Facilitating Games for Innovation

This Friday I am going to be co-facilitating a day of learning and exchange about Innovation, Design and Serious Games Exchange this Friday in San Francisco. I would like to invite you all to participate. It will be an open space style unconference – with attendees creating the agenda – it is open to all.

Last September I took a training with the founder of Innovation Games Luke Hohmann (to be a game facilitator) and it was amazing set of fun “games” to play with the users/customers of one’s products. Quite different then a focus group in terms of the kind of information that you get about how to shape/design your products. (wikipedia article – details all 12 games and information about selecting the appropriate game)

I know what you are asking how is playing games going to help with my products, workplace or process. I wondered this too….here is a simple example.

I explained one of them (Buy a Feature) this way at the Online Community Unconference – say you have a next generation set of features to build for your product – you have 10 potential features but only time to build a few of them – how do you prioritize/decide about which ones to put in the next release?

Buy a Feature is a game you can play to do this (and it is both online and face to face)

You bring in 10 current customers together and give them each $200 of play money. You give each of your features a cost totaling $3000-$4000 (one might be $100 (really easy to build) $500 (harder/more time) etc.) They must amongst themselves figure out how to spend their $2000 to buy a limited set of the 10 features. You could play this with several sets of customers and then gather information about what they want. It helps you make decisions about what to build AND it is fun for them to play the game of “buying” the features they want.

The conference is not limited to “just” innovation games but also includes other design and “serious” games.

  • Design games: Offering collaborative design activities within a game format improves idea generation and communication among stakeholders. By shifting focus to the game, power relations and other factors that might hamper idea generation, are downplayed
  • Serious games: Ranging from theater improvisation to interactive games technology within non-entertainment sectors, serious games have uses in education, government, health, military, science, corporate training, first responders, and social change

You don’t have to be an expert to attend – if you are just exploring these things we invite you along.

There have been a few companies in the identity space that have used these tools – I just can’t say who.

I am also happy to talk with folks if they are interested in using games to innovate and do better product design in the identity and social web space.

Here is the book if you are interested in learning more.

“Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play” (Luke Hohmann)

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