I Got Game

I am not much of a gamer. I just don’t have the time, frankly, for games. But I am willing to make this exception.

Via Boing Boing, I just discovered IFTF’s Superstructure game, probably one of the best serious games I have ever seen. It uses web2.0 technology and multimedia to create an environment where individuals collaborate on solving global problems in a rich future picture of the year 2019.

Apparently, according to the IFTF, 2019 is an intense era. (Doesn’t every generation think that they are at a crucial truning point in history, facing “unprecedented challenges?” It’s because they are.) Their YouTube videos of the various “Superthreats” are compelling. Watching each one made me realize that I, my employer, and my Church has a potential role in the solution.

The other thought I had was, “Where do I sign up?”

Superstructure is nothing more than an environment for bottom-up collaborative visioning and planning, seeded with a foresight technique called Incasting. This type of gaming could be done for a client. Hmmmm….

Below is a list of the ways Superstructure assigns reputation capital. This list of ways to advance in the game apparently is the set of skills that IFTF assumes is critical to being a future citizen.

  1. High Ping Quotient: Excellent responsiveness to other people’s requests for engagement; strong propensity and ability to reach out to others in a network
  2. Longbroading: Seeing a much bigger picture; thinking in terms of higher level systems, bigger networks, longer cycles
  3. Open Authorship: Creating content for public modification; the ability to work with massively multiple contributors
  4. Cooperation Radar: The ability to sense, almost intuitively, who would make the best collaborators on a particular task or mission
  5. Multi-Capitalism: Fluency in working and trading simultaneously with different hybrid capitals, e.g., natural, intellectual, social, financial, virtual
  6. Mobbability: The ability to do real-time work in very large groups; a talent for coordinating with many people simultaneously; extreme-scale collaboration
  7. Protovation: Fearless innovation in rapid, iterative cycles; the ability to lower the costs and increase the speed of failure
  8. Influency: Knowing how to be persuasive and tell compelling stories in multiple social media spaces (each space requires a different persuasive strategy and technique)
  9. Signal/Noise Management: Filtering meaningful info, patterns, and commonalities from the massively-multiple streams of data and advice
  10. Emergensight: The ability to prepare for and handle surprising results and complexity that come with coordination, cooperation and collaboration on extreme scales

I think I’ll go “roll me a character” and play along. See you in the future.

Beginners' Mind Kind of Sucks

For a while, I have been wanting to become more “handy” around the house. A lifetime knowledge worker, I have never had the chance to learn many practical skills to fix things in the real world.

I have a few projects, damaged siding, light fixtures, screen door repairs, that I am determined to get through on my own. So I figure, I can learn this, right? I’ll apply my investigative skills to the analog world. I am good at learning.

This is a great chance to embrace my Beginner’s Mind and aproach this whole thing with fresh eyes.

Problem is, Beginner’s Mind kind of sucks. Well, let’s say it has a definite down side.

Yeah. Beginner’s Mind is not what it’s cracked up to be in the Eastern Spirituality section at Barnes and Noble. No, it’s not all wide-eyed openness to possibilities and experience.

It might be a little of that, but mostly it’s an exercise in deep humility. Being humiliated about how little you know, making and admitting mistakes (after mistakes), and not being able to get by without asking for help.

Jeez. How did I get to the age of 43 and not know at least a little of this stuff? Why can’t I walk into a hardware store an get the supplies for one small project without being lost and perplexed? I can’t even tell the nails and screws apart. (Why do nails have to be “hot dipped?” What are they hot dipped in?)

I repaired my mailbox after the hurricane. I felt so empowered. I rehung the back screen door, but it does not close flush and I can’t figure out why. I think it may be due to the fact that I didn’t choose the right sheet metal screws. My attempt to fix the rotten siding failed — an $80 dead end detour. A friend looked at my aborted efforts and patiently explained to me my mistaken assumptions. He’s going to help me figure it out next week.

Beginner’s Mind means being willing to understand how little you understand. Beginner’s Mind means being willing to feel like an idiot. And, as a man in the midst of men who know these things and women who lament that you do not know these things, it means feeling like less of a “real man.” Letting go of your own self image and pretensions is not a pleasant thing.

Thing is, this downside, this humbling, is probably the most important benefit of Beginner’s Mind. But it still kind of sucks.