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You can play the Social by Social game in two ways - as a simulation around a situation that you invent, or "for real" in relation to a place or an organisation
- Describe or invent the situation that you are in, or envisaging: the scenario
- Split into groups of not more than eight people, around a theme or set of issues. Then in each group:-
- Define what you are trying to achieve: your goals
- Identify the people you wish to engage, and choose methods from a set of cards. Cards have budget points as costs - so you have to prioritise.
- Think about the communication methods you need, and choose social media tools or other activities from another set of cards
- Review the plan you have developed and think about the resources you will need, and the roles to carry it out.
- Choose a number of the characters who figure in the scenario, and tell the stories of what happens to them over some months, or longer. Facilitators can throw in crises and opportunities.
You can play with any number from a few people upwards. Ideally you need two groups, so six is a realistic minimum to get useful discussion. If you have large numbers you just split into lots of groups. The effective limit is set by the time it takes for groups to report back - but there are ways around that: see below.
One or two people, respected by participants, should act as facilator(s). They should ensure that participants are briefed; organise the room; manage the flow of the game without being directive; and make sure that any report back and final discussion relates to the purpose of the exercise. They should check that people are clear about the purpose of the workshop, and help them reach useful conclusions.
Choose a room with flexible seating so that people can work in groups of about 4-7. They can do this around a small table, or just by grouping chairs together. It helps for each group to have a flip chart on an easel, but if necessary they can work on the table or even on the floor. What doesn't work (at all) is theatre style seating. Big tables (like those used for banqueting) can be a problem because people are too far apart for easy conversation.
You will need flip chart paper, preferably on easels, marker pens, one set of cards (engagement, tools, resources, roles), blu-tack, post-it notes. If you want a record, you'll need a camera for photos and maybe video.
Describing the situation - for real
You can either do this on the spot, as a first stage of the game, or do some preliminary research into who's who, challenges and opportunities, past history. Even if you do some research - which could be circulated beforehand - disuss this on the day so that everyone has a shared understanding.
Inventing a situation
In a simulation, there are two easy ways to do this. Either:
- ask people as a whole to call out elements of the situation and record these on a flip chart. Then split into groups, with each group taking a different facet of the situation
- or ask different groups to invent a situation with the instruction - "make it tough - you aren't going to provide the solution" Then ask groups to cross-present, and solve each other's problems.
Give groups a planning sheet
, and ask each group to write into the top left quadrant their goals - what they are trying to achieve in the situation they are addressing.
Identify who you wish to engage
Ask groups to think about the different interests they need to engage with, and make a not of those in the top right quadrant.
Using the cards
At this point offer groups the cards that they will use to plan their engagement, and then to develop their plan using different tools and activities: engagement cards are here
, and tools and activities are here
. Each card has a "budget" of effort/cost - 1, 2 or 3. Set budgets so groups can't choose all the cards: say, 10 for engagement, 15 for tools. As groups to stick engagement cards top right, tools bottom right ... adding their own ideas on bland cards or post-its, and amending cards if necessary. They are really just aids to conversation ... so encourage as much discussion as possible, not just a mechanical exercise of playing the numbers.
After groups have chosen engagement and tools cards, ask them to consider what resources they will need, and what roles. Links to all cards are here
At this point, invite groups to report back. That could be:
- to the room as a whole
- just to the group that provided the challenge, if that's the way things were set up
- by posting the flip chart sheet to a wall, hen inviting people to wander round and review. That's a good way of doing things if you have a lot groups, and limited time.