Using Games to Develop Cross-Functional Teams in Distributed Workforces

Conference Archive

Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2018 - March 29, 2018

Phillip Crockford


Danny Ryan

Director, Technical Training

Many companies depend on geographically dispersed workforces to succeed. Yet managers who lead global teams are up against stiff challenges. Forming successful work groups is difficult enough when people share the same office, but when team members come from different cultural, linguistic, and functional backgrounds, misunderstandings can arise more easily. Without a plan to help distributed teams work well together, accountability can become problematic and cooperation can deteriorate into distrust.

In this case study session, you will discover how Autodesk is improving the performance of global teams by giving them coaching and coordination practice inside a game. You will learn how vicarious learning, coaching, and reflective practice inside an MMORPG can be used to cultivate skills and sensibilities for building trust and accountability across time zones and cultures. You’ll explore how immersive simulations parallel the essential communication and coordination challenges of real-world situations, enabling your team members to learn from mistakes in psychological safety. You’ll learn how to craft the reflective practice and action learning experiments that develop world-class team skills.

In this session, you will learn:

  • What makes a good program design for developing competency in team skills, and what matters most for developing these skills across different geographies, cultures, and functions
  • How games can be effective in building team skills, and which game platform characteristics are most effective for role-based coordination practice
  • What outcomes this game-based method is producing in clinical care, EPC, and public sector operational environments
  • What evidence is most relevant to demonstrate the success of this approach to stakeholders


Intermediate to advanced designers, developers, managers, directors, and senior leaders (VP, CLO, executive, etc.).

Technology discussed in this session:

Videoconferencing (Zoom), MMORPGs (WoW), VoIP communications, instant messaging collaboration and social media (Discord), mobile integrated LMS, VoIP data capture, and sentiment analysis.


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