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The Game is Never Done: Design Leadership Techniques from the Video Game World (Erin Hoffman-John at DesignOps Summit 2017)

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Erin Hoffman-John: "The Game is Never Done: Design Leadership Techniques from the Video Game World"
DesignOps Summit 2017 • November 6-7, 2017 • Queens, NY, USA
http://designopssummit.com

Published in: Design
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The Game is Never Done: Design Leadership Techniques from the Video Game World (Erin Hoffman-John at DesignOps Summit 2017)

  1. 1. the game is never done “Seek simplicity, and distrust it.” alfred north whitehead Erin Hoffman-John DESIGN LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUES FROM THE VIDEO GAME WORLD
  2. 2. erin hoffman-john g a m e d e s i g n h i s t o r y I’m an innovation-centered game designer; I follow trends in technology and leap from startup to startup.
  3. 3. let’s talk fish tanks Your product isn’t a perfect bubble — it’s an ecosystem. So is your team.
  4. 4. but first some boring slides
  5. 5. Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. passionate players Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. absolute consistency Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. superconnected users Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. critical delight why this is difficult
  6. 6. Uber
  7. 7. vsUber World of Warcraft
  8. 8. YOUR TITLE HERE so what do we know about building highly complex systems for extremely picky audiences?
  9. 9. it’s about this choice: keep the big picture in mind the devil’s in the details
  10. 10. system says: keep the big picture in mind the devil’s in the details it’s both
  11. 11. system design connects the ‘big idea’ to the details
  12. 12. and now the fish tanks
  13. 13. think ecosystem Your product isn’t a perfect bubble — it’s an ecosystem. So is your team.
  14. 14. YOUR TITLE HERE so how do ecosystems work? (a triptych)
  15. 15. ecosystems have loops +#1:
  16. 16. Balancing loops have STASIS. As one thing INCREASES, another thing DECREASES, keeping the system in a stable state. If I had enough algae eating fish and snails, as the algae grew it would be consumed in a stable NEGATIVE loop. balancing (negative) loops -- there are two kinds… Reinforcing loops INCREASE a resource in the system. This POSITIVE FEEDBACK loop nets a CHANGE in the system. I am in a neverending battle with the reinforcing algae growth loop in my fish tank. reinforcing (positive) loops ++
  17. 17. ask yourself: what positive feedback loops are we creating? this is the ‘virtuous cycle’ - what do you want more of? what mechanics would get you there? what balancing loops are we maintaining? where is the symbiosis in your org? where is the healthy balance, and do we acknowledge that push-pull relationship? how are we embracing conflict to create trust and productivity?
  18. 18. ecosystems have leverage points +#2:
  19. 19. YOUR TITLE HERE BREAK S LID E S U B T I T L E H E R E Sign B r e a k s l i d e B r e a k s l i d e twelve, to be exact
  20. 20. YOUR TITLE HERE BREAK S LID E S U B T I T L E H E R E Sign B r e a k s l i d e B r e a k s l i d e twelve, to be exact how many rocks? how much sand? how much water? how big a heater? how much food/fish? how many plants? what kind of filtration system? what kind of tank?
  21. 21. fine-tuning operates down here - what are your constants? this is the operational level - the rules by which you work. pretty big leverage. up here lives the ‘why’. change the why and you change your whole org.
  22. 22. ask yourself: do we need big change, or small change? for big change, you need a powerful leverage point; for small adjustments, small leverage are we getting where we want to go? if you’re spinning your wheels, you may be trying to effect big change by adjusting small points of leverage.
  23. 23. during regime change especially, big orgs tend to turn big leverage dials this scrambles the system when big leverage points are twisted, massive system disruption results - and you have to state change into recovery, rebuilding, rebalancing. a note of caution:
  24. 24. ecosystems have emergence +#3:
  25. 25. CENTER PICTURE SLIDE Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Beautiful slide Sign stuff happens that you can’t predict! the school is not a fish, but it requires fish acting independently
  26. 26. ask yourself: what are our emergent dynamics? your design culture is an emergent property. what are its constituent parts? what are the roles? are we all part of the school? who are the outliers left behind by the emergent culture? what are the core signifiers that create our emergent whole? what is our core emotion? the result of a system is often an emotion. what is the emotion that is the core of your design experience?
  27. 27. are created by rules, and create either reinforcing (positive) patterns, or balancing (negative) patterns - both are good when used properly loops is how you change a system - and systems have different points of leverage leverage is an abstract that emerges from the system as a whole - it’s the result emergence think:
  28. 28. and now a coda
  29. 29. consider: the world is hyperconnected
  30. 30. what does it mean to operationalize a hyperconnected world?Expect instant communication. Expect elaborate collaboration. Expect deep personal awareness. Expect to be examined. Gossip++ Expect the little things to matter.
  31. 31. being nice is hard. A hyperconnected world tests our ability empathize with people whose backgrounds we don’t share. what space are you making for empathy?
  32. 32. failures of empathy destroy worlds
  33. 33. confined spaces test our ability to get along
  34. 34. are confined spaces In a family, and in a company, when the designers aren’t getting along, everyone knows. games, worlds, & orgs
  35. 35. TOP PICTURE Break slide Break slide and the flag is emotion leading this way takes great bravery as a designer-leader your job is to keep everyone charging toward the same flag
  36. 36. so reach for the universal Tell stories. Connect your work to universal human narratives. Even if you don’t culturally share a fairy tale, the form of a fairy tale is a cultural connector we all understand. What’s your fairy tale?
  37. 37. thank you :) erin@makingwonder.com @gryphoness
  38. 38. and now secret bonus slides!
  39. 39. think ecosystem Your product isn’t a perfect bubble — it’s an ecosystem. So is your team. 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.
  40. 40. level up organically When you think about the levels in your organization, think organically, not structurally/architecturally. How does one level lead naturally to the next? How do the levels relate to each other? 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.
  41. 41. let passion drive Create structures that access the passion of every designer and give it an outlet. Insofar as you can, let passion drive what your designers work on. 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.
  42. 42. community managers are crucial Who are the community managers in your organization? Are they empowered? What tools do they have? 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.
  43. 43. embrace volunteers What is the role of volunteership in your community? What are people doing by choice as opposed to strictly because it’s their job? How are you channeling their volunteer energy? 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. 85% Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.

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