Young Experts from the Netherlands Water Partnership played the Nexus! Challenge


Our game leaders Jaspreet Singh and Jeroen Koch share their experience:  

Perspectivity was invited to host the Nexus! Challenge for the alumni of Young Experts Program (YEP) at the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) office in The Hague. YEP offers the opportunity to young professionals to work on projects in an intercultural environment for 1 to 2 years. The projects are typically related to rejuvenation in the water, agrofood and renewable energy sectors, and hence the interest of NWP to organize the Nexus! Challenge for its current members and alumni.

Jeroen and I represented Perspectivity as the facilitators for the two tables at the session. Like most Nexus! sessions, the participants took their time to settle into their roles and the flow of the game. But the early uncertainty also results in behaviors that can either help to bring calm and collaboration or mistrust and unhealthy competition. And the dynamics on the two tables could not have been more different. While one of the tables naturally drifted towards increased collaboration and preserving resources, the other table experienced division between one team (higher scoring team) and the rest. In a very rarely observed dynamic, one of the tables combined and shared all their resources between the corporates and the governments, planned their moves for the benefit of the table and in a first (at least in my experience over the many years) provided only a team (or table) score and not individual scores. On the other hand, the second table witnessed continued partisanship to secure maximum resources and the highest score resulting as in many sessions ultimately low individual and table scores.

The contrasting outcomes between the two tables with participants who are all YEP alumni, having worked on projects on food, water and energy in various parts of the world led to the debrief session involving many self-reflections from real world examples as well as some disbelief on how the game created circumstances which resulted in certain behaviors. Both tables had similar starts but at the critical rounds 3 & 4, where on one table the teams started to discuss a method to share resources and collaborate among everyone and willing to show trust, the other table saw teams join hands to ensure the one team which was hoarding resources and looking to increase revenue can be stopped in its tracks.

The feedback received after the game session was very positive with many participants keen to bring the game to their current organizations. One of the participants whose experience of the event exceeded expectations had this to say,

A fantastic idea that combines learning with playing an exciting game.

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