Two Gaming Ladders

A while back I started thinking about how I could better use gaming concepts to frame life’s strategic challenges.

One gaming concept has stuck with me in this intellectual adventure – the idea of “maxing out”. Gaming is valuable because it pushes us up to a higher level of performance. We “max out” our potential. In other words, gaming is not just a more engaging way to get things done, it is a more effective way to organize our learning.

But what are we maxing out? At the most basic level, there are two parallel tracks that we can and should work on. The first track is individual. As Csikszentmihalyi pointed out, our quest for meaning starts with the self. The second track is social. None of us can solve any of life’s challenges alone.

The two tracks have overlapping characteristics. At the same time, they are not identical. As in mastering a team sport, the individual skill sets mesh with the social or team skill sets.

On the individual level, I have thought through this model. As a ladder, we move  through the following itterative questions

  • what gives me meaning? This is a question of building value and it is the crux of the creative challenge. Can I create?
  • What can I do with what I create? This raises questions of how to use what I create. Use is application. This at the crux of the strategic challenge. Can I add value?
  • Can I communicate what I am doing? This requires me to move from concept and activity to language. It forces me to a higher level of abstraction and connection through that abstraction. Can I  persuade others that I am adding value?
  • Can I manage relationships? The issues is whether the relationships add value to what I do and raise what I do to a higher level. Can I build on the value that I create?
  • Can I scale what I build? Scaling creates culture. Culture is at the core of our identity.

On the social level we I have thought through this modelAgain, we move though iterative questions

  • Do we see the same things? We do not until we reach agreement on priorities
  • Do we connect around the challenges presented? Networks add value only if the connections are meaningful
  • Do we test for the best solutions?  We cannot know the best possible solutions to life’s challenges. Testing is the strategic learning tool
  • Do we share what we are learning? This enables dynamic story telling.
  • Do we celebrate our successes together? The celebration unites us.

It could be that the above is too complex.That the questions I have posed do not easily enough convert into action. But at this stage of my thinking, I cannot see how to reduce them further. Perhaps experience will show me.