a U.S.-based game company, to contextualize their Co-Opoly board game. The game helps players build cooperatives and focuses on collaboration, a key skill needed for youth here in Africa and across the world. Additionally, our work with Desert Rose, a local design-thinking consulting group, has led to the co-creation of games to help people build empathy and understanding of poverty.
It’s important to understand that games are not the silver bullet solution. What we’re really after is a layering of information to allow the user to experience the same content or learning objective in a new, hopefully engaging way.
So, bring on the aliens!
Questions for Further Reflection:
- What games have contributed to your development and growth as a leader?
- What kind of games could encourage leadership development and collaboration?
Tell us your big ideas in the comments.
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This series, 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa, was brought to you by CCL’s Ethiopia office and Leadership Beyond Boundaries, an initiative by the Center for Creative Leadership to democratize leadership development and unlock the power of human potential around the globe.
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