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Try an alternate reality game (ARG) at your next lawyers’ retreat

Alternate reality games (ARGs) are immersive, massively multiplayer experiences that unfold for the participants over days, weeks or months (See my post of Nov. 18, 2007: online gaming worlds as a way to train in-house counsel.). As described in the Harv. Bus. Rev., Vol. 86, at 29, an ARG designer, knows as a “puppet master,” distributes information and material, such as to the lawyers of a law department at an offsite. The information might pertain to the department’s use of outside counsel over the past several years; the goal of the ARG might be to think through the consequences of drastically reducing the number of law firms retained by the department.

Before the offsite and during it the lawyers would “use wikis, social networking sites, chat rooms, and blogs to analyze clues, debate interpretations, devise mission strategies, predict game events, and ultimately build a common narrative.” In other words, through the life-like simulation they would learn.

As extolled by the author, Jane McGonigal, collaboration in such an effort teaches 10 collective-intelligence competencies. “These include cooperation radar, accurately identifying the very best collaborators for a given task, and protovation, the ability to rapidly prototype test experimental solutions.” Learn more about the remaining eight competencies at the website of McGonigal and why ARGs will supplant some meetings and planning processes.