The Ifill-Raynolds Award is a memorial award for outstanding contributions to simulation gaming. Through it, NASAGA recognizes one of its members who develops and/or uses simulation games with joy and serious purpose, in the spirit which NASAGA’s friends and colleagues Don Ifill and Gennie Raynolds brought to all their work, and specifically to their work with simulation gaming. The award recipient’s work should respect and make use of the power and spiritual richness within practical settings. In an exemplary way, their work should:
- Foster a sense of community among those who interact with it.
- Deepen understanding of a cultural, organizational, and/or global common good as it provides for interaction with the situation(s) and/or system(s) being modeled.
- Enable active, positive listening by participants to themselves and/or those different from themselves, enhancing their understanding of themselves and others.
- Contribute to strengthening and/or changing an organization’s or group’s climate and spirit while building a deeper understanding of its purpose. They should be well rounded in simulation and gaming, with experience in several areas: facilitation, design, educator/trainer, researcher, writer.
This Year’s Winner
The 2015 Ifill-Raynolds winner is Greg Koeser. Greg has been an avid game evangelist all his life and embodies all of these qualities and more. He began playing poker from the age of 4 years old, bridge from 10 years old, and has become a huge fan of modern board games for the last 20 years. Greg has been a consultant, a corporate trainer and a self-proclaimed “undercover clown” who believes that learning should be a joyful process.
As a natural born game designer, he is gifted at designing or using existing games to fit a certain culture or audience. As the founder of Short Attention Span Games, he has specialized in creating games and activities where getting involved isn’t a hurdle. His guideline is that the rules can be explained in a minute or less. Through these games for learning, game facilitating and debriefing, and game design, Greg shares his joys with others and wishes to bring happiness and thoughtful understanding.
Contribution to the NASAGA Community
Greg knew that he had found his tribe and his calling within the first day at his first NASAGA conference in 2007. This community embraced the concept of playful learning and freely shared tips, encouragement and resources. He left the conference knowing that he wanted to combine his love of games with his corporate training consulting.
He joined the board of directors after his first conference and served the organization for 6 years, 2 ½ years as chairman. During his tenure he was particularly skillful at creating an inspiring and positive environment for board members. His capacity to inspire a culture that was fun and playful was evident in the annual conferences.
Greg has welcomed great new experts from the games and learning community who have provided significant contributions to NASAGA. (Scott Nicholson, Anastasia Salter and Melissa Peterson, to name a few) He has also contributed to the NASAGA programs – facilitating in certificate programs and many workshops.
When asked how NASAGA is different, Greg described it as a “Hugging Conference.” The friendships that are formed over the 4-day conference are strong and enduring. Unlike most conferences that can be isolating and competitive, the NASAGA culture is open and supportive.
This is one area where Greg is a great role model for all of us. He eagerly and generously supports others who are in the process of designing, testing and refining their own games. His goal for 2016 is to continue growing Short Attention Span Games and to help others build and refine their own game designs.
Linda Keller is a master facilitator and designer of meetings, retreats and learning events that are participant centered, memorable and actionable. She is a long time NASAGA member. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org