The Game Description Perspective Transformation Stories Susan & John Story


Game Context

The context of anything sets the frame around it, shaping the meaning of everything within that frame. The context, thus, defines the “playing field” within which a game will be played.

Declaration of a goal is a powerful act for creating context
Declaring a goal creates a shared context for action, a new "playing field." The following example of the Apollo Project clearly illustrates this. Once a new context or “playing field” is created, the entire universe of activities and resources can be evaluated in terms of how they contribute to achieving the goal of the new game to be played.

In 1961, President Kennedy announced that we would “put a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade.” This created a clear national goal. At that time, however, his advisors told him that we only knew five or six percent of what was needed to achieve this goal. A two-year survey was then made of the nation’s resources and technologies to see what could be applied toward achieving this new goal. The research team found that about two-thirds of the required resources and technologies were already available! A critical path was then laid out, designed to achieve the stated goal. This was modified as needed over the next few years.....and we “won the game” as the first men stepped onto the moon and then returned safely to Earth—several months before the decade ended.

Setting a timeline is important
Imagine what might have happened (or, not happened) if Kennedy had only said, "We will put a man on the moon and bring him back safely." The importance of having a clear timeline for accomplishing goals seems obvious. When we set a date for completing the “game,” we create a “unit” of activity. Planners can then go to the endpoint—the "finish line"—and describe the final outcome. What, precisely, will “winning the game” look like? Then, the planners can begin to plan backwards, starting at the endpoint and working backwards to the present time, thus determining the exact steps that will be required to achieve the goal of the game—year by year, month by month, day by day. This backplanning can only be done if there is a clearly defined outcome with a date of completion.

The Best Game on Earth
The Best Game on Earth, like the Apollo Project, has a specific set of goals to be achieved by a specific time. The Game also has a set of “rules” or “guidelines” for play. These set the overall context for The Game. What happens next will depend on each one of us.

Thank you for playing your part!

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