Shelly Alcorn & Willis Turner

Play predates the development of human culture and our brains are hard-wired to use play as a tool to accelerate learning, strategically explore unfamiliar environments and develop collaborative social connections. Games are human created, formalized structures and processes designed to maximize engagement and get the most out of the “play” impulse. In fact, gaming comes so naturally to us we don’t even notice it for what it is. Two examples of large scale gaming structures include our educational and political systems. Going deeper into understanding how gaming structures work, and intentionally applying those mechanics can give us an advantage when designing experiences meant to engage our members in the work of our associations.

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About the Authors

Shelly Alcorn, CAE began her career in change management at the age of five when she was enrolled at the first of the eleven schools she would attend prior to graduating from high school. Being the perpetual “new kid” forced her to quickly and strategically assess new environments, orient herself to new curriculum, and figure out the political nuance of recess. No longer five, she consults and speaks on contemporary trends affecting associations. A “blue collar girl in a white collar world” and a revolutionary, self-proclaimed edupunk, she blogs at Association Subculture because her cat is a bad listener.

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