What can an engaged forecasting game do for my company?

This is a question I’ve heard a lot over the past couple of years.  Based on aggregated lessons from the corporate games of which I’ve been a part, below are 4 key insights from engaging with games in a corporate context:

1.  Dipping a toe in gaming = liberating!

Participants reported they appreciated dipping their toe in an online gaming platform.  Being given permission to engage with online scenarios, simulations, and ideation was liberating for some, especially if they were “closet gamers” in their current role and position in the organization.  At IFTF, we forecast that gaming will be a learning methodology and medium for the future, so future leaders need to find ways to grow in this capacity.

2.  Anonymity changes the dynamic

Players appreciated the anonymity that came with an online game–their player name could be “FutureCR8R” or “4sight” rather than “R_Hatch” or “ResearchManager.”  They felt freed to think outside of the hierarchical boundaries of their typical roles.  This was especially important in global companies who were playing the game across cultures.

There was a feeling of fewer limitations and more freedom; regardless of how shy or outgoing a particular person was, or what their role in the organization may be.  Some of the best insights come when a design person puts on an R&D lens, or when a materials expert thinks in terms of consumer insight or external relations.
3.  Lightweight interface lowers barriers

The lightweight interface of the Foresight Engine was essential.  For people who are busy and have lots of demands on their attention bandwidth, participants responded well to having a lightweight demand on their time.  Most of the games were 24 hours in duration, and we asked people to participate in two, 15-20 minute bursts…though many plays for hours on end.

4.  “I am not alone.”

Many participants said they were refreshed and found renewed energy when they played, because it helped them to realize that they are not alone…they are not the only one thinking about a particular topic, picking up on new signals in their local area that hint at a potential disruption, or innovation in the space.  For some, it encouraged their commitment to be change agents because they knew it wasn’t just their individual outlier idea, but rather that others were thinking divergently as well.

Below is a more in-depth description of the Foresight Engine, to give a sense of context:

IFTF’s Foresight Engine drives engaged forecasting. It creates a fast flow of micro-forecasts from hundreds or thousands of participants in just a day or two. It’s all about focused insights and innovation—the discovery of social wisdom and outlier ideas.

At the start of an engagement, forecasters from around the world get a quick video briefing on a future scenario.  Then they play cards: Twitter-length forecasts (140 characters or less) that represent their best thinking. They can start a chain of cards or they can build on cards that others play. It’s just what you’d expect from a Foresight Engine: rapid conversion of potential energy into ideas that can drive decisions.

Participants can track their favorite forecasters, watch the evolution of their ideas as others build on them, and monitor their standing in the leaderboard. They can create tags and follow forecasts that use those tags. In short, they can create their own personalized view on a fast-paced forecasting event.

Fun unlocks creativity – and that’s why game mechanics are also an important part of the Foresight Engine experience. Participants earn forecasting points for ideas that inspire conversation, and bonuses for moving the conversation in unexpected directions. Meanwhile, they unlock personal achievement badges, as they level up their own skills in future forecasting.

How will YOU use the Foresight Engine? You can use it to jump-start strategy, to find the brightest thought-leaders in your organization, to tap a worldwide audience and build a new global perspective. You can use IFTF’s Foresight Engine inside your organization for a strictly private affair or as a public platform for a wide-reaching, even global event. Whichever way you choose to use it, it can deliver all the benefits of engaged forecasting, bringing many voices to bear on your future.


Note, also posted on the IFTF blog, FutureNow.