Mediate BC Blog

Why are Mediators Great at GISH?

Posted by Guest.Author

This week, a group of Vancouver-based mediators have been working together as Team Brown(Trench)Coats to play the greatest international scavenger hunt, GISH.  The team currently includes Sharon Sutherland, Rowan Meredith, Mark Meredith, Darsey Meredith, Amanda Semenoff, Robin Phillips, and Carrie Gallant (in addition to two mediators from Washington State and six other close friends).

GISH is the gamification of good where hundreds of teams from around the world try to accomplish over 200 tasks which are then submitted as photographs or super short videos. It involves acts of kindness, creativity, courage and cooperation. In 2019, Team Brown(Trench)Coats were the overall winner. Conflict resolution skills were the key to their success.  

GISH involved asking friends and sometimes strangers to play along on tasks. Making these kinds of asks could be uncomfortable, but is not a source of unreasonable pain and suffering. Asking people to consider doing something new or unusual is a common mediation skill. Last year, Wendy Lakusta’s ability to make difficult asks was a major reason for the team’s win.

GISH also involves creative problem solving under pressure, another common conflict resolution skill.  For example, on Tuesday a team member decided to try to make a “beaded curtain” out of Cheerios, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but after a carpal tunnel flare up, she needed to very quickly form a new plan for a curtain made from (non-pasta) items in her kitchen. 

Most of all, GISH involves teamwork and deadlines, a classic recipe for conflict. No surprise, communication is key.  Everyone has different interests, skills and restrictions, and figuring out how to blend them into a fun week for all is the most important challenge.  

Want to hear more about the game, the team and conflict resolution? Check out August 3rd’s Conversation with Julie on Mediate BC’s Instagram account (@mediate.bc).


About the Author

Emily Martin has been a public sector labor law mediator for the State of Washington since 2003.  She has been playing GISH since 2017. 

Pictured here: Emily Martin, in a crown that she made from her garden for a GISH challenge



Photo descriptions

Featured Image: GISH item penguins marching with a rainbow flag

Image below: GISH item depicting elves at the post office, after their shift and too much eggnog 


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Mediate BC tries to provide valuable information to inform the public about effective conflict resolution. This blog is one of the ways we're doing that. See all the blog posts here.


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