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The Right Game For Your Need, presentation from the Serious Play 2014 conference


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My presentation from the Serious Play 2014 conference in Los Angeles, CA. Many thanks to the Serious Game Association for having me present. Key points include the richness of serious game success stories, the critical choice of building the right game, the difference between game development and game design, the dividing line between outcome-oriented and process-oriented games, and a Lean approach to serious games.

You can also get a recorded version of the presentation at this link:

Published in: Business
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The Right Game For Your Need, presentation from the Serious Play 2014 conference

  1. 1. © 2014 Cutter Consortium The Right Game For Your Need Tom Grant, Ph.D. Cutter Consortium GameChange LLC July 23, 2014
  2. 2. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 2 We have stacks and stacks of serious games success stories. Now we need to start building on that success. We need guidelines for developing the right game.
  3. 3. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 3 GameChange LLC See serious games from a broad perspective Serious Games At Work
  4. 4. © 2014 Cutter Consortium My goal: 4 Make serious games a raging success
  5. 5. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Success stories make it easy to explain games 5 How does it work? What benefits does it provide? How likely is it to work for me?
  6. 6. © 2014 Cutter Consortium We have a wide gamut of great success stories 6
  7. 7. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Success ranges across several dimensions 7
  8. 8. © 2014 Cutter Consortium But a wealth of choices can lead to confusion 8 Are you talking about gamification? I don’t need badges and high scores to do my job. Do you mean something like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing? We did wargame exercises in the military. Is it something like that? Our HR department made us do a stupid role-playing exercise. Please tell me that’s not what you’re talking about.
  9. 9. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 9 Marketing game developed to mark Cisco’s 25th birthday as a networking vendor CISCO MYPLANNET Downloadable “city- builder” game More downloads than any marketing collateral Ongoing engagement with player community
  10. 10. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 10
  11. 11. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Game types fit some use cases, not others $100 $200 $300 $100 $200 $300 $100 $200 $300
  12. 12. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Not everyone invests in the same things 12 Art? Usage data? Mods?
  13. 13. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 13 Not every playful exercise, in a serious setting, has been a raging success.
  14. 14. © 2014 Cutter Consortium How do we accelerate this conversation? 14 Here’s the challenge we face. Here’s the serious game we need. Let’s make this a regular part of how we work.
  15. 15. © 2014 Cutter Consortium We need some helpful guidelines 15
  16. 16. © 2014 Cutter Consortium We always have to start with the most fundamental question… 16
  17. 17. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 17 What happens before the game? What kind of game should we play? What happens after the game? The usual first question The question that defines success The question that enables success PREPARE PLAY DE-BRIEF
  18. 18. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 18 Show as many customers as possible what distinguishes Cisco Build a downloadable video game Generate demand, collect data on usage, expand as needed
  19. 19. © 2014 Cutter Consortium We can’t cover everything in a single talk 19 In this single presentation, we can’t answer all the questions raised.
  20. 20. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 20 The importance of game development
  21. 21. © 2014 Cutter Consortium The de-brief is critical for serious games 21
  22. 22. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Examples of what the de-brief might include 22 Student “Aha!” moments Player evaluation of the game experience Better project prioritization Greater conversation across political divides Breakthrough moments in family therapy
  23. 23. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 23 What happens before the game? What kind of game should we play? What happens after the game? Iteration Investment Medium Experience Outcomes Artifacts PREPARE PLAY DEBRIEF
  24. 24. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Every designer needs a good developer 24 Peter Adkinson & Richard Garfield Mark Herman & Richard Berg
  25. 25. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 25
  26. 26. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 26 PREPARE PLAY DEBRIEF DESIGN DEVELOPMENT Suggest other approaches Craft initial design Create game experience Ensure proper investment Iterate on design Assess game experience Ensure adoption of game or its outcomes Means Ends Adjust investment, de-brief activities Capture lessons learned for future designs
  27. 27. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 27 TWO VERY DIFFERENT SPECIES OF GAMES
  28. 28. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 28 Design for CAUSE Design for EFFECT
  29. 29. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 29 As an organization, we are not in alignment Hard to understand what customers really want Games disrupt normal rules of interaction, leading to better outcome, often unforeseen. Deadlocked on making hard budget choices Can’t guess how adversaries will respond to military actions
  30. 30. © 2014 Cutter Consortium OUTCOME OUTCOME OUTCOME Process-oriented games 30 Discovery tools Idea generation Customer insights Simulations Strategy testing Historical research Decision-making aids Wide Delphi approach Alignment
  31. 31. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 31 Games lead players more effectively to particular (and often measurable) outcomes We want a higher rate of success in training We want to catch translation bugs in half the normal time We want people to pressure elected officials about a humanitarian crisis We want to double the number of marketing leads
  32. 32. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Outcome-oriented games 32 Educational games Advocacy games Marketing games Gamification Demonstrated proficiency Time spent on studies Brand awareness Marketing leads Political outlook Political pressure Greater productivity Marketing leads
  33. 33. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 33 PREPARE PLAY DE-BRIEF Did people reach the game outcomes we wanted? If not, how do we need to change the game? Did we disrupt the rules enough to get better outcomes? Are people respecting the results?
  34. 34. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 34 Afghanistan peace conference role-playing Test negotiation approaches Anticipate policy positions Generate new strategies Afghanistan peace conference role-playing Test students’ understanding of Middle East politics Sharpen negotiation skills SAME MECHANICS SAME TOPIC DIFFERENT DEVELOPMENT PATH Thanks to Rex Brynen, McGill University
  35. 35. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 35 THE NEED FOR A LEAN APPROACH TO INVESTMENT
  36. 36. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 36
  37. 37. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Embrace Lean game development  Too little investment starves the game of oxygen.  Too much investment buries the game in waste. 37  We need feedback loops throughout the history of the game.  Depending on the purpose of the game, we’ll collect different feedback.
  38. 38. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 38 Should we do a game? What type of game do we need? Do we need to change our investments? Are we creating the right experience? Is the experience producing the desired results? What investments do we need? Are people embracing the results? DESIGNDEVELOPMENT Feedback: early and often
  39. 39. © 2014 Cutter Consortium 39 Free copy of the Cutter IT Journal: “Serious Games As Tools For Innovation”
  40. 40. © 2014 Cutter Consortium Thank You! Tom Grant @TomGrantPhD 40 I’ve Been Diced! podcast