Wellbeing North Star

Posted: August 16th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Core Games, Games for any meeting, Games for decision-making, Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for opening, Games for planning, Games for problem-solving, Games for team-building and alignment, Games for update or review meetings, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
When things do not go according to plan, there are two ways we can change our outlook. One is to ignore what is wrong and solely focus on the positives. Although possibly leading to a better attitude when the circumstance surpasses your low expectations, this technique still leaves you with the negative aspects that are causing your cognitive dissonance. Changing your frame of mind is only helpful if the circumstance is impossible to improve, which is not usually the case. That being said, the most beneficial way to truly change the course of our lives is to alter the situation. Wellbeing North Star, created by Kimberly Wiefling, allows you to analyze all angles of your situation in order to reach your desired end state. By comparing what you like and dislike about different aspects of your product, meeting, work day, etc., you can identify where your efforts are needed most to ensure that you achieve your goal.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Before your meeting, draw a star in the middle of a large poster or whiteboard. In the center of the star, write the topic you are going to focus on (ex. Project X, Conference, Daily schedule). Around the star, write different aspects of the topic you want to discuss with your team (ex. advertisements, graphics, communication, functions).

2. At the beginning of the meeting, distribute plenty of pens and sticky notes (2 different colors) to your participants.

3. For 5 – 10 minutes, have your players to write what they like about the aspects you wrote around the star. Tell them only to write their ideas on one color of sticky note.

4. Ask players to jot down what they dislike about each aspect for the next 5 – 10 minutes, only writing on the other color of sticky note.

5. When everyone is done writing their ideas, have each participant present their notes and post them under the respective aspects on the chart. Cluster all of the “likes” and “dislikes” together to make the results easier to understand.

6. When all of the notes have been posted, collaborate to identify how the ideas can enhance your project. What can be changed? Could you improve your project by simply eliminating any of the “dislikes”? Encourage participants to come up with solutions for the problems they presented.

Strategy
This game can result in major changes, so make sure that everyone is clear on what alterations are going to be made to eliminate any “dislikes.” Consider assigning specific tasks to people to prevent social loafing and to ensure that the changes will indeed be made.

You can play this game with anybody related to your project. Ask customers what they like/dislike about different aspects of your product or service. Or, collaborate with your key partners to determine if your relationship is going according to plan. This activity is adaptable to your needs and can be customized for any audience.

Wellbeing North Star can also be used as a retrospective analysis activity. Rather taking time to correct inferior aspects of your topic before you reach your desired end state, play this exercise after you have finished your project to identify how it can be improved for your iteration.

Play Wellbeing North Star Online

You can instantly play Wellbeing North Star online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” You will see three types of icons in the upper left corner.

  • Note cards: area of concern
  • Happy face: what is working
  • Frown face: what is not working

Simply drag the note card icons to the squares and describe the concerns they represent. Then, players can drag the faces to the chart to organize the positive and negative aspects of the concerns.

Players can edit the placement and description of each light bulb, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move. After the game, the results will be organized in a spread sheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
Opinions are valuable when it comes to determining what is and isn’t working. Rather than lowering your expectations and allowing for mediocre results, put in the energy now to enhance your present state. Play Wellbeing North Star to get back on the track that everyone agrees will lead to your goal.

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Rating: 5.9/10 (21 votes cast)

Innovation Generator

Posted: August 15th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
Innovation drives business; without it, companies would remain stationary and get trampled by the competition. Whether altering our products or creating new ones, we thrive on advancements. Scott Sehlhorst, President of Tyner Blain LLC, has illustrated a way of forming fresh ideas that solve customers’ problems by using current or potential inventions in his article “Product Managers & Innovation.” Scott’s strategy inspired the game Innovation Generator, which helps teams identify and address customer needs. The combination of value and invention provides the fuel necessary for innovation.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play

1. Begin by giving your players post-its and markers. Draw three columns on a large white board or poster and label them as follows:
A. Customers’/Prospective Customers’ Problems
B. Invention/Value
C. Innovation

2. Ask players to think of problems that customers within your market may have. After they write all their ideas on sticky notes and post them in the first column, discuss what the issues mean for your company.

3. Work as a group to choose about five inventions your company has or could create. Write these on post-its of a different color and put them in the second column. Ask your players to explore the values these inventions have — other than their current purposes — and to post their ideas around the invention notes in the second column. Think of how these values can resolve the problems noted in the first section. Doing so ensures that your team’s innovations focus on meeting your stakeholders’ needs.

4. Finally, collaborate to develop new innovations by combining the inventions with their values from the second column.

Strategy
Focus on innovations that address the notes from column one. This will ensure that the exercise leaves you with useful information that responds to customers’ needs.

Play Innovation Generator Online

You can instantly play Innovation Generator online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image will be used as the “game board.” You will see light bulb and sticky note icons in the upper left corner. The light bulbs represent the inventions in the second column, and the sticky notes symbolize all other ideas in the three columns. Simply drag icons to the chart and describe what they represent.

Players can edit the placement and description of each icon, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move.

Key Points
Using creative thinking to uncover various ways to apply a product inspires teams to develop new applications for inventions and form solutions that address stakeholders’ needs. And by identifying customer problems first, all ideas will be geared toward helping those who hold the key to your success. Whether creating new inventions or reusing past ones,  Innovation Generation is perfect for teams to brainstorm ways to help customers and stay ahead of the competition.

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Customer-Centric

Posted: August 15th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 comments »

Object of Play
Scott Sehlhorst, President of Tyner Blain LLC, has developed an ingenious way to guide the development of your product by identifying your stakeholders. Before laying out a framework of requirements that your product must meet, it is necessary to know your most important users. Doing so not only allows you to prioritize changes based on what people will actually use, but also provides you with the opportunity to build loyal customers by addressing their needs. However, this is easier said than done, as many unidentified users are incorporated into your sphere of stakeholders indirectly through connections with those closer to the system (product). With Customer-Centric – based on Scott’s Onion Diagram in his article “How to Visualize Stakeholder Analysis” — you can peel back the layers of the ecosystem in which your customers operate and uncover those who benefit from the outputs of the system. Play this game to identify stakeholders who can give you the requirements necessary to make your product succeed.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Start by giving your players sticky notes and pens. On a large poster or white board, draw four concentric circles and label them as follows:

  • Innermost: The product (ex. Pest Control Software)
  • 2nd: System – direct stakeholders (ex. Manager)
  • 3rd: Containing system – stakeholders of the system, even if they don’t directly interact with it (ex. Service technician)
  • 4th: Wider Environment – stakeholders outside of the environment (ex. Suppliers, customers)

2. Work as a team to identify people that belong in each area. This requires you to think outside the box (or shall we say circle?), as each user persona will be connected to many others within the ecosystem.

Strategy
For further organization, you can draw arrows between personas to identify who communicates with whom; doing so will reveal the tangle of relationships originating from the system and bring attention to distant customers who use the output of the product.

Play Customer-Centric Online

You can instantly play Customer-Centric online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” As with the in-person version, the chart organizes the various people who are impacted by your product. In the upper left corner, you will see a note card icon and people icons. Begin by dragging the notecard to the center of the chart and indicating the product you are focusing on. Then, work as a team to drag the people icons to the circles and describe who they represent.

Players can edit the placement and description of each icon, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move. After the game, the results will be organized in a spread sheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
One reason products fail is because teams do not solve the problems that are important to the right users. These personas are not always obvious, as they may be associated with the product through indirect connections. With Customer-Centric, you can identify the vast web of people your product impacts and explore the complex butterfly effect; doing so reveals which stakeholders are most important and what your product requirements are.

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Rating: 6.8/10 (4 votes cast)

SAFE-BOLD Framework

Posted: August 13th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for team-building and alignment, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
Corporate Executive Board’s Executive Director Matthew Dixon and Managing Director Brent Adamson have developed an insightful technique to help organizations develop customized pitches. This Commercial Teaching approach enlightens customers on a problem or value that applies to their needs, making them realize how they can benefit from your product. In their book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, Dixon and Adamson describe a diagram created by Neil Rackham and KPMG that helps develop compelling pitches. SAFE-BOLD Framework – based on the diagram – provides stimulating organization, so you can brainstorm ideas based on four categories – Scale, Risk, Innovativeness, and Difficulty – to design a strategy that will capture your customers’ attention and increase your sales.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Pass out sticky notes and pens to your players.

2. Draw four linear scales and label them as follows:


Scale 1: Scale
Left – “Small” = ideas that do not make customers curious or intrigued; customers have probably already thought of these
Right – “Big” = ideas that customers see as far-reaching

Scale 2: Risk
Left – “Achievable” = ideas that are not risky
Right – “Outperforming” = ideas that are risky and innovative, push customers out of their comfort zone, and show that you can help them get ahead of their competitors

Scale 3: Innovativeness
Left – “Following” = ideas that are used, dull, not innovative
Right – “Leading-Edge” = ideas that ask customers to take a risk by adopting your ideas

Scale 4: Difficulty
Left – “Easy” = ideas that customers can implement without your help
Right – “Difficult” = ideas that are hard for customers to implement, so they will have to hire your company to help them

3. Ask your players to write ideas on what can be included in the pitch and post them along the spectrums in their designated areas.

4. Once all the notes are on the chart, work as a team to negotiate the locations and descriptions. Those that are closer to the “BOLD” end of the continuum are more compelling and effective.

Strategy
Work as a team to transform SAFE ideas into BOLD ones to make your pitch more effective.

This game should be played with members of both the sales and marketing teams, as it is necessary that they work together to perfect the Commercial Teaching strategy. The marketing team can provide the insight for reps to use as teaching material for their customers, and the sales team can ensure that reps have the skills required to use the insight to its full advantage.

Play SAFE-BOLD Framework Online

You can instantly play SAFE-BOLD Framework online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” As with the in-person version, note cards represent ideas for each of the scales. Simply drag the icons to the chart and describe what they represent.

All players can edit the placement and description of each note card, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move. After the game, the results will be organized in a spread sheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
The visual organization and simple scales of SAFE-BOLD Framework provide the organization needed to effectively brainstorm sharp ideas that will teach your customers of a new problem, be tailored to their business needs, and allow reps to control the sales situation to change customers’ thought processes and behaviors. By developing a provocative Commercial Teaching pitch that is big, risky, innovative, and difficult to implement, you can demonstrate your knowledge of your customers’ problems and provide a unique solution while separating yourself from your competitors.

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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Challenger Selling Model

Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for planning, Games for team-building and alignment, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
Revolutionary sales experts Matthew Dixon — Managing Director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice — and Brent Adamson — Senior Director of the Sales Executive Council — have developed an insightful technique to help organizations develop customized sales strategies. In their book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, they describe one of the most effective types of sales professionals: The Challenger. These people are able to confidently teach, tailor, and take control while leveraging constructive tension to their advantage throughout the sale. Take advantage of this game’s visual organization — as  illustrated in The Challenger Sale — and extensive collaboration to identify how to balance the aspects of this technique.

Number of Players
5 – 8
Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Draw a Venn diagram on a large poster or white board. In it, include the following.

3 overlapping circles:

  • Top = “Teach for Differentiation” – insight that reframes how a customer may see their business and needs
  • Bottom Left = “Tailor for Resonance” – sales messages geared toward the values of the customer
  • Bottom Right = “Take Control of the Sale” – how to pursue goals assertively to overcome customer aversion

One concentric circle:

  • Draw a large circle around the smaller three, and label it “Constructive Tension.” This is for ideas on how a rep can use tension to their advantage.

2. Pass out post-its to your players; ask them to write their ideas on the sticky notes for each of the sections and to post them on the chart.

3. After all the notes are complete, collaborate to identify how to use these ideas to customize the perfect message for the customer.

Strategy
The model works best when the three key skills are balanced, so look for ways to incorporate the ideas to create a strategy that fits in the center of the diagram. Furthermore, the Challenger Selling Model requires time and dedication; play this game with members of different teams (marketing, sales, development, etc.) to make sure everyone is on board with the transition to this strategy.

Play Challenger Selling Model Online

You can instantly play Challenger Selling Model online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” As with the in-person version, the Venn diagram organizes players’ ideas for teaching, tailoring, taking control, and leveraging constructive criticism in order to develop an effective Challenger tactic.

You will see note card icons in the upper left corner of the chart, which represent team members’ ideas. Simply drag a note card to the area you are thinking of and describe what the icon represents. Players can edit the placement and description of each note card, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move.

Key Points
Becoming a Challenger demands that reps provide a unique perspective, be attentive to customer needs and values, and assert control while leveraging tension to their advantage. However, many teams must cooperate to bring different points of view for a successful transition to the Challenger Selling Model. This game provides the visual organization necessary to balance the integral factors of the model while promoting the collaboration needed to help your team construct the most effective sales strategy for a specific stakeholder.

For more about the Challenger Selling Model, click here.

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Rating: 3.0/10 (4 votes cast)

Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization

Posted: July 11th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Core Games, Games for any meeting, Games for planning, Games for update or review meetings, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
Overwhelming backlog lists are paralyzing, making it seemingly impossible to take the first step in conquering accumulated assignments. Not only do these intimidating to-do lists constantly grow, but they lose efficiency as more important tasks are added without any order. How do you know the best place to start conquering this debilitating beast? How can you determine the most productive sequence for the assignments? Fortunately, the innovative Agile and Scrum expert, Mitch Lacey, has developed Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization: a revolutionary technique to manage backlogs. As described in his book The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year, this game provides a painless way to prioritize tasks, making your backlog list less daunting and more effective.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. To begin, draw a graph on a large poster or white board.

    • X-axis = “Size.” This charts the complexity of the backlog item
    • Y-axis = “Priority” to designate the urgency of the task. This can be measured by anything the players agree is important, such as ROI or business value.
    • Divide the graph into three vertical sections to help your team organize the assignments based on the amount of effort needed to complete them.

2. Pass out notecards and pens for players to write backlog items on and post on the chart according to their size and complexity.

3. When all participants are finished, look at the arrangement of the notecards and collaborate to rearrange them as needed. The top-left section of the chart will be at the top of your work/product backlog, as they are high priority and low-effort tasks. In contrast, the items in the top-right are high priority and large.

4. When all the notes are in their appropriate places, order them in a to-do list by starting with those in the top-left corner and moving clockwise.

Strategy
Examine the note cards in the upper right region of the chart. Is there any way to divide these items into more manageable tasks? These smaller assignments may then be separated to different areas depending on their size and priority level. This will make your to-do list less daunting and more efficient.

Play Online

You can instantly play Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” As with the in-person version, this graph measures the size and complexity of tasks. Assignments that players think of are represented by the note card icons found at the upper left corner of the chart. Players simply drag the icons to the game board and describe what they represent. Participants can then edit the placement and description of each notecard, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move. After the game, the results will be organized in a spread sheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
This game gets team members thinking differently about backlog items. Rather than making a scattered list of debilitating tasks, Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization arranges your accumulated undertakings according to the level of priority and effort needed to accomplish them, allowing for productive advancements.

References
Mitch Lacey describes this game in his book The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice For Your First Year.

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Rating: 8.6/10 (5 votes cast)

Innovation Ambition Matrix

Posted: July 3rd, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for any meeting, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for problem-solving, Games for team-building and alignment, Games for update or review meetings, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 comment »

Object of Play
Innovation Ambition Matrix was inspired by the May 2012 Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Your Innovation Portfolio,” written by Monitor’s revolutionary co-partners: Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff. The productive game helps teams develop a holistic view of how to get ahead by organizing initiatives and goals based on three innovation levels: core, adjacent, and transformational. Play Innovation Ambition Matrix to clarify the ambition of a project, develop a cohesive operation rather than a scattering of competing advancements, and identify how to balance your team’s effort allocation.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Start by drawing a graph on a large white board or poster. Label the axes as follows:

  • X-axis: “How to Win.” This is designated for the novelty of the product that you are offering to customers. Are you using existing, adding incremental, or developing new products?
  • Y-axis: “Where to Play.” This measures the novelty of your customers. Will the innovation serve an existing, enter an adjacent, or create a new market?

2. Next, draw three curves within the axes as seen in the picture below to divide the chart into the three levels of innovation ambition.

  • Core (closest to origin): optimize your current products for current customers (ex. make faster technology)
  • Adjacent: add a new feature to your existing business (ex. create an app version of your website)
  • Transformational: create breakthroughs for markets that do not currently exist

3.  Pass out sticky notes and pens to your team members. Ask them to write current initiatives that they are working on and to post them in the respective area on the chart. Playing with multiple people will help identify what initiatives are being made and reveal different perspectives on how to succeed.

4. When all the initiatives and ideas are posted, discuss how to unify them so everyone is working toward the same mission. Doing so will eliminate competing developments and help everyone understand the overall goal for the innovation.

Strategy
The game works best when the players are team members who have different responsibilities within the project. This will will enable the group to understand the various initiatives being made and eliminate counteractive efforts. After getting rid of competing notes, organize who on the team will be responsible for specific tasks.

While Innovation Ambition Matrix is useful to outline current efforts of the team and to clarify the ambition of a project, it can also be used for your company’s long-term goals. Identify where you want your company or team to end up and what balance of innovation levels is needed to help you get there. For instance, if you would like to maintain your company’s position in your industry, focus on core or adjacent innovations. If you need to make an impacting change to get ahead in the market, think of transformational innovations. Planning where efforts are needed will help achieve the company’s innovation ambition efficiently.

Play Innovation Ambition Matrix Online

You can instantly play Innovation Ambition Matrix online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to join.

In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” As with the in-person version, the chart graphs the novelty of the company’s offerings vs. the novelty of the customers. Players will see light bulb icons in the top left corner, which represent the initiatives team members are taking and the ideas they have about future accomplishments. Simply drag the light bulbs to the matrix and describe what they represent.

Players can edit the placement and description of each light bulb, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to gain a better understanding of each move. The results will be organized in a spreadsheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
A company’s survival depends on its ability to innovate and advance. However, ideas to do so often become diluted by poor management strategies. This leaves your team with a chaotic scattering of competing attempts rather than a unified innovation effort. By identifying how to allocate innovation activity, teams can strike and maintain their unique balance required for sustainable growth. Innovation Ambition Matrix helps identify this core:adjacent:transformational ratio, which enhances a team’s understanding of where to put efforts and how to unify endeavors. Also, the game helps managers survey the initiatives of their team and provides a chance to discuss the overall ambition of a project.

To learn more about Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff, and the importance of a balanced innovation profile, click here.

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Rating: 7.1/10 (7 votes cast)