Digital Games and the Hero's Journey in Management Workshops and Tertiary Education


  • Carsten Busch
  • Florian Conrad
  • Martin Steinicke


blended game-based learning, physically interactive digital games, hero's journey, innovation and change management training, teaching game-based learning


Joseph Campbell's Monomyth not only provides a well‑proven pattern for successful storytelling, it may also help to guide teams and team leaders through the challenges of change and innovation processes. In project "HELD: Innovationsdramaturgie nach dem Heldenprinzip" researchers of the University of the Arts Berlin and the Berlin Gameslab, part of the University of Applied Sciences HTW‑Berlin, team up to examine the applicability of the Hero's Journey to change management using an adaptation of Campbell's pattern called „Heldenprinzip®“. The project's goal is not to teach the stages of the Monomyth as mere facts but to enable participants of training courses and interventions to actually experience its concepts using a portfolio of creative and aesthetic methods. While a pool of aesthetic methods ‑ like drawing, performing or role‑playing ‑ is already being used, the Gameslab subproject qualitatively researches the potentials for enriching and complementing these methods with interactive digital media and games. This paper discusses three types of game based learning treatments to be used in training and intervention sessions as well as teaching the Monomyth in a game based learning university course. The first option is providing participants with a game that follows the Hero's Journey and inducing them to reflect on the experience and its relation to the learning goal. An alternative strategy is to make participants go through a game sequence broaching issues that are relevant for a stage or the journey of change in general. Last but not least, digital equivalents of the non‑digital aesthetic methods can be constructed using digital games or digitally enhanced set‑ups for playful interactions. All three treatments have their merits and pitfalls, which are discussed in relation to the identified game‑based learning scenarios: self‑study, blended game‑based learning and face‑to‑face sessions. Furthermore, these scenarios are compared while specific techniques boundary conditions are highlighted.



1 Feb 2013