Aaron Dignan: How to Use Games to Excel at Life and Work
Disruptive Heroes, Aaron Dignan
Aaron Dignan is a well-kept secret in the world of digital strategy, working directly with many Fortune 100 leadership teams to help their organizations succeed in a world where digital forces are disrupting decades of tradition.
In early 2007, he co-founded the internationally recognized digital strategy firm Undercurrent with two partners, well-known blogger and World Economic Forum YGL Josh Spear and Boulder-based entrepreneur Rob Schuham. Undercurrent has established a reputation as a premier digital strategy firm grown by referral alone due to an extreme non-disclosure policy and a resistance to press. Clients past and present include GE, PepsiCo, JWT/Ford Motor Company, Virgin, AB/InBev, Disney, HBO, LiveNation, Don Q Rum and many others. With 24 consultants and growing fast, Undercurrent represents the largest collection of pure digital strategists in one place. While the firm typically eschews awards of any kind, its work with JWT/Team Detroit and Ford—called the Fiesta Movement—was awarded a Gold Effie. The shared vision for Undercurrent is to build an organization capable of solving the world’s most complex and challenging problems with a digital worldview.
Prior to Undercurrent, he co-founded Brandplay while still a psychology student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. As a brand strategy partnership, Brandplay focused on early stage brand planning and naming with clients across the United States. In this role at the helm of literally hundreds of group meetings and workshops, he mastered the art of facilitation and consensus building.
Dignan is known as a dynamic, humorous and strikingly honest presenter. He has been known to invigorate and confound audiences with topics like Digital as a Force for Cultural Change, Lessons From the Fringe of Digital Trends, Design Without Intent, The Game Of Life and Solving Problems With a Digital Worldview. He has delivered speeches, presentations and training at GE’s Leadership Development Center, the CUSP Conference, the TED Conference, Digital Hollywood, Web 2.0, CommunityNext, Columbia College, The University of Colorado, Interesting New York and dozens of national brands.
Dignan is the author of Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success, which was released in early 2011. 901-754-9404.
Lessons Games Teach Us About Enhanced Performance
Playing games is one of the most popular activities in our culture, generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue and absorbing literally billions of hours per week. Yet we still conceptualize games as frivolous and distinct from the meaningful activities of the real world. The truth is that human beings are built to play—our brains are wired for the kind of experience that games provide—and play is just another word for learning, under optimal conditions. Looking around our world for signs of play, we begin to see games unfolding on top of everyday life. Boy Scouts earning merit badges and business travelers collecting frequent flier miles are behaving a lot more like gamers than we might expect. And this kind of thing is happening everywhere. So what does it all mean? It means that we’re capable of playing games with the systems that govern our real life activities, and that when we do, we’re more engaged, motivated, and likely to succeed. Aaron Dignan has explored this new breed of games in preparation for the release of his new book on the subject, and has returned with some lessons for anyone who wants to turn their office, classroom, or home into something more like a game. These lessons include:
- What is a game and why do they matter
- What are the most powerful game ingredients and how can we use them
- What two forces hold us back in any system
- How to design a behavioral game for any situation
Tapping Into The Digital Layer
The advent of an ever-present digital connection is like the moon landing of our age. Now anything is possible. Disruptive technology in nearly every industry is challenging assumptions about leverage, scale, and what it takes to be successful. Expectations—from consumers and the c-suite—are sky high. Success for large and complex organizations lies in their ability to adapt to these changes and use their scale to their advantage before it’s too late. Aaron Dignan works with global brands like GE and PepsiCo to help them make sense of a cultural transformation that is moving so fast, it’s a full-time job for the team of digital strategists he leads in New York. In this presentation, he shares and explains examples of innovations occurring at the fringes of the digital space, relates their underlying significance back to mainstream business, and shares a roadmap for succeeding in the digital age, with lessons like:
- How to spot the next big thing online
- Who your online competition really is
- When to ignore, monitor, partner, or acquire
- Why micro-targeting creates big results
- Why utility is the future of your digital experiences
The Game Frame Workshop
The Game Frame Workshop will take your company through a crash course in tackling challenges at work from the perspective of game design. Participants will workshop existing business
challenges and walk away thinking like a game designer - equipped with the seeds and buds of solutions. This two day workshop is broken up into three sections: Play, Learn and Design.
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