Gaming for change
Quite spontaneously, the worldview-test (and the model behind it) became a tool for transformation.
It started when the University of Delft’s innovation office put a designer to work to translate my research into a “worldview-board game”, which was to be displayed at their 2014 research exhibition.
The designer made a big, beautiful, wooden board-game that people could actually ‘play’ with, using their hands and minds in unison.
Standing with the board at the exhibition myself, I observed people playing the game.
A bit to my surprise, I noticed it really worked. People clearly enjoyed exploring these fundamental life questions and finding out where they would fit into the different categories of worldviews as found by the research, and discussing their insights with each other.
One thing led to another. And so soon enough the board-game had travelled a whole summer to different festivals and exhibitions in the Netherlands. (See the pictures below.)
Not long thereafter I was approached by the American Institute for Cultural Evolution. They invited me to speak at their summit, and offered to develop a digital version of the board-game.
The worldview-test was born!
By now, more than 12.000 people have taken the test on my website.
Teachers and professors use it in their classrooms, and leadership consultants use it with their clients.
It is also being applied globally, in a rich variety of research contexts, from developmental psychology to sustainability science, from environmental management to policy analysis.
The worldview-board-game travelled to different festivals and expositions in the Netherlands…
Tools for transformation
Only 17 questions long, the test is short, simple, and accessible. Yet it makes you think about life in pretty fundamental ways. It also makes you aware that others perceive and understand the world in ways that are often radically differently. Simple, yet powerful.
So after almost a decade of research, I decided to focus on applying my worldview-insights for positive, practical change ~ in organizations and educational institutions, for societal innovation and sustainable transformation.
Often I use the worldview-test, though not necessarily the digital version. I have found that the test stimulates people’s self-reflection and exploration.
After having done the test, most people get very curious about their results. Now they are listening to the research on worldviews in not merely a theoretical sense ~ suddenly it’s about them!
Strikingly, in the context of organizations, often one or two worldviews are dominant.
So the test becomes a mirror: reflecting the organizational culture, while also displaying what’s missing. Especially for organizations that aim to engage with the population as a whole, the discovery that their culture is rather limited in its perspectives can be a real eye-opener.
Feedback I’ve also received over the years is that engaging in some form of worldview-exploration as a group ‘opens up’ the collective space. People have shared they felt it allowed for more depth, understanding, and openness ~ in their dialogues, panel discussions, and other group work.
In the words of professor Lee Lynd, “you enhanced the relationships within the group, and you turned our subsequent discussions in a direction that was more gentle, more receptive to diverse positions, and more likely to find common ground.”
In the words of Eva Bik, director of the National Think-Thank, “more clarity about our values also brought depth to the panel discussion that followed.”
I always custom-design my sessions in response to the questions and needs of the company or organization. Next to the worldview-tool and model, I use other methods, such as Art of Hosting, the Work that Reconnects, Mindfulness, techniques from leadership development, and really anything that serves the larger process of reflection, exploration, and innovation.
Organizational change & societal innovation
In general, working with worldviews is thus a powerful way to improve our communications, collaborations, and strategies, and foster creativity and innovation.
By becoming aware of the box we operate from, the worldview-tool helps us ‘think out of the box.’
Worldviews help us understand “where we are at”. They shine light on the assumptions, attitudes, and ideas from which we approach the world. They give insight into our deeper values, motivations, and our organizational culture ~ both its potentials and its limitations.
They help us become more attuned to others’ worldviews. They thereby enhance how we work with others ~ supporting us to develop our communications and strategies in ways that are more inclusive and empowering.
Think about it. As long as we are not aware of our own worldview, we tend to develop strategies based on the (implicit) assumptions and values of that worldview.
However, these do generally not appeal to other worldviews, nor are they adept at tapping into their qualities and perspectives! Consciously including different worldview-perspectives therefore likely results in more innovative, robust, and reflexive strategies.
Lastly, market trends, changing values, and shifting opinions all take place within a larger historical-cultural context of changing worldviews. Understanding the logic of such changes help us anticipate future trends, address our current weaknesses, and respond to emerging possibilities.
I’m excited to work with you to empower your organization, culture, communication, and strategies!