For some time now we have been convinced that our online simulation game platform Senaryon is a great place for modern and interactive learning as well as leading the way to innovative simulation game work. All the better that the „Germany, land of ideas“ initiative thinks so, too. While around 100 students from all over the world were busy on Senaryon, negotiating different aspects of the EU in three simulation games, we had the pleasure of being honoured as one of Germany’s 100 most innovative projects on this year’s motto “Thinking openly – allowing the new to develop“. The awards ceremony revealed Germany’s diversity in innovative power, from voluntary social initiatives and small start-ups to medium size businesses as well as German business heavyweights. And in the midst of all this: planpolitik.
Only a few days later, we were in amongst the action at the Grimme Online Award, providing us with yet another cause for celebration: the jury of experts gave our game on media literacy JUNAIT the klicksafe recognition award. This, the jury concurs, will most likely lead to even more interest in the game from schools and other educational institutions. All we can say is thank you very much!
This award-laden week gave us great reassurance that taking the plunge almost four years ago may have been a journey into the complete unknown but ended up opening up our little company to a whole new world. Big smiley!
This October, following the first successful completion of Global Playgrounds in the autumn of last year, we look forward to another round of workshops taking place in Izmir, Turkey. Initiated by Deutsch-Türkische Jugendbrücke and financed by the Federal Foreign Office, the weeklong gathering will see 24 young people from Germany and Turkey develop innovative and interactive game ideas for refugee work. They will be guided by planpolitik and our Turkish colleagues MerkeziSağlıkta Genç Yaklaşımlar Derneği (Y-PEER Türkiye). Apart from experimenting with new ideas for games and establishing prototypes, the aim is to promote and strengthen exchange between youngsters as well as maintaining the dialogue between Turkey and Germany, a matter of particular importance in these politically challenging times.
Those interested in taking part have until the beginning of August to apply – be aware that there is high demand for a place in this event… Nevertheless, feel free to spread the news on this in your networks, thereby guaranteeing that a diverse group of creative young people can join in what we ourselves love doing – developing creative and innovative game formats. Please contact our colleague Alex Kuschel (kuschel[at]planpolitik.de).
Countless stories about violent horror clowns, deadly AIDS bananas or elusive elites conspiring to control global events have long engrained themselves in our online consciousness. They are all over YouTube and Facebook. In social media, millions of users regularly share articles and videos, trusting they are genuine and believing themselves to be enlightening those who are less informed than them.
But exactly how to deal with such posts? How to spot and neutralise fake news and conspiracy theories? A browser app we are currently developing for North Rhine-Westphalia’s Agency for Civic Education aims at playfully conveying such skills. Already, we are having quite a lot of fun coming up with the kind of stories that can be used to practise strategies for testing genuineness and convincing others that they have been duped by a piece of fake news or a conspiracy theory. The fact that this is usually not the easiest task has a lot to do with the all-too-human tendency to just believe anything that supports our worldview – even if hard numbers and facts tell a different story. Therefore, the aim of the game is not to completely dissolve a conspiracy but to convince virtual friends that there are obvious gaps in fact-based truth content.
„People are, have always been and will always be on the move“. A realisation as simple as it is important, did set the tone for the project „Making migration just, worldwide“ at Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Starting in late 2016, numerous experts from within the foundation as well as from other organisations addressed the topic, thinking beyond day-to-day political events. On the basis of social democratic values, they developed 10 messages on migration policy. Underlying all considerations was the right of the individual to live a self-determined life and the international community’s duty to address this urgent problem, e.g. by improving living conditions in the global South.
Our role in the project was rather varied. On the one hand, we moderated all four workshops in which topics were found, message content discussed and developed with experts. On the other, we were guiding editors in the wording process and brought a graphic design and film agency into the mix. It was the agency’s job to visually convey the messages by creating a brochure (in German), some flyers, a webpage and a video, ensuring that content and visuals feel as though they are cast from one mould and offer an easy way into the complex topic of migration.
For the second time within the space of a year, we have written a simulation game on grid expansion and energy transition for Deutsche Gesellschaft e.V. The first time round, the focus was on citizens’ protests against a new power line. This time, the game was about changes to the energy infrastructure, including a smart grid. This topic places our finger right on the pulse. This year, major customers have begun installing intelligent electricity meters, so-called smart meters. Soon, private households are to follow. The aim is to restructure the grid in such a way that the fluctuating new energies can be better integrated. Critics, however, have voiced concerns to the Federal Government: they’re worried about a lack of data security and towering costs. Well, that for sure is enough material for an exciting simulation game.
But our part in the project does not only include the simulation game. We have also created an accompanying website. Go to netzausbaumachtschule.de and see for yourself! After logging in, you will not only find game materials (in German), but also an information space and a quiz as well as all further information on the project. The project is designed for pupils of 15 or older. However, it will be of interest to anybody with an interest in the future of energy supply.
Since 2013, we have regularly travelled to idyllic Tambach-Dietharz for an EU training course for civil servants of the Federal State of Thuringia. This year, we premiered two new formats: in April, our seminar „Current focal points in European integration“ took stock of Europe’s problem situations, considered historical causes and attempted a look into the future. For the participants, the discussion of fundamental questions and EU visions made for a welcome change from seminars on EU institutions, legislative procedures and everyday detail in EU politics. The topical bird’s eye view actually inspired fresh enthusiasm for the European idea and gave participants new motivation for their daily work.
The second new development was a seminar on complexity management as part of a management training course. The programme was no less complex than the seminar title suggested. After all, the topic includes aspects of leadership, team building and crisis management. Naturally, we felt it important to convey a more direct experience of complexity and train participants to deal with it by using interactive methods. What had been learned was immediately applied in two simulation games on the economic cycle and on a firm undergoing a serious crisis. The development of strategies for solutions to complex problems in an everyday work situation marked the end of three intensive training days.