Social Entrepreneurs as Game Makers – What role do YOU play?

As I suggested in a previous post  – social entrepreneurs making an elearning game together is really just a structure for us to use.  We can use the game structure to discover and apply the patterns of earned income venture profitability hidden in our collective experience.


Most of us are thinking – we don’t know how to make a game.  But my theory is: we DO know what we want to know.  We do know HOW we want to learn.  And we do know what makes learning FUN for us.


Each ONE of us has something unique and critical to contribute.  Each one of us plays a special ROLE in evolving our learning game-making community.  Take a look at what some other folks think such roles look like.  What role do YOU play?  If you don’t see your role in the list already – ADD to it!  This is OUR game to make.

 With what we do know as our basis – let’s just have at it and see what happens! 

The game we make will probably not be something we might normally think of as a “game.”  Not necessarily like, but maybe partaking elements of, Chutes & Ladders, Bridge, Chess, or World of Warcraft.  When we make the game ourselves – the game can be anything we want it to be.  The rules of the game are whatever WE decide they are.  What we DO in the game is what we decide is most useful to us to accomplish our real-life goals.  And then – the rules and boundaries of the game can change while we play!


I see this game as a way for us

  1. to ENACT our Community of Practice
  2. to VITALIZE our collaborative Knowledge Management efforts
  3. to use Web2.0 tools (such as wikis and blogs) to exponentially expand our resources


The game we make is just an “artifact” of our learning together.  This game artifact is just the thing within which we capture and redistribute what we learn together – so that others can learn and contribute too.  Our game never ends.  We just keep on learning together.

Roles, Funcions, and Skills – what part do YOU play?

Malcolm Gladwell told us (some time ago) that a world-changing idea can TIP from the few to the many, and spread like wildfire.  Epidemic-like spread is due to the contributions of certain types of people who play certain ROLES.  Gladwell’s three role types are:

  1. Connectors (people who know alot of people, and have a special skill of bringing people together)
  2. Mavens (people who know alot about alot of things, and have a special skill of synthesizing information so it’s digestible for others)
  3. Salespeople (persuasive)

Robert Paterson tells us that tipping changes occur “on the margins.”  The slightest push – in just the right place = TIP.


The Overseas Development Institute (ODI)  tells us that there are six FUNCTIONS for rapid evolution within a social network:

  1. Conveners (bring us together);
  2. Facilitators (make it happen);
  3. Community Builders (promote, sustain relationships);
  4. Filters (research & organize information);
  5. Amplifiers (spot relevance & shine spotlight);
  6. Investors (commit & channel time, $$, resources to develop the network)

Henry Jenkins, of MacArthur’s Digital Media and Learning initiative, tell us that there are 11 SKILLS that individual players bring to the mix:

  1. Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving
  2. Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisationand discovery
  3. Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes
  4. Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content
  5. Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
  6. Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
  7. Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal
  8. Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  9. Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
  10. Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information
  11. Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.


MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing games) traditionally feature a “Guildmaster.”  The role of the Guildmaster is, among other things, to: a) create a vision, set of values that attracts players; b) find & recruit new players that fit.  Altho the guildmaster role is entrenched in a hierarchal organizational ideology — these functions of the role seem to me to mesh some traditional gaming concepts with the tipping point concepts that are worth exploring further.


A new book, the Starfish and the Spider      (unstoppable power of leaderless organizations), tells us that a decentralized organization — where these skills and functions are spread thruout the organization, not lodged in any one individual — makes it possible for the organization to literally “grow a new head” if one head gets cut off.  A decentralized organization “never dies” but continues to grow and expand and spread its good work.

 Constance Steinkuehler’s dissertation:    on MMO’s eloquently describes the process by which “newbies” are brought into fuller participation in the game.  “Apprenticeship” is a process by which the “teacher” and “learner” engage together to complete a task.  The more experienced player provides just enough information, just in time, for the new player to practice applying that bit of information to the task.  This “practice” – in the context of use – resulting in success or “failure” – followed immediately by feedback — creates the circumstance where new players learn to play the game better and better as they test their new skills in the company of the more experienced player. 

Post a comment.  Tell us what part you think you play.  Add to the lists if you think some key ingredient is missing.


2 Responses to “Social Entrepreneurs as Game Makers – What role do YOU play?”

  1. Diane230 Says:

    Roles: connector, convener, communitybuilder, amplifier.

    Skills: performance, simulation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, networking.

  2. Paul Dube Says:

    1. Connectors (people who know alot of people, and have a special skill of bringing people together)
    2. Mavens (people who know alot about alot of things, and have a special skill of synthesizing information so it’s digestible for others)
    3. Salespeople (persuasive)

    # Conveners (bring us together);
    # Facilitators (make it happen);
    # Community Builders (promote, sustain relationships);
    # Filters (research & organize information);
    # Amplifiers (spot relevance & shine spotlight);

    # Play
    # Performance
    # Multitasking
    # Distributed Cognition
    # Judgment
    # Transmedia Navigation
    # Networking
    # Negotiation

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