Image for post
Image for post

Happy New Year! As we head into 2021, I want to share a personal story that I hope sparks some community-building inspiration for you.

If this past year has taught us anything, it’s how much we all depend on our communities — and what happens when those connections get disrupted.

This year, we’ve had to rethink and rebuild our social connections, & move them online. We zoomed with our colleagues — with our families…. our friends… even with farm animals.


Image for post
Image for post

We all know that customer empathy helps us build and sell successful products.

But doing it well can be tricky — especially when you’re emotionally invested in what you’re creating. Too often, we look for signals that support our assumptions — rather than narrowing our focus and engaging deeply with EXACTLY the right people.

Innovation expert Bob Moesta understands this better than almost anyone — and he’s got some power-tools to share. Lucky for us, Bob is a Game Thinking Academy VIP Coach — and last month, he delivered a mind-blowing extended session for our members 🤯

We’re about to publish a juicy excerpt, in which Bob…


Image for post
Image for post

Our next session of Game Thinking Certification is coming up soon, so I wanted to tell you why I teach this program, and how it came to be.

This video is the first in a series. In the next few videos, I’ll share details about our curriculum and format — and spotlight our Certification graduates.

For the past two decades, I’ve worked with game companies, tech startups and global brands to build and ship innovative products. I was part of the early design team for The Sims, Rock Band, Covet Fashion, Happify, Ultima Online, Netflix, and eBay.

I saw up close how these risky projects came to life, and grew into massive category-defining hits. …


Image for post
Image for post

Today is August 31st 2020. Here in the US, Coronavirus is still spreading & killing thousands every week — and we watch the party in power blatantly flout their own guidance and declare that it’s over.

Instead of returning to school, our kids are learning from home — while families struggle daily to manage a changing situation, and educators are bullied into putting themselves in harms way.

Unemployment is skyrocketing, especially among the most vulnerable –while the stock market is propped up by short-term economic tactics that will cause long-term harm.

We’re heading into Fall 2020 with fear & uncertainty. And we know from history that times like these are ripe for exploitation. People don’t know who to trust — and desperately want to hear a comforting narrative that explains what’s going on and convinces them that things WILL get better. …


Image for post
Image for post

This week, the Kpop band BTS released Dynamite, a joyful mix of disco-flavored funk with their signature smooth vocals and KILLER dance moves.

Dynamite broke Youtube records and delighted fans worldwide. This morning, one of my students asked me “So what’s the deal with BTS? They keep showing up in my Recommended…”

There is SO MUCH to say about this immensely talented group. For now, I’ll let their music speak for itself. Have a listen to Dynamite — the song that broke the Youtube record for most likes in 24 hours.

They also released a “B-side” video remix which features behind-the-scenes footage and bloopers that delight the fans — and YES that include ME — I stan BTS, as if you couldn’t…


Image for post
Image for post

Where do great ideas come from? How can you tell if your idea will make sense?

Jesse Schell has been designing VR experiences for nearly 30 years — and he’s learned a few things about finding and following the best ideas. Jesse stopped by Gschool recently to share some hard-won advice for how to design great VR games.


Image for post
Image for post

Recently, one of my coaching clients shared some fascinating findings from a series of playtests. Their team mocked up several different approaches to showcasing creative work — including a “best of” gallery of other people’s work, based on how many LIKES the art had collected.

A few testers found the gallery inspiring — but most found it off-putting and unappealing. One person said “Seeing that list would make me feel depressed about my own work.”

As a game designer with a psychology background, I’m not surprised. …


Image for post
Image for post

At the Game Thinking Academy, we work with innovative teams to build breakthrough products, games and services. And 100% of our work is remote.

As a leader, a big part of my job is to help my teams stay positive, productive and motivated. Through trial and error, I’ve learned what works — and what doesn’t — when you’re managing and motivating a distributed product team.

Here are three simple, actionable leadership tips for maintaining the mental health and productivity of your remote team during challenging times.

Leadership Tip #1: Take time to get personal

Remote meetings can feel flat & impersonal. But they don’t have to.

To keep productivity high, I always make an agenda. And to bolster our collective mental health & camaraderie, I always build time into that agenda to foster a human connection with everyone there. …


Image for post
Image for post

We just got back from 5 days in Bass Lake, CA — a peaceful slice o’ heaven near the Yosemite South Gate.

About

Amy Jo Kim

Game designer, startup coach, author, entrepreneur gamethinking.io

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store