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Welcome To My World

Overlap Toronto

Object of Play

Many of us make the mistaken assumption that others see what we see and know what we know. No one in the world shares your internal system map of reality. The best way to compare notes, so to speak, is to actually draw an external representation of what you think is happening. Welcome to My World gives players an opportunity to better understand other players’ roles and responsibilities. It helps chip away at silos and introduces the novel idea that we may be seeing only one reality: ours. It helps immensely to show what we see to others so that we can start to share a reality and work on it together.

Number of Players

8–20

Duration of Play

30 minutes to 1 hour

How to Play

1. Give all players access to flip-chart paper, markers, and sticky notes. Ask them to take 30 seconds to write one of their job responsibilities (e.g., create the company newsletter or devise a marketing strategy for Product X) on a sticky note and stick it to their shirt.

2. Have the players wander around the room and pair up with someone whose job responsibility they’re the least familiar with or that they’re curious about. If you have an odd number of players, join them to even it out.

3. In pairs, ask the players to take turns drawing their best representation of how they envision the other person’s workflow around that job duty. They can use simple circles, boxes, and arrows to make flowcharts or they can get creative, but they cannot interview the other player or ask any clarifying questions while they’re drawing.  Give them 5–15 minutes to draw quietly.

4. When the time is up, give each player five minutes to share her drawing with the other person and describe what it means.

5. Then give the pairs 5–10 minutes each to clarify or agree on the realities of each other’s drawing. They should also take time to discuss where the areas of ease, friction, and interactions with others fall in the process. They can elaborate and draw on the other person’s visual at this point, or the original creator of the visual can add content as his partner shares.

6. Ask for volunteers to show their visuals to the larger group and to describe some of their insights and observations.

Strategy

To be maximally effective, this game has one requirement: the players should represent a range of positions or job responsibilities within an organization. The game rapidly loses its value if all the participants have the same, predictable workflow, like processing an undisputed insurance claim. The idea is to educate each other on the realities of their work duties and to help break down silos across organizational areas. Once the insights start coming out, this game can significantly increase the understanding and appreciation of others’ work. And it can be even more effective when you have players who have to work together but historically have had little insight into—or even patience with—their colleagues’ processes.

Most people feel comfortable drawing basic shapes and workflow-related diagrams since these are common in company life. If, however, players balk at having to draw, tell them they’re welcome to rely only on words, but they’ll miss an opportunity to make a simple picture of someone else’s “world” at work.

The source for the Welcome to My World game is unknown.

One thought on “Welcome To My World

  1. […] Oh! because I’m showing this to visual thinkers, I realized (peer-pressure!) that they’ll be disappointed if I keep it abstract.  I got out my oil pastel crayons to draw, as in the Visual Glossary game.  Drawing helped me focus on the main point, explicit vs. implicit.  I suppose that I drew a wave to represent the depths of the unconscious, and forward motion, and to leave a lot of open space for the diagram.  Then I remembered my first large painting, a muse for the fifth day of creation, (she’s Jesus), cutting paths with scissors for the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea.  That pushed me to explain birds fly high to see the big picture and fish swim deep to win consensus.  That clicked with some people, and got me thinking further, in that I keep wondering what’s relevant to God (Stakeholder Analysis), that we can think of one God beyond us, like the bird, but also God within each of us, as with the school of fish.  I’m thinking that each game takes a little leap of faith and each lets us dialogue with God in a particular way.  Here’s a sketch of my theory, more broadly, in terms of ways of figuring things out. (Welcome to My World!) […]

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