Game of Knowledge, Transformation and Co-operation

Harness individual and group energy to manifest a shared dream
The Isivivane Game of Knowledge, Transformation and Co-operation gets diverse people to focus their energies on manifesting a collective vision. It helps participants think, talk and act in ways that generate desired outcomes. In corporations, government and NGOs, the Isivivane Game provides a framework for strategic planning, change management, KM, team building, conflict management, innovation, product development and the design of sustainable systems and cultures. Isivivane works well with a variety of audiences, from children to world leaders.

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Instructions for playing The Isivivane Game
1. Assemble the disks
Print out pages 4 to 21 of this book on A3 paper, choosing 220gm recycled card or plastic for durability. The disks are approximately the size of dinner plates. Cut the disks out so that they are circular and stick the two sides of each direction together.. The front of the disk gives clues about the active qualitites of the direction, while the back supplies questions to be explored. You will now have ten disks; the central disk, the facilitator’s disk and 8 directional disks, that can be laid out on a table or floor according to the points of the compass.

To be read out by facilitator
These are the rules of the game: • Everyone agrees to provide input • We all agree that this is a safe space and that we are all free to voice our deeply-held opinions without fear of witch-hunts or repercussions afterwards • Lively discussion is encouraged • When everyone agrees that they have provided input, then all input is read out to the collective • Voting by show of hands is encouraged • We commit that feedback will be written down and circulated to all participants within 24 hours of the session


Participants (players) are there to provide honest responses to the questions and play the game.

The facilitator holds the safe-space, reads the instructions and ensures everybody gets their say. The facilitator records votes and decisions made and is responsible for providing feedback to all participants following the event. The scribe records participants’ answers to the questions. The scribe can change roles and become a participant in order to contribute to the questioning process. The presenter reads the collective input for each disk to all participants. Should there be disagreement, decisions can be taken via a show of hands, recorded by the facilitator. Usually the presenter is someone who is a scribe who volunteers to present for a specific disk. It could also be someone who is spontaneously chosen by the group. For example, the facilitator may ask the group: Who will present the answers for the North-East?

1. Discuss the central theme. This could take a long time, in which case it is advisable to set aside two sessions; the first to decide the central theme and a second session to provide input on the questions on the other 8 disks. 2. With a small group of people (less than 15), participants engage with each disk’s questions until everyone has supplied input. If there are 2. Players more than 15 people, you need to assign each The game can be played by one person, a couple, or an entire card to a scribe, who becomes responsible for team. Play as a boardroom or after-dinner conversation guide or recording input from all participants. (Scribes to stimulate participation at conferences. can become normal participants and normal participants can become scribes.) Playing the Isivivane Game has the effect of suspending normal 3. When everybody is happy that they have proreality. This allows players to reflect on key questions using a vided input to all the questions, presenters broader perspective than their position in the organisation normally gives them. read the responses back to all participants, voting and updating where necessary. 4. Once there is agreement, summarise under3. Facilitator standings reached and close the session. 5. To close the session, the facilitator asks each The facilitator’s task is to guide the process, allowing players to participant to summarise what they have generate and record ideas in a safe space. learned and what they now commit to as a Focus must always return to the central idea defined by the result of the process. This is recorded by a players, to prevent going off on tangents. It is important that scribe and will form part of the final feedback. everyone provides answers to the questions on the back of the 6. The facilitator commits to provide feedback to disks and that these answers are recorded. When all information participants within 24 hours of the session. has been gathered, it is read out to participants who may then This keeps the initiative moving and refreshes vote on key issues. memory of the important agreements reached. The facilitator compiles the results into a feedback document 7. Refer to the plan and agreements going forward that players can refer to as a reminder of the event and agreed on an on-going basis to keep the process going. actions going forward. Find ways of reflecting the agreements reached using innovative media.

Use the Isivivane Game to examine an issue from different points of view, or to ensure all abilities are functioning really well. You can also use the Game for strategic planning to work out your best options. For change management applications, ask participants to describe (a) the game that has been played up till now, and (b) the game we want to play in the future. The difference between the two games represents the changes that need to be made. Take photos during the session and feed back to the group as a collage – it creates a wonderful memory of the event. Hand the disks around so that everybody can become familiar with the different directions and questions. Encourage discussion. Encourage fun.

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THE CENTRE Naming the Game What is the name of the game we want to play? What is this game designed to achieve? What tells us we’re playing the game really well? Why is this game worth playing?

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EAST: GOALS Every game has a goal, even if the goal is to simply continue playing. While soccer, rugby and cricket matches come to an end with winners and losers, the game itself continues; season after season. Goals of deliberately created games might include long-term success, sustainability, profitability, happiness, positive impact and having rewarding interpersonal relationships. QUESTIONS: What are the goals of the game? How do we ensure that they work in harmony with each other? How do we achieve agreement, clarity and shared understanding about the goals?

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SOUTH-EAST: LANGUAGE AND STORIES Each game has its own unique language which allows participants to share common experience. The stories we tell and the way we tell them inspire and create a collective vision of the intended future. We talk the future into becoming. Language can also create a barrier to entry. QUESTIONS: What stories and words will get this system working really well? Which words and stories do not have a place in this game?

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SOUTH: RESOURCES Resources can mean anything from money and equipment to the talents and abilities of participants, financial support, emotional support, specialised know-how and intellectual property, process knowledge, networks, access to information, support systems, ‘people you know’ and well-designed visions and goals. QUESTION: What resources do we need to make the game work really well?

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SOUTH-WEST: STYLE Style is the unique way in which we play the game. Style embodies ‘difference’ in behaviours, thoughts, stories, dress, artefacts, symbols and words. We bring our unique personal style to each game we play. The game itself has a unique style. Designing style is a creative process that is developed over time and is strongly influenced by role models, self-perception and feedback and reflection. QUESTIONS: What is unique about our style of playing the game? From where do we get feedback about our style? How does our style of game play help us to achieve the desired results? How does our style differentiate our game from other games?

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WEST: VALUES Values are standards or qualities considered worthwhile or desireable. They are abstract ideas about what an organisation, society or community believes to be good, right and desireable. Values reflect our most deeply held beliefs, demonstrated through day-to-day behaviours and are the fundamental principles that guide community-driven processes. Values provide a basis for action and communicate expectations for participation and how the organisation expects everyone to behave. Values should endure over the long-term and provide a constant source of strength and inspiration for the individual or organisation that holds them. QUESTIONS: What values do we need to play this game really well? How can these values be reinforced and expressed in both word and deed? What behaviours and attitudes need to be transformed? What needs to change and what do we want to have instead?

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NORTH-WEST: RULES In order to play a game well, we need to be clear about what the rules and patterns of success are; both written and unwritten. Rules stipulate what can and cannot be done and not playing by the rules means penalty or even exclusion from the game. QUESTIONS: What are the key rules of this game? Which rules could stimulate innovation and creativity? How can everyone be clear about the rules of the game?

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NORTH: ROLES Some organisational theories suggest that organisational job and role titles are similar in many ways to the roles performed by actors on the stage or in soap operas. The difference is that we interpret, direct, script and perform the roles ourselves. QUESTIONS: What roles do we need to play this game really well? How do the role-players work together to achieve the desired results?

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NORTH-EAST: RITUALS A ritual refers to speech, action, singing and other performances which contain symbolic meaning. Rituals provide a way for participants to step out of the game temporarily, let off steam, then rejoin the game with renewed energy and fresh perspective. QUESTIONS: What rituals do we need to make this game work really well and when do they happen? What rituals would inspire us and generate enthusiasm and commitment to the game?

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Place Your Stone Upon the Pile

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