A Game Promoting Full-Group Participation


 image: Paul and Vic passing a virtual ball, a light, using IR transmitters and receivers

A handful of us at IG are developing a game for Ithaca Festival.  The project started with the question “What makes us feel like we matter?” One of the answers we agreed on was “listening and being heard.” So we are developing a game we think promotes that value. In the game four people represent a group working on a common goal, and the game presumes that when all members of the team are heard they create a better outcome than if one or two dominate the discussion.

The game employs a couple of simple rules and uses some electronic tools to facilitate them. Each group member holds in his hand a device that lights up when he “has the floor” and goes off when he passes it to the next participant, whose device lights up and she then “has the floor.” So the task of the group is to keep the light moving. In addition, the device’s infrared transmitters and sensors are somewhat finicky, which requires the members to focus and talk to one another to transfer the light successfully. If the light is held by one person for longer than ten seconds, it goes off and no points are scored (that stricture is under review).

A team can score points in one of two ways:

  1. by passing the light eight times without it going out, one point (rewarding competence);
  2. by passing the light equally among all of the team members, two points (rewarding diverse participation).

In the process of developing this game, we have observed ourselves becoming more conscious of the participation dynamics of our own team.

We’d love to hear your stories too. What are some obstacles you’ve experienced related to being heard or listening within a team? What are some of methods you use that you’ve found to be successful?


related reading: http://edge.org/conversation/collective-intelligence

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