Learning about risk management by playing games? Yes! Starting this week, we kick off with a brand new blog series in which we will ask guests to blog about their field of expertise. All these experts have designed a game or toolkit to provide fun learning. From now on you can expect a new blog every month! You can look out for things like a bowtie dialogue kit from BlueBehavior or a toolkit from MEDD that is used in healthcare.  In this month’s blog, we’ll introduce our own Bowtie Game. Find out what this game entails, how we came up with this game, and where you can play this game.

Have you ever been excited to think about Bowties? With the Bowtie Game, you might be. The Bowtie Game starts by putting a bunch of people together, giving them some pre-made sticky notes, and telling them “each of these sticky notes COULD be an element of the bowtie.” Next, we ask the question, “Can you figure out where it should go”. Immediately everyone’s eyes light up as questions shoot through their mind: “Is it a threat? Is it a consequence? No, it’s a barrier!”

Image 1. Empty bowtie and four examples of sticky notes that participants can put on the bowtie

Advantages Bowtie Game

The best part about the Bowtie Game is that, as opposed to working directly with the software, it creates a connection between people in the real world, bringing them together. People get so excited to share their ideas and build on what they’ve learned. Furthermore, this game has sparked some heated discussions. For example, the last time we played the game, one of the sticky notes read: “Employee fall from height.” We could see the sweat form on the participant’s foreheads as they struggled with this statement. One player said confidently, “I think this must be the consequence.” Another player replied, “I think you’re wrong, this is definitely the top event.” Indeed, it was the top event, but the game allowed us to spend time and discuss why each person thought the way they did.

An additional benefit of the Bowtie Game is the Gamification of learning. Gamification is defined by “the use of gaming elements in non-game contexts.”* This is a psychological phenomenon that suggests games actually improve learning through increased attention and provoking people to think deeply about the matter. It teaches and reinforces not only knowledge, but also important skills as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. Games have motivational power. It encourages people to engage with them, often without any reward, just for the joy of playing and the possibility to win. In this way, the Bowtie Game can help people to gain a more exhaustive understanding of the Bowtie methodology.

Give it a try

We originally conjured up the idea to use during conferences, to liven up the otherwise Death by Powerpoint presentations. Some of our partners like MEDD inspired us to design a game. We started with some pieces of paper and tape and now we have a fun game which we use during training or as an icebreaker. Curious about our game? Come and visit one of our booths at conferences or attend a training. It is a pretty fun game, give it a try!

*Dicheva, D., Dichev, C., Agre, G., & Angelova, G. (2015). Gamification in education: A systematic mapping studyEducational Technology & Society, 18(3).