Archives for : June2016

Visualization ideas from Dot Connector Studio

We are collecting “tools to think with” for strategy with games and social impact.

Last week at G4C we met with Jessica Clark and Katie Donnelly and discovered some neat visualizations compiled by their Dot Connector Studio team, including some based on prior work from AIR, CMSI, TFI Interactive, etc., and reinterpreted (see their full overview).

Below are a few that we think might be useful for the #GameImpact project:

(1) Engagement Models — 10 different models with visuals.  See their full list (PDF).


(2) Partner Types — useful to resist simply “build it and they will come”!


(3) Roadmap for creating new projects — a great way to represent some of the “hooks and triggers” for strategic questions.  The focus here is on film, but much applies to games.  See also their full PDF.



Thanks again to Dot Connector Studio for sharing these!

Session at DiGRA-FDG: Increasing coherence in ‘impact’

Join us in Scotland on August 4th for the first joint convening of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) and the Foundations of Digital Games conference (FDG):


Our session is: “Increasing coherence in ‘impact’: crossing disciplines and framing.” We’ll be presenting alongside talks by Jesper Juul and Hanli Geyser at 4pm.


In the past decade game design for “impact” has proliferated. Yet fragmentation is also growing between researchers, designers and funders in their ability to compare game proposals and communicate effectively about impact. Success in this endeavor may require new umbrella language to guide meaningful comparison and improve efficacy — especially across stakeholders. Fortunately, strategies for reducing friction and aligning design with research are surfacing.

In a report published last year by Games for Change and ETC Press (2015), we first revealed some of the hidden barriers in language and framing around “game impact.” Based on dozens of interviews with sector leaders (primarily in the United States), the report identified five areas of concern that increase confusion and undermine impact.

Findings to be discussed (and explored outside the United States) include:

  • the gulf between research and practice is growing as silos begin to deepen; some types of impact are persistently marginalized by disciplinary divides;
  • we need common language and new frames to compare impact across domains, especially with diverse stakeholders
  • for research to affect practice, special care is needed to avoid framing research in opposition to creativity.

In response to the report, more than 30 individuals submitted formal suggestions, including some leading game studios and academics. The feedback opened new areas of inquiry. In the past several months, we identified several “risky assumptions” that may drive fragmentation. Diagnosing assumptions is more delicate and subjective than documenting fragmentation; yet it yields more actionable insights.

Continue Reading >>

Panel at G4C Festival: Increasing Social Impact with Tools to Design Across Sectors

g4c-13fest-smJoin our session on June 24th at 4pm with Colleen Macklin, Asi Burak and Benjamin Stokes.

Title: Increasing Social Impact: Tools to Design Across Sectors


For two years, the GameImpact project investigated sources of failure in articulating game impact. Our first results (published last year) showed the fault lines — especially across sub-fields. Now we introduce and debate several “thinking tools” for executive producers, lead designers and funders. Here are strategies to avoid the holes between research and design, between impact and intention.