This article discusses Kim’s game, which will sharpen the observational skills of its players. These sharpened observational skills (situational awareness) might help players to prevent crime or terrorism.
In his biography of Einstein, Walter Isaacson describes an incident in which there was a low level of situational awareness. As they rode in a trolley car, Einstein and a fellow physicist were discussing a scientific theory. They were so involved in their discussion, however, that they rode past their destination stop. After they realized this, they got on another trolley which was going the back to the stop they had missed. Again, they became so involved in their esoteric discussion that they rode past their stop for a second time and had to take another trolley in the opposite direction to get back to their stop. Situational awareness is not as affected by intelligence as it is by the focus of attention.
Many people today have a similar lack of situational awareness. Pedestrians, for example, who are too involved in discussions with companions, or too involved with conversations on their smart phones, or too involved in some other way with their smart phones, are less likely to see or hear indications of crime or terrorism. Other pedestrians might be daydreaming or have their attention to their environment negatively affected by alcohol or drugs.
Situational awareness can save lives. Many criminals can be frustrated if their intended victim spots them soon enough. Also, terrorists can be stopped if someone who sees or hears something says something.
Kim’s game can be played in many places and with many people. For example, an adult can teach children observational skills in a fun way by secretly putting a dozen different objects in a tray and then covering the tray. The adult then tells the children that, after the tray is uncovered, and the children can see the objects, the children must remember as much information as possible about all of the objects. After one minute of observation, the adult covers the tray again, and he next asks the children to write down what they have observed and remembered. The child who has remembered and written down the most information about the the largest number of objects in the tray is the winner and gets to keep of one of the objects in the tray.
This version of Kim’s game can be made harder or easier depending upon the number of objects in the tray. For example, as the children improve their observational skills, the number of objects might be increased to eighteen. For each time that they play the game, there should be a new set of objects in the tray to view, remember, and record.
Another variation of this game involves the element of surprise. When, for example, a game participant is at a location such as a restaurant, that participant might suddenly be asked to close his or her eyes, and then remember and describe in whispers what he or she has just observed for the last minute.
Kim’s game probably is best suited for more private settings among friends. Some people in public settings may become combative if they perceive that a stranger is watching them. Also, observing and taking notes in sensitive areas such as those with power stations or military bases could cause the observer to be mistaken for a terrorist.
There are many other variations of this game, but the basic theme of this game is to make situational awareness a habit. This game is not just for children. Adults also play this game, and the Military glossary mentions it as the backronym “Keep in Memory.”
The more people that have strong situational awareness skills, the less crime and terrorism there will be.