5 stakeholders. An unavoidable decision. Time is running out. No win-win solution seems to be in sight...
Assling is an old steel industry city. It had its days of glory in the middle of the 20th century. The company used to employ over 12.000 people. These days, the figure is not even 3.000. Times are hard and unemployment rate is high.
The Green non-governmental organization (GNGO) of Assling has just obtained the results of an environmental research - the results say that the ecological imprint of steel factory is polluting the city heavily and could be blamed for the unusually high rate of cancer diseases. GNGO now rallies and demands that the steel company installs the new EKO6 anti-dust device, which would lower the harmful effects by 41%.
All nice and good, but the device costs 16 MIO EUR. If the company makes the investment, it will have to lay off more than 900 workers and partially outsource its operations to China. Unless the government comes to aid - which the government refuses, since a new rebalance of budget would be unavoidable, most likely resulting in new taxes. The coalition is weak and a new rebalnce would be the end of it.
And then there's the municipality which could loose up to 10 work places, should the government make the rebalance.
Last but not least - the workers of steel factory. Their Union is fighting against the option of loosing 900 work places, while it recognizes the need for the new anti-dust device.
5 stakeholders. 3 possible outcomes. An unavoidable decision. Time is running out fast.
The EU demands that Assling reaches a solution for the anti-dust device which needs to be mounted no later than this year, otherwise both the government and the factory will be penalized heavily.
Each stakeholder has their own favorite outcome, but all 5 of them must choose 1 outcome and support it with at least 50% of the votes. And often, character's professional and personal motivations come to conflict.
We ran the Dust over Assling city edu-LARP in March 2015 for Slovenian Association of Facilitators (SAF).
The larp itself takes 7 hours to run, to complete the Schein's (1962) model of Unfreeze-Move-Refreeze.
The run for SAF was shortened to 2.5 hours, thus we only achieved to complete the Unfreeze part and the rest was covered non-experientialy in debrief as a set of possibilities.
We ran a survey among the 28 players who attended Assling edu-larp on March 9th in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
This is what they said:
- 54% had no previous experience with LARP
- 85% evaluated the overall experience of playing Assling with a grade 8 or higher
- 69% have recognized LARP as a tool they would like to use in their own work with clients, while 30% would like to play more LARPs themselves
- competences-wise, 77% see LARP useful to train negotiation skills, 70% see it useful for leadership training and 77% assess LARP as a tool for change management
You might wonder: "is this edu-LARP for me?"
Dust over Assling city is a fictional scenario that you might find not relevant at all. It's important to discern between its game mechanics and the story (game world, ambience, narrative).
If you can not relate to the bitter story, you might relate to its core dynamics: the stakeholder management gamification, achieved by using:
- edu-LARP role-playing framework, based on
- Schein's Perspectives change management model and
- Jung's archetypes,
There are two basic options for your involvement:
- take part in Assling to experience stakeholder management with all its joys and twists and afterwards reflect how the insights can be used in your professional setting
- request new, a more applied scenario to work specifically on your professional challenge
Why would your organization want to participate in a edu-LARP like Assling in the first place?
Yes, a fair question indeed. Here's a brief list of motives that might resonate with you.
By playing Dust over Assling city (or other edu-LARP scenarios for stakeholder management), a participant - player:
- becomes conscious of the complexity of decision making in local/national issues
- gains insight in the consequences each decision creates for all parties involved; even if one possible outcome seems best for your organization, it might have negative effects in your business environment
- realizes that there really are no good and bad guys! Each party often sees itself as 'us', while the others are seen as 'them,' whereas 'them' is often poorly understood and considered worse, or even bad.
- can safely experience how it is to be on the other side of the table (indeed, how it feels to be the 'other')
- is compelled to visualize stepping out of the circle of dead-end negotiations by thinking about mid- and long-term possibilities of cooperation (the Move phase of Schein's model)
- can safely try out ideas, different approaches and play on his/her own limitations and fears - edu-LARP can be a dry-run for the future real-life events! (to paraphrase Augusto Boal a bit)
- gains skill team leadership, decision making and negotiations
- has a full-body-mind experience of such process, thus enabling oneself to use the energy in his/hers real (mundane) professional challenges
Any kind of LARP has also a favorable side-effect: a strong team building experience.
Name: Dust over Assling city
Authors: Blaz Branc, Ziga Novak
- Full run - 7 hours (5 hours in-game time)
- Move run - 4 hours (2.5 hours game time)
- Sample run - 2.5 hours (1.5 hours game time)
Type: educational live-action role-play (edu-larp)
Topic: stakeholder management simulation
Players: 15 - 45
Game masters: 1 (for up to 20 players) or 2