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Aaron Dignan    

Founder of The Ready, Business Consultant & Author

Everywhere he looks, Aaron Dignan sees the same phenomenon. Our most trusted and important institutions—in business, healthcare, government, philanthropy, and beyond – are struggling. They’re confronted with the fact that the scale and bureaucracy that once made them strong are liabilities in an era of constant change. For the past ten years, he has studied organizations and teams with a new way of working that prioritizes adaptivity and autonomy over efficiency and control. Dignan contends that teams everywhere need to join them in the future of work.

As the founder of The Ready—a global organizational transformation and coaching practice—he helps companies large and small adopt new forms of self-organization and dynamic teaming. Clients include Johnson & Johnson, Charles Schwab, Kaplan, Microsoft, Lloyds Bank, Citibank, Rabobank, Boeing, Macy’s, Mailchimp, Airbnb, Sweetgreen, Dropbox, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York Public Radio, and charity: water.

As the founder of Murmur—a SaaS startup that helps teams improve through the magic of working agreements—he’s building a platform that will allow every team on the planet to define and share their ways of working.

Dignan is co-host of the Brave New Work podcast, an active angel investor and helps build partnerships between the startups and end-ups he advises. He’s also a co-founder of Responsive.org. And he has sat on advisory boards for GE, American Express, PepsiCo, and the Cooper Hewitt, as well as the board of directors for Smashburger. He is the author of Game Frame (Free Press, 2011) and Brave New Work (Portfolio 2019).

Speech Topics

The Game Frame Workshop

The Game Frame Workshop will take your company through a crash course in tackling challenges at work from the perspective of game design. Participants will workshop existing business challenges and walk away thinking like a game designer - equipped with the seeds and buds of solutions. This two day workshop is broken up into three sections: Play, Learn and Design.

Day 1-

Play: Teams get a chance to experience what's great about games first hand. We build a custom game designed to prepare your company for the rest of the workshop. Our custom built games are collaborative and inspire teams to test their skills with a variety of playful and active indoor and outdoor challenges, which culminate in a team-based competition to design a balsa wood structure that can withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure.

Learn: Participates become students in our Game Frame 101 speech and presentation. They'll learn what makes games fun, rewarding and popular, as well as how to apply the principles of gaming to alleviate boredom and other challenges of the workplace.

Day 2-

Design: After reiterating our Game Frame methodology, small teams work together to tackle the real problems that face your company's business. By the end of this session, participates walk away with actionable game-like systems to improve their everyday workplace.

This two day curriculum can easily be customized and adjusted for a variety of venues and schedules by request. Rejuvenate your business, by taking it through the game frame. It's game time baby!

Tapping Into The Digital Layer

The advent of an ever-present digital connection is like the moon landing of our age. Now anything is possible. Disruptive technology in nearly every industry is challenging assumptions about leverage, scale, and what it takes to be successful. Expectationsfrom consumers and the c-suiteare sky high. Success for large and complex organizations lies in their ability to adapt to these changes and use their scale to their advantage before its too late. Aaron Dignan works with global brands like GE and PepsiCo to help them make sense of a cultural transformation that is moving so fast, its a full-time job for the team of digital strategists he leads in New York. In this presentation, he shares and explains examples of innovations occurring at the fringes of the digital space, relates their underlying significance back to mainstream business, and shares a roadmap for succeeding in the digital age, with lessons like:

  • How to spot the next big thing online

  • Who your online competition really is

  • When to ignore, monitor, partner, or acquire

  • Why micro-targeting creates big results

  • Why utility is the future of your digital experiences

Lessons Games Teach Us About Enhanced Performance

Playing games is one of the most popular activities in our culture, generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue and absorbing literally billions of hours per week. Yet we still conceptualize games as frivolous and distinct from the meaningful activities of the real world. The truth is that human beings are built to playour brains are wired for the kind of experience that games provideand play is just another word for learning, under optimal conditions. Looking around our world for signs of play, we begin to see games unfolding on top of everyday life. Boy Scouts earning merit badges and business travelers collecting frequent flier miles are behaving a lot more like gamers than we might expect. And this kind of thing is happening everywhere. So what does it all mean? It means that were capable of playing games with the systems that govern our real life activities, and that when we do, were more engaged, motivated, and likely to succeed. Aaron Dignan has explored this new breed of games in preparation for the release of his new book on the subject, and has returned with some lessons for anyone who wants to turn their office, classroom, or home into something more like a game. These lessons include:

  • What is a game and why do they matter

  • What are the most powerful game ingredients and how can we use them

  • What two forces hold us back in any system

  • How to design a behavioral game for any situation


Spotlight: Aaron Dignan The CEO of digital shop Undercurrent clowns around a bit in his SoHo office
Aaron Dignan has a word of advice: Make work more like play. Dignan, a Gen Y technophile and CEO of Undercurrent, a digital consulting firm, advances his philosophy in a new book, Game Frame.
Aaron Dignan: How to Use Games to Excel at Life and Work
Play is nature’s learning engine, says games researcher and author Aaron Dignan. In other words, we’re hardwired to enjoy games

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