Who Wants to Be…? is an ask-the audience game show, where the rules are made up by the audience.
This was the latest in a series of games which had started in December 2006 where an audience at Limehouse Town Hall made up the first rules about how the game should work, and what to do with the box office takings, by voting on new rules using a simple majority system.
For Adhocracy we decided to wipe the slate clean, and create a completely new version ofÃ‚Â Ã‚Â Who Wants to Be…?Ã‚Â starting from the position of consensus-based decision-making instead of majority voting.
The game was radically different as a result. Seated in a large circle around the Talkaoke table, the 40 or so people there at the start of the game were initially dismayed at having to achieve consensus to move things forward. However, after a slow and halting start, the game, and people’s ideas began to evolve.
What was striking was how much people were willing to stick up for the consensus structure, even in the face of nearly unanimous opposition. There were some eloquent speeches, some fantastic ideas, and in the end, the audience decided to give Ã‚Â£250 to the agit-prop activist group The Space HijackersÃ‚Â to protest against the DSEI arms trade fair.
What was interesting, given the reluctance of previous audiences to do this kind of thing (almost every game has had some activist ideas thrown in), was that ideas that would have fallen over in votes were not only countenanced by the consensus model – they actually slipped through to consensus without there being any kind of controversy.
This was a fascinating game of Who Wants to Be…? because it showed how different starting points (voting vs. consensus) can lead to radically different outcomes, as well as far more tortuous and complicated decision-making processes!