Have you formed any new habits that relieve pandemic-era stress?

We’ve all had to develop and tweak our coping strategies this past year. Not surprisingly, apps that help us de-stress have surged in popularity.

During the pandemic, the meditation app Calm won over millions (including me) with its simple design, soothing celebrity voices, and super-pleasurable daily meditation habit.

If you want to build retention with a less-is-more UX strategy & smart habit-stacking — this app is worth a deeper look.

Last week, a brilliant designer in our Digital Health mastermind shared a powerful story about leadership.

At a company-wide meeting shortly after the January 6th insurrection, her CEO completely failed to address what had happened.

He didn’t acknowledge or mention the traumatizing situation that was distressing and distracting his team. And as a result, many employees wondered… why?

Was he oblivious? Or something worse?

That vacuum sowed further anxiety and doubt among the staff. She went to HR to offer feedback and get some clarity — and was abruptly. shut down.

So… instead of stewing, she called a department-wide meeting…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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. …

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…

Amy Jo Kim

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

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