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My family has been infected. By the Pokémon Go epidemic that is. Introduced to the app by a college-age neighbor, my twin 7-year-old sons came home with a sudden, unprecedented eagerness to join me on hikes and shopping trips (as long as I brought my phone, of course). Anything that would get them within range of their digital quarry. Overnight, my children became Pokémon hunters.
One trip to the mall and it quickly became clear that they weren’t the only ones smitten with this latest augmented reality phenomenon. All around me, people of all ages wandered trance-like through the parking lot staring at their phones, suddenly exclaiming when they spotted a Pokémon in their midst. This was clearly A Thing with universal appeal.
And yet . . . I couldn’t help but notice there were differences between these hunters, in spite of their common interest. Differences I suspected were tightly linked to their Business Chemistry types. So I decided to spend the weekend hunching these hunters and observing them in their (semi) natural environments to see how differences in style might be evident even in a shared mobile gaming experience. (Thanks to my friends and family for being unwitting participants in my research).
Of course I wasn’t able to conclude anything in a brief, unscientific weekend of observation, but I did develop some initial hypotheses. Here are my bets—what are yours?
Guardians get the rules
On the surface, Pokémon Go might seem like a relatively straightforward game where you simply meander around and try to capture virtual animals. Not so. In fact, it has a vast set of complex rules for how to capture, train, and engage in battle. This amount of detail is perfect for Guardians, the most practical and process-oriented of the types. If you want to know the ins and outs of how to play and “win” this game, ask a Guardian.
Drivers have a plan of attack
Being logical and quantitative, Driver types seemed to take a strategic approach to the game, mapping out paths likely to be rich in Pokéstops (for the uninitiated, places you’re likely to find more Pokémon and or pick up useful items) and focusing on acquiring the types of Pokémon that will let them increase their levels as quickly as possible (ask the Guardians why that matters). The Scientist-style Drivers who are more experimental were the ones who tried different ways of “throwing” Pokéballs to capture their targets (did you know you can throw curveballs?). The more competitive Commander-style Drivers seemed more focused on battling others in nearby gyms (Pokémon fighting arenas).
Integrators hunt in packs
The most diplomatic and empathetic of the four Business Chemistry types, Integrators seemed focused on the social aspects as much as the objective of capturing a Pokémon. They were very good at working together to “corner” a Pokémon, but the relationship-oriented Teamer-style of Integrator didn’t always make the capture because they were busy chatting and laughing together, or calling out to other roving groups of Pokémon hunters about any good catches nearby. The more inwardly-focused Dreamer-style Integrators seemed more focused on capturing the rarest or cutest Pokémons for their collection than on the more competitive aspects of the game, such as gym battles.
Pioneers Go Off the Beaten Path
The most spontaneous and risk-seeking of the types, Pioneers seemed most likely to intentionally pursue the Pokémon located in an odd location, even if that required scaling fences, traipsing up hillsides, or wading into water. Those stories you’ve heard about people doing crazy things just to catch a Pokémon–those people were probably Pioneers.
As a strong Pioneer myself, I can add that Pioneers are also quite adaptable when the need arises–in my case facing the daunting reality of a dead battery in the shopping mall and no more Pokémon Go for my kids. What did we do? Quickly made up our own non-digital version of the game where we described the Pokémon that we “saw” and the others had to guess which one it was. My kids demonstrated scary, encyclopedic knowledge of Pokémon characters. I made up my own just to play along (Them: “Animal with spots on its back.” Me: “Bambichu.” Hilarity ensues). We evolved our own Pokémon Go, and we were off…
Kim is the national managing director of The Deloitte Greenhouse® Experience group, which helps executives tackle tough business challenges through immersive, facilitated Lab experiences, and client e