Simulated realities, technology so advanced they have rendered the human body invulnerable to injury, disease and decay, and characters named “The Black Scrivener,” “Quicksilver Buddha” and the “Dream Witch.” Despite what you may be thinking, no, it’s not the plot of the next Star Trek movie – it’s the basis of “Inheritance,” an interactive exploration of live action role-playing, or “LARP” that recently took place at the inVentiv Health PR Group office in NYC.
LARP is similar to an improvised play performed without an audience in which you get to play the starring role. Participants create a character and meet up with other players at a predetermined place – in our case a conference room and a mock funeral service – to enact a story under the supervision of the game master, the director of this impromptu play and the invisible caretaker of this world. In addition to sparking creativity, LARPing also helps build a community of people around the shared narrative they create.
While some LARPers game as a vacation from the real world, others use it as a way of challenging themselves to think on their feet in fantastical situations to solve puzzles or meet objectives – in my case, securing the highly-coveted “Thousand Worlds Archive” and “Artificial Star” from the other players.
While on the surface, LARPing and public relations might seem like a strange combination, much of the skills learned during the session can be applied to the way in which we approach business. The game constantly shifted and evolved as it went on, forcing all of the players to adapt to new and different situations while still trying to meet their overall objectives.
To win the game, we had to figure out a way to tactfully negotiate with a room full of strangers with varying objectives and personalities – while attempting to mourn a character we’d never met. It’s an uncomfortable situation, to say the least. This ‘out of the box’ setting allowed me and the other players to explore new and creative ways to talk with each other based on our character archetypes to figure out how to get what we needed.
In the ever-evolving field of healthcare communications, many of us find ourselves in unpredictable or new situations which force us to go outside of our comfort zone to meet our client’s goals while still driving impact and engagement. With new regulations, social media guidelines, and a new generation of patients and doctors, it’s more important than ever to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative ways to communicate in order to meet our client’s business goals. Creativity is core to what we do, and we all need to be continually pushing ourselves to think better, smarter and faster to keep up.
While I didn’t win the game, I did secure the “Artificial Star,” and took home a whole new way of approaching how I do work. In the words of Albert Einstein, “creativity is intelligence having fun” which is exactly what LARPing or other similar interactive exercises can do for us.
To learn more about the world of live action role playing, visit: http://www.paracelsus-games.com/.