Wednesday, April 26

SimWord of the Day: Ownership

Seven years from now, when we look back at educational simulations, we will see quite a few themes that are used and adapted across multiple examples and even genres, just as much as weapons and vehicles have proliferated in computer games.

One such theme that will be used, and ultimately standardized in its depiction, will be ownership.

There are so many flavors of ownership across enterprises.

Just to rattle of a few:
  • Ownership of clients
  • Ownership of ideas
  • Ownership of team
  • Ownership of employees
  • Ownership of a cell phone
  • Ownership of managers
  • Ownership of projects
  • Ownership of territories
  • Ownership of ownership of organizations
  • Ownership of company
  • Ownership of deliverable
  • Ownership of your own time

I know the concept of ownership will proliferate in educational simulations because:

  • Ownership require finesses. If you have too much ownership, you loose support and buy-in, and you may define the opportunity too narrowly. But if you have too little ownership, you loose control and accountability.
  • Ownership is a classic "fourth paradox" skill, easy to describe and challenging to appropriately apply.
  • Ownership of something with actuator properties involves trade-offs and benefits
  • Ownership often requires indirect influence, something that works well for simulations.
  • The nuance of ownership is not handled in traditional formal learning programs, in part because it can't.
  • Ownership can also be depicted graphically nicely, even if real-life isn't so clean.
  • And finally, the notions of both increasing and decreasing ownership is critical in all big skills.

George Orwell wrote about how not having a word limits one's ability to think about the topic. Ownership today might be an unskill, a concept that we can't get a handle on because the definitions are so vague and we apply them so irregularly as to seldom learn to master them. Hopefully, that will change.

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