Authored by Andrew Clark
This is an event that I have wanted to run for a long time. Being a huge fan of games I play them all the time with my kids, extended family and friends . My repertoire of games is constantly growing with recommendations from friends around the world.
I’ve always thought that with the workplace often being so cold and people working such long hours in Hong Kong (HK), we can use a game night to really help people break down the barriers and connect with each other at a deeper level. I believe serious games provide a safe and fun way of doing just that.
I invited few of my friends and trainers to join forces to host a game night in HK. We managed to use a co-working space meeting room as a venue to hold a fun and engaging Stretch event in Hong Kong around the topic of “Games That Work @Work”.
The event was run for 2 hours and we invited a subset of my clients (mostly in Human Resources) as participants. The goal was to allow everyone to co-create either new games or modify the games I introduced to make them effective in their particular work place.
It was heavy rain outside yet we had 16 people from a selection of different companies showed up to co-create and share ideas around the theme.
Game 1: The first game was: ‘Find Someone Who’ — where you have a blank sheet to fill in, writing down different people names next to a selection of categories. Examples are
“Find someone who is planning a holiday this year”
“Find someone who studied the same subject as you at University”
Its a great ice-breaker / mingler where people need to have lots of quick conversations with many others in the group and there is a prize for whoever completes the sheet first. I usually use 8 questions to be right in terms of the length of time to play the game and use it a lot in my corporate training sessions.
At the end of the game 1, people were excited and they knew each other more than when they started. All the participants were eager to modify the existing questions and make them more relevant and engaging at their work place.
“Find someone who has been working for company X for more than 5 years.”
“Find someone who can explain a certain new product feature.”
Game 2: The second game is a presentation skills challenge called “The World’s Leading Expert” where everyone has to write down a difficult topic on a piece of paper. Here are two good funny examples
“How to catch a kangaroo?”
“How to find a girl/boyfriend in the supermarket?”
Once you write the topic, fold the paper and put it into a bowl. Each person takes turns to pick a topic from the bowl and present 3 key points on the topic. You got just 2 minutes to present. There is no preparation time allowed as this is an opportunity to witness the acting / delivery ability of the presenter — its not about content, its about the style. The presentations end up being very funny and opens up the participants for more complex games. At the end of the presentation, each presenter gets a moment to self critique and then the audience provides rapid feedback.
To make it more challenging, you can also record the individual presentations using a smart-phone. The recordings then can be used for reflective evaluation at the end.
People love the game, although I felt that it may be quite challenging for them to run this game at their own companies. The participants, like the last game, wanted to make the game relevant by writing a selection of reasonable topics beforehand (similar to toastmasters). Another suggestion was to allow the presenter at least 1 minute in order to think through some ideas.
Game 3: The final game is called “Say Anything” which can be purchased from Amazon and is more your typical board game.
The best part of this game is that you need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and express opinions from their perspective. So in one minute you need to think like a 25 year old Hong Kong lady while the next minutes you could be a 40 year old German piano player. The game is about making guesses — you need to write answers that you believe the persona will choose to a wide variety of questions. For example
“What is your all time favorite movie?”
“What’s the best thing to do with 1 million dollars?”
This is a great game for building empathy and learning about your colleagues and friends. This could also be altered to know and understand what other people think of you.
The participants again wanted to use this game at their work but after they changed the questions to be particularly relevant to their workplace ethos.
“Who would make the best manager at X company”
“What is the most challenging thing about your work?”
Do you have more games that work @work?
Andy Clark is a Master Trainer, Game enthusiast and proud resident of Hong Kong. He is a passionate change catalyst and contributor to the Stretch hive-mind.