Gamification to uncover talents…


Do you ever compliment you colleague out of the blue because (s)he is so talented? Don’t worry, neither do we. We don’t compliment co-workers out of the blue, we developed a game to support that – as a conversation starter.

It is called Talent Hold’em and it works so well, that over 1.000 professionals have used it so far. We developed it for the largest sports fashion and sneaker retailer in Europe in 2016. Since the response was so good, we iterated it and transformed it into a white-label version that ties into the ‘power-play’ concept of Bart Hufen and BrandNewGame.

The game is stupid simple and therefore, very effective. It costs only 15 minutes, but you can elaborate on how you use your talents and take about 30 minutes.

It works as follows; there is a stack of 50 talents and each player receives 5 cards. Each player takes turns, in that turn (s)he takes a card from the stack, compares it to the talents in their hand and discards one talent. So again, you have 5 talents in your hand. Then the next player does the samen and this continues until the stack is gone. Then players can discuss which talents they held on to and how they use these talents in daily work.

It was almost emotional to see how 60 strangers played the game in Ghent three months ago during an event (HRM in de overheid). These people had never met each other, but were playing a game… Each time someone discarded a card, they would describe why. This way immediately opening up to each other and showing their ‘flaws’ or ‘improvement’ points… So not only did they hold on to their strengths and explain them later (after all cards were gone), they also explained each ‘fold’…

The nice thing about the simplicity is that you can invent a lot of effective variations yourself, for instance the following:

1. If you know your team mates well: You hold on to the talents of the person next to you and explain the top 3 of the ones you held on to.
2. You lay down all the talents and pick one per turn and explain why this is the one you have OR would like to develop…
3. If you manage a large team, or in a secluded environment like a store, you hand over the deck to your team-mates and ask them to pick one talent that you should work on yourself OR help to develop.
4. You use all 50 talents to increase awareness on one each week. So the first week could be about ‘creativity’, the next week about ‘professionalism, the next tech-savvy etc. This will definitely increase talent-awareness in your team.
Apart from these variations, Talent Hold’em is an ideal conversation starter or kick-off session when you start a new project with team-mates you don’t know that well yet… Agile, scrum, change… yes… it all works. If you want to get a hold of your personal deck, come to our Gamification Masterclass or Workshops!