Jan 23, 2010

mute-deaf at Innovation Game online

I was all exited about the opportunity to participate on an online Innovation Game with folks from APLN and BayAPLN while still abroad on business. I logged in and proceeded to dial in to the conference from a telephone only to come to a halt because the conference call requires a "#" at the end of the code and the long distance service at the place where I am staying interprets it as a call to operator so there was no way I could reach the conference call.

But where there's a will there's a way. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see how effectively I could go about participating on the game while on a mute-deaf state. The game started and I felt I was at at real disadvange at first but soon after I realized that the entire environment provided an quite complete and friendly environment such that I soon forgot all about the audio feedback. For sure there were interesting conversations going on that I was missing, but the information I was getting through the game board itself, the text tab, and the actions tab were providing enough information for me to not only follow through but to also contribute!

Comparing the online experience with a face-to-face experience I would say that:
  • Face-to-face has the benefits of not only more effective verbal communication but also body language and higher encouragement for all stakeholders to participate.
  • Online has the benefits of counting on a log, making it easy for people to think more carefully about something or re-visit something without breaking the rhythm or distracting others.
Also, my being mute-deaf throughout the exercise proves the effectiveness of the playground experience that innovation games bring to the matter being discussed.


  1. Shojiki -
    Thank you for sharing your experience of Innovation Games(R) online. People often wonder why we we designed the online games to rely on chat instead of relying on a phone call. There are a few reasons.

    1. As you suggest, the act of chatting - writing - encourages players to think more carefully about what they're contributing to the game.

    2. The chat log enables in-game reflection and post-game processing. The later point is especially important, as the games produce such incredibly rich results that you need a chance to review the chat logs, often multiple times, before developing your conclusions.

    3. During the game, the chat log enables players to "whisper" with each other. Whispering is essential to the negotiation that forms the foundation of developing consensus within the game. Note that it is really, really hard to "whisper" in an teleconference (we know - we've tried).

    4. We do want our games to be as accessible as possible to everyone, including those people who may have disabilities that prevent them from using audio or video teleconferencing technologies.

    Of course, we're still going to explore audio and video teleconferencing technologies and will integrate these into future games as these make sense. For now, though, I'm really glad to hear about your experience with the games.

    Keep playing!

    Best Regards,

    Luke Hohmann

  2. Yes, the whisper feaure was quite useful and cool too.
    Another advantage of the log is that it can be used to more effectively generate documentation since important info can be taken from there.