Over the past few months, we’ve had the chance to test our own collaborative game – Zombie Fight or Flight – as a tool for conflict prevention, management and resolution. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing the ways in which these games can be used, have invited ideas from others in workshops and presentations, and have reached out to colleagues for their thoughts on collaborative games more generally. The following list identifies 11 ways we’ve seen collaborative games used to prevent, manage or resolve conflicts:
- As a training exercise for parties interested in having more collaborative collective bargaining negotiations.
- As “homework” assignment for newly blended families who are working to manage disputes.
- To “break the ice” at the beginning of a mediation.
- In training with lawyers, law students, and conflict resolution professionals to open up discussions of competition and how automatically competitive mindsets impact negotiations.
- As a tool for illuminating board members’ interactions, prior to a facilitation of a non-profit board of directors.
- To flatten organizational hierarchies, creating an environment where decision-making and leadership must be shared
- In elementary school classrooms, to enhance students ability to work together and be more ready to learn.
- In high school classes to explore the idea of collaboration in Law and Social Justice.
- In college classrooms, as an opening exercise for newly assigned lab partners or learning teams.
- In office lunch rooms, to foster a more collaborative workgroup.
- Games have been used to bridge generations, to create a space where old and young, and those of various physical and mental abilities can engage in a joint endeavour despite their differences. (For example, check out Joan Braun’s discussion of intergenerational conflict management here.)
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be adding posts that more fully explore each of these possibilities. And we’d love to hear of more uses! Let us know how (and where) you’ve used collaborative games.