Developing the membership game

game workshopI've found that one of the most effective ways of helping organisations and groups understand how to bring social media into their communications mix is to play through their possible plans in a workshop game.

We did that at the Ruralnetonline event, and also at the Circuit Riders conference, shown here. More recently I ran a workshop for PR and communications staff who are working in housing associations, and I've put the presentation and game that I used on the social media wiki. As I reported earlier, it certainly brought out the challenges for association staff.

who and why matrixI think this version could be the basis for a game designed for membership organisations, because at the beginning I introduced a simple matrix to help participants think through who they are trying to help, in what way.

In this case the "who" was Board members, staff, residents or wider interests. The "why" covered getting information (consuming), communicating, collaborating. It's then possible to map on to the matrix what tools may be appropriate in what circumstances - as I did here on another occasion.

However, it is one things doing a rather abstract exercise of categorising tools people may not be familiar with - it is another helping people think about how those tools might be useful in their particular situation.

If people are "on site" we ask them to desribe the challenges facing their organisation. In a conference setting we ask people to invent an as-if scenario, and then work through what's needed from that.

Overall the game sequence I proposed at the housing conference was:

  • People break into groups of 6-8 and invent scenarios around local housing organisations and their residents
  • They then present the scenarios as challenges to a pair group
  • Groups use a matrix to think of who they are trying to engage and why: consume information, communicate, collaborate
  • They then choose communication methods from a set of cards. Each card has 1, 2, 3 points - budget is 15.
  • The develop a plan and present this back to the "client" group
  • Group split into sub-groups and tell the stories of how this works for different characters, and the project

... although we didn't get time for the storytelling.

You can download everything from the wiki, and see examples of other games here. The next step in The Membership project will be to get together a group interested in piloting a further development of the game. Do get in touch or drop in a comment if you are interested. Meanwhile feel free to try out this version of the game yourself ... and let us here how it went. Like all games materials it is licensed under Creative Commons, so that you can use and develop for yourself.