Social games that ignite dialogue, empathy and action

The challenge

In order to make progress in any context, whether it’s a community or a workplace, well-functioning diverse groups, grounded in real relationships, are vital. However, engaging people to participate meaningfully in activities that explore important themes – such as interpersonal relationships, collective action and civic change – remains a significant challenge for communities and workplaces.

The service

MadeByPlay is a venture by Shift that creates ‘social games’ with communities and workplaces to ignite dialogue, boost empathy and stimulate collective action among the players.

Social games are playful toolkits and activities that alter or strengthen relationships and help people to function better together – whether in communities or in the workplace. They achieve this by doing three things really well:

We worked with MadeByPlay to create a two-hour game experience to open dialogue and build understanding amongst members of our team at the start of a strategy day. The effect was that people really listened to each other with the understanding that we’re all working towards the same goal.

Royal Society for Blind Children

  1. Social games put people in the lead and encourage players to collectively take ownership over their experience. When people feel ownership and immersion, this generates a state of openness to explore, discover and adapt – together.
  2. They put aside hierarchies, roles and identities, to create environments that give permission for people to say and do things they normally wouldn’t in real world environments.
  3. By abstracting everyday scenarios into gameplay, players can detach from their own roles and step into the world of others. This builds empathy, helps people understand perspectives different to their own and has the power to shift mindsets.

This venture is built on Shift’s 10 years of work strengthening communities activating participation with Historypin, King’s Cross Story Palace, and Storybox. The business model behind MadeByPlay intentionally combines social impact and financial sustainability.




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