How does an organization of focused pragmatists step back and see the big picture?


A global leader in the logistics business had already dedicated years of effort to developing a comprehensive new strategy for addressing the future needs of their enterprise clients. With XPLANE’s help, they were in the process of creating a plan for communicating and activating it throughout their organization. But getting regional managers up to speed on the general structure of a new strategy is one thing; building a level of understanding that lets them implement it is something else.

So midway through our engagement, XPLANE and the client’s communications team hit upon the idea of a deployment game that would invite leaders and managers from the corporate level on down to engage with the strategy in a detailed, interactive way. The company had an ingrained culture of intense focus on the task at hand, and while it served them well in day-to-day operations, it made shifting strategies an uphill battle. They also had a culture of good-natured competition--by tapping into that, both teams saw an opportunity to turn something as natural as gameplay into a powerful transformational act.

Starting with an open idea session between consultants and designers, the XPLANE team divided the task into content (the ideas to be communicated) and mechanics (making sure the game was actually fun to play). The result is a game so engaging that when it was introduced at the company’s annual conference, it became the most popular session of the entire event.

More important, it’s effective: in early testing, players’ average rating of how well they understood the new strategy jumped dramatically after playing the game, from 4 to 8.5 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Games may not solve every aspect of culture change, but for something as fundamental and broad-reaching as a new strategy for enterprise business, it turned out to be the perfect complement to the client’s existing communication plan.