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Blessed to travel

  30th April, 2018 By An Coppens

When I set up Gamification Nation, my intention was to bring a feminine voice to what at the time was a very (‘young white”) male-dominated space. I still think there is plenty of space for more diversity and the more I travel the world talking about gamification, the more I feel that this is important.

All the movements towards diversity and inclusion of gender, age and race are a sign of the times we live in. I personally feel really blessed to be able to travel and meet people from different cultures in their own environments and find it immensely enriching. It is rare to find fellow travellers who stick to their rigid narrow view of the world, whereas for the untravelled this is actually much more likely to be the case.

The conversations I have in social settings around motivation, what people consider helpful and unhelpful, what is acceptable and encouraged in a culture and how one culture differs to another, is what makes up a worldview that is constantly evolving. In exploration, there are new ideas, there are new perspectives and the understanding that there is no such as thing as only one right way to do anything.

If you have never lived or worked abroad, I urge you to take the next available opportunity to take a trip. On that trip challenge yourself to explore the local culture and meet people from the area in their favourite places, not just the touristy hangouts. I love it when I can hear stories from their world of work and life. I do my best to taste local foods insofar that it is available gluten-free.

Is it comfortable to do this? Not always, there are times where you find yourself in strange situations, but then when you have helpful local people with you it rarely turns out to be a disaster.

When I look at hosting gamification design workshops in all different cultures, similar challenges come up with a local flavour to add complexity to the mix. I always advise people to work with the base they have as resources and work outward from that starting point. The longer-term vision for your design may require breaking it down into bite-size steps that the local culture and organisation can work with.

Local flavours can impact the scale you work with, the types of engagement that is acceptable or not and much more importantly the way you communicate your strategy to engage and motivate. What is interesting is that most organisations worldwide have some common denominators, such as systems and traditions passed on from the industrial era, which are no longer as relevant for today’s society.

I feel that collaborative cultures in time will take over from highly competitive ones. I also see strength in the blend of influences, where gender, age and race are working together to creatively brainstorm better ways forward. The important value shift being for the greater good of all of us and not a small privileged power hungry few.

I also find that as business owners develop international strategies, spending time in the local economies that they are targeting is of vital importance, otherwise we are ony imposing our worldview onto other people.

So far games have been a factor that brings people together, just like sports can and food for example. Getting people into a setting where they can have fun and share is always enriching for me and I always wish that it is for everyone else in the room too.

As I write this, I do feel privileged that I can share my perspective and I hope it will inspire some to take on board that diversity and inclusion by design has a fundamental role to play in society and how we work and live for the long haul.

 

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