Vicki Davis, MPA
5 min readMay 3, 2021
D&D is Radical Collaboration

Let’s Make Radical Collaboration a Game of Dungeons & Dragons.

D&D is truly a magical game. I started playing it at the end of the pandemic with a friend as a vehicle to reconnect, and then I was invited to a full virtual table campaign. And it goes without saying, well, I’m in love with D&D. I immersed myself fully into the magic, wonder, adventure, and lore of playing this game with others.

Now, let me frame something for you. I’m a gamer, and I also love playing board games. Somehow I missed the D&D train. Choo Choo.

I started to realize that Twiggs & Co’s idea of radical collaboration, of combining the expertise, knowledge, and skillsets of amazing impact-focused people and business owners trying to solve our biggest, most impossible, complicated, and thorny problems together is a lot like D&D. This is a game that brings unlikely heroes to adventure together, to use their collective strengths, attributes, feats, and a little luck of the dice to defeat monsters and whatever the Game Master (GM) might throw at you to save the day.

Here is a quick super high-level understanding of the game for those who don’t know about D&D. People sit around a table (or virtual platform), one person (the GM)describes the world and its problems, and everyone else is a group of heroes/adventurers dealing with those problems using various skills and talents. In how the characters are collaborative rather than competitive an example of gameplay could be — The fighter holds off the monsters while the wizard tries to undo the curse, and the rogue breaks the prisoners out etc.

Just a quick pop culture shift to help further the understanding. The fellowship of the ring in Lord of the Rings (hobbits, elves, dwarves, humans etc) all have completely different skill sets, but they need to work together collaboratively in order for their epic adventure to succeed. I digress…

My generation is the generation of gamers. We grew up with Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario 3, and then Skyrim, World of WarCraft, Horizon Zero Dawn, and you know how the story goes…

So what does an entire generation of gaming get you? Well according to Jane McCongial’s TED talk, “Gaming Can Make a Better World”, 10,000 hours of gaming will lead to

  1. Urgent optimism (I will succeed now)
  2. Tight social fabric (trust)
  3. Blissful productivity (happy to be working hard)
  4. Epic meaning (awe-inspiring mission)

‘What is it in games that makes it feel impossible to fail even after you fail over and over. It is all about learning and collaborating” — Jane McCongial

But like I said, D&D is truly magical because it is designed to be collaborative, to play in-person and/or virtual. You are not competing with each other or ranked against someone else. You share in all of the victories, failures, learning, and planning together. All of the 21st-century skills are present. You build trust, learn how to think creatively, learn better communication skills, and solve problems through critical thinking and collaboration. You learn to be a leader both leading the charge and leading from behind. It is fun! It’s an immensely social situation where different personality types can try out vastly varying personality traits, and flavor them as they see fit (as long as you, as my GM puts it, don’t try to screw over another character or the team because we are here to have fun.)

So, we have an entire generation of seasoned experts in gaming, purpose-driven professionals wanting to change the world. What next? How can we use radical collaboration to shift the world together without feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of its problems? Let’s make a game out of it.

So regular collaboration is something that happens in the office and goes like this: Susan manages client worries when the deadlines have to shift, which gives Alan enough time to finish the project etc. Radical Collaboration is a little more epic.

Radical Collaboration is the fellowship of the ring and goes something like this — “Our collective contribution to creates a world more aligned with our community-centered values. We connect our colleagues with other groups of impact-driven humans who can benefit from our individual superpowers. Radical collaboration allows us to stand on the shoulder of giants and use our abilities to help leaders in businesses, governments, and nonprofits sustainably execute on their missions and prove that we can create an exponential impact by being a force for good.” — Jeff Kinsey.

So let’s find your superpower, figure out how it stacks with everyone else’s superpower, gamify to make it fun, so that we can shift the world together.

Are you always 10 steps ahead, have all the skills, and ready to be the first to jump into the fight, well then maybe you are playing as our Rogue.

Are you good in social situations, witty, charming, and understand the use of performance (and a bit of magic) to influence minds, and elevate souls to new levels of heroics? Well, you might want to play as a Bard.

Do you have a profound understanding of healing social wounds and the ability to cast incredible problem-solving magic? You might be our Cleric.

So what if you are thinking, I don’t have any of those things. I’m a photographer, but I still want to impact the world. No worries, fellow impacteer. We’ve got you. As a standard action, you capture a moment in time to be shared as if by telepathy. This spell works regardless of language and as long as the sender and recipients are on the same plane of existence.

Or maybe we can uncover your superpower like this: Once per business encounter Vickles (That’s my D&D handle) inspires allies to transform challenges into opportunities.

Once per day, Dana spends her concentration point to find ways to be dangerously collaborative with others.

After a long rest and one hour of meditation, Laura can deliver one keynote speech using her charisma to create good trouble.

So here is your hero’s call to action. Send me your superpower, your niche, your gift, your feat, your ability or desire to impact the world. For funzies, I will translate that to a D&D character or feat, and with our powers combined, we too can create epic radical collaborations to shift the world together.

(You can make your own character if you have some familiarity with the D&D world or use this handy-dandy character creation tool. )

(Shh! Yes I know it is technically Pathfinder and not D&D 5e rules, but stay with me here, nerds.)

Let’s get social — Connect with me on Linkedin or on Instagram.

Vicki Davis, MPA

Is building a more connected & purpose-driven community . She is an expert relationship manager, passionate servant leader, & an exponential impact generator.