Another excellent post on the Knowledge Games blog by Dave Gray working to answer the question, “What is a Knowledge Game?” The post is a wonderful exploration of the nature of knowledge games, but begs the question of how to go about designing these interactions. This is something I started to write about here, but to really get into it requires a little more explanation.
I set out before that in stringing knowledge games together, the designer needs to consider three dimensions progress; the tactical, emotional and conceptual. In thinking through the idea again, I tried to relate my own design process to each of these dimensions, and came to a few realizations. The most common design models I use are the Scan-Focus-Act model and the Creative Process Model, both from the MGTaylor method of designing collaboration. I’m not sure about other MGTaylor practitioners, but here’s what I realized about my design process when I thought about it in terms of these dimensions:
- I tend to design for information, first. At its most basic, the Scan-Focus-Act model is a model of information distribution. Scan: Bring in disparate data sources, ensure a common understanding of information across the target group of individuals. Focus: Allow for the reconfiguration of information and prototyping by the group. Act: The best ideas are developed more fully from the prototypes to bring together a working model. In designing this process, I often focus on the development of this information through the lifecycle of the interactions.
- While I consider the other dimensions as design considerations, I don’t specifically design them. I think a lot about what the individuals going through the process will experience, and use that as a consideration in the design of the information flow, but I don’t directly design the experience with the same calculated rigor that I apply to the tactical dimension. The emotional dimension is something I’ve thought of as an element you need to make space for, but which is a by-product of other factors and processes. The conceptual dimension I have treated mostly as emergent.
This leads me to the following questions. First, can you design emotional experience? Clearly a great number of artists, writers and filmmakers would argue that you can. But where does that fit within the realm of collaboration design? What models inform the designing of emotional experience?
Secondly, as the conceptual dimension is critical to the ideas that come from collaborative interaction, how do you design for emergence?
To answer some of these questions, I’m going to be writing a couple of pieces both here and on the Knowledge Games blog. First up will be Designing for Emotion, followed by Designing for Emergence. I’ll give shorter treatment to Tactical Game Design, since there’s lots more out there on that, and then I’ll reexamine an approach to bringing the three together. In the interim, ideas and input on any of these questions would be appreciated!