We know that playing the game changes people, changes environments, it changes things. We know it in our hearts, we see it with our eyes, we can feel it and sometimes we can even touch it. It echos in the tears, the smiles, the hugs, the silences or the in the words of those who enter the game and care to share their journeys with others. However, the questions we ask ourselves are not if the game has an impact, but what impact it has, how does it happen and towards what is that change going. Understanding it allows us to play a more conscious role and re-direct our efforts not only for change but more importantly towards transformation, i.e., change with a purpose and a heading.
Our journey of understanding the impact of the Go Deep game in different stakeholders started in 2017 within the European project GoToDiversity and the task of building a Theory of Change (ToC hereafter). This was our first attempt to build a theory on how change happens – from activities, to outputs, to outcomes and finally to impacts – and also to analyse if we are actually having the impact we believe we have. The ToC approach lead us into interesting avenues but it ultimately failed to really allow us to navigate those portals of transformation that we open once we start playing the cards. More recently and within an EPIM Learning grant we were able to dig deeper and explore non-linear, complex and iterative chains of transformation that have led us to more beyond a direct causality approach – ToC style – and towards a more fluid, participant-led approach that we call here “Narratives of Transformation”.