READ all the main Bioteams Essays
I had a fascinating conversation with Rini Das, CEO of Pakra Games, where we discussed my work on business games and how it related to the theories and practices of bioteams which Rini subsequently published here.
Over the last 6 months I have been designing, testing and piloting an exciting new Change Management Game for leaders and teams which lets them experience what it is like to lead a complete 9-month change management project over the course of a single day. The development process forced me to think through what I really believe to be the key principles of change management in a sufficiently clear and concrete way to be able to design an online/offline game round them. Here is what I ended up with:
I have been reading about Behavioural Economics (and Behavioural Finance) through the excellent 8-minute summaries from iminds.com. BE explains why we are systemically and predictably irrational in our economic decisions and introduces 2 terms "Bounded Rationality" and "Bounded Willpower" as limits to rationality within which we all operate.
I am working through an intriguing book How the way we talk can change the way we work written by two psychologists of adult learning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The authors contend that we are naturally immune to any form of change (with our systems quickly rejecting casual changes) and to make change in ourselves and others we must learn 7 new languages (ways) to think and talk about change.
Fabio Padilla from Brazil has written a very interesting review of Bioteams for his MBA thesis at the Universidade Católica de Brasilia - Universa. Fabio has very kindly allowed me to republish a summary of his conclusions which he has translated from the original Portuguese.
In the recent UK floods we heard a lot about defences failing and phrases being bandied about by engineers and managers such as "a once in a hundred years" event and "could never have been envisaged." However when I hear these types of explanations it always makes me think instead of the crucial differences between a promise, a responsibility and a guarantee.
Strategy and Business Magazine has just published an excellent in-depth article "The Dueling Myths of Business" based on the work of scenario planning expert Betty Sue Flowers who worked with Royal Dutch Shell PLC and the world of big government where she helped draft many influential scenario planning reports.
In "Surviving Survival" Laurence Gonzales looks deeply into the mental processes that enable us to cope with the trauma that often sets in during and after a challenge to our survival. In the final chapter of the book, The Rules of Life, Gonzales outlines 12 key principles of resilience and survival:
ISEE Systems, a leading developer of business simulation tools, have published reviews of two of the new Bioteams online/offline collaboration games developed using the ithink platform. These team games enable companies to share their own best practice (learn from others) in a way that really sticks and to put staff into difficult but realistic decision-making situations where if they make a mistake it does not cost the business!
There are two neat tools you can use to quickly turn excel spreadsheets into online simulations, what-if models and dashboards. They are Simulate from Forio and Crystal Presentation Design (formerly known as xcelsius) from SAP. Here's the lowdown.
Diane Koutu, writing for Harvard Business Review, suggests 3 very useful distinctions around being resilient. I like them because they addresses some of the weaknesses of otherwise excellent schools of thought such as Martin Seligman's Learned Optimism - namely that it encourages people just to soldier on and put a brave face on things and not ask for help which can be seen as failure.
Bioteams readers might be interested to know that I have just launched Cohort - an Online Change Management Game which challenges players to explore different strategies to gain the support of a group of senior executives for a major change initiative. The game is designed to be used in leadership development workshops with up to 20 participants playing competitively in teams.
John Seddon, in his ground breaking book Systems Thinking in the Public Sector, provides a harrowing view of the "value destroying and non-customer centric system" the UK Public Sector has become locked into in the last 10 years.
Carlton Reeve has written an excellent series of five articles in Play with Learning which compares and contrasts the 5 main theories of learning (Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivist, Experientialism and Social Learning) which underpin personal learning. Carlton also identifies different computer games founded on each theory. I have produced a short synopsis here with links to the 5 original articles which are well worth studying.
When we are dealing with change we need to be able to make quick but robust assessments of the power/influence of the different players. My colleague, Andrew Constable, has developed a concise but comprehensive approach to assessing power which he calls the 8P's of Power.
Gamification, the use of game play mechanics for non-game applications, is a very topical area with many enterprises exploring how they might use it to generate new levels of engagement with their staff or customers (current and prospective). In this article I review some popular gamification approaches/techniques and provide a reading list for further study. I cover 4 key aspects of Gamification: Objectives, Frameworks, Building Blocks and Implementation Risks/Mitigations.