Can We Change the Rules of the Game?

Jen van der MeerBusiness Model Practice


Can We Change the Rules of the Game?

Did you play Monopoly over the holiday weekend? The first time I played, I cornered the market on the fancy neighborhoods: Park Place and Boardwalk, that whole corner from Atlantic Avenue through Pennsylvania Avenue. I bought houses and hotels and saw the money come in, and my enemies (my friends and family) crushed, destroyed, and bankrupted.

I was five.

I was hooked from the start.

Monopoly teaches kids about winner-take-all dynamics, fierce competition, the rewards you get from taking risk. In fact many here in New York City believe that this way of being is natural human behavior. Winner-take-all is the way American business and Wall Street function.

But this past Thanksgiving, I was in Amsterdam with my family, at the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands. We played a treasure hunt game offered by the museum to families – each of us issued an older version iPhone in a case, and instructed by a funny man to seek out clues and secrets of the museum’s treasures. It was fun. But it was not competitive.

Thanks to intelligent game design and clever use of Bluetooth, our phones and our bodies were always in sync as we discovered each clue.

We all progressed together.

We all won together.

Family Game at Rijksmuseum

A family playing the Treasure Hunt game at the Rijksmuseum

Here’s a holiday provocation for all of us who think we are changing the world through business: Are the rules always set for a winner-take-all outcome? In an era of connected, complex, and connected webs of business and relationships, can we imagine different rules of the game?

I’m not talking about a regulated response to income inequality. I’m talking changing the purpose of business: to intentionally create companies that benefit people in a given community while also replenishing the biosphere.

The power to determine the fate of business is in the hands, and minds, and creativity of entrepreneurs.

Do you want to change the rules of the game? What kind of company you are trying to become? When driving a business forward, it is important to have a clear set of underlying principles that define your business.  And I don’t mean your mission statement.  You can set up a clear definition by answers 9 simple questions.  This will deliver better customers, more committed employees, clear company policies and better overall performance.  Learn more about Reason Street’s guide  to discover what type of business you are creating.
What Kind of Company Am I?To learn more about the many new types of social impact and hybrid structures, and get access to our decision and self-assessment tool for founders launching new ventures:  “What Kind of Company Am I?” Reach out to us and tell us about your goals. You can reach us at hello at reasonstreet dot co. 

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