Pop leadership theories into Google and you’ll be faced with a vast array of theories such as the great man theory, trait theory, the managerial grid or transformational leadership theory (to list just a few). These theories describe how leaders come about – whether through natural capabilities and talents or through hard work and determination.
When we designed Unlock: Leadership it was important for us to create a platform that underlined all, or as many of the leadership principles that are in common use today. Therefore we decided to focus on the underlying, or foundation skills of leadership. Now when we say foundation, we don’t mean basic, rather think of it in terms of a building foundations –creating a solid platform for future development.
It was also important to focus on these foundation skills as they are transferable, transferable across multiple sectors that is. Every sector needs leaders and all leaders need skills such as communication, conflict handling, decision making, problem solving and the ability to effectively negotiate.
Throughout the design process we came up with a series of puzzles that really challenged these skills. By playing around with information, different viewpoints, and differing player goals we created a series of challenges allowing players to level up their leadership skills as they progressed.
For example we start with pure problem solving to get the users into the mind set of tackling puzzles. We then progress onto conflict handling, coaching and communication. With each level we layer up the complexity. But it’s not just the puzzles that focus on these foundation skills. The entire game narrative, environment and goal are designed to elicit certain behaviours and move players towards a specific way of feeling. Through the game’s pacing, players are confronted with uncertainty, frustration, joy and relief. We have created an emotive environment where we give leaders the opportunity to rise above these emotions or succumb to feelings of self-doubt, only to be pulled up and supported by the rest of the team.
Throughout the entire Unlock: Leadership game experience, players are discovering, using and refining their leadership abilities.