Caroussel

Posted: February 26th, 2013 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for any meeting, Games for opening, Games for problem-solving, Games for update or review meetings, Gamestorming wiki | Tags: , | No comments »

Object of Play

This game has been designed to gather facts and opinions from the participants on different aspects of the issue at stake. It will help gain and share insight from all points of view, since everyone will have had the chance to contribute.

Number of Players: Up to 50

Duration of Play: 15min to an hour depending on the amount of participants

How to Play

  1. Prepare 5 up to 10 flip-charts where you address different aspects of the topic at hand. On each flip-chart you address a certain aspect of the issue by posing a powerful question about it, these questions should be impersonal and ask for facts and opinions. Focus on “what”, “when” and “how” questions.
  2. Spread the flip-charts through the entire room, making sure there is enough distance in between to allow group discussions between participants without disturbing the others too much.
  3. Quickly introduce the topic at hand and go through the questions of each flip-chart, making sure everybody understands the questions correctly.
  4. Aks participants to split into pairs, or groups up to 5 people if you have a bigger group. You should have one group per flip-chart/question.
  5. Ask each group to answer the question by adding their ideas, facts and opinions on the flip-chart either with images, writing or post-it artifacts in a way that it is possible for others to interprete the data presented.
  6. Give each group 2-3min time to add their information and rotate to the next flip-chart (clock-wise or counter clock-wise)
  7. Repeat until each group has answered all the questions.
  8. Give the entire group another 5-10min to review all generated content and move to the next step: prioritization and/or deeper research into some of the ideas generated.

Strategy

By limiting the time a group has to answer a question you will make them focus on the most important things. The idea is not to gather all information per participant but to gather meaningful information as a group. This gathered information will form the basis for a prioritization and/or deeper research into some of the ideas and opinions.

Gamestorming Training - 3396

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Rating: 7.4/10 (18 votes cast)

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)

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)

Merrill Covey Matrix

Posted: August 29th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for any meeting, Games for decision-making, 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, Gamestorming wiki | Tags: , , , , , | 2 comments »

Object of Play
Many of us are overwhelmed by our to-do lists, and work hard each day to accomplish just a few of our countless tasks. However, we tend to focus on urgent items while disregarding the importance of planning for tasks that are necessary to reach our overall goal. This negligence will lead to even more stress in the long run, as everything will eventually become urgent if not prepared for. Fortunately, Merrill Covey Matrix, based on  Stephen Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill’s description in their book First Things First, allows you to evaluate the urgency and importance of your tasks. The goal of this activity is to prioritize your to-do list in order to plan ahead and work efficiently. Play Merrill Covey Matrix with your team at work, key partners, or customers to clarify the purpose and value of your tasks and to discover which items should be minimized or eliminated.

Number of Players:
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play

1. Before your meeting, draw a 2×2 matrix on a large white board or poster. Label the axes as followed:

  • 2 left cells – Urgent
  • 2 right cells – Not urgent
  • 2 top cells – Important
  • 2 bottom cells– Not important

2. Distribute pens and plenty of sticky notes to your players; participants will use these to write tasks.

3. Allow 5 – 10 minutes for players to write to-do items on the post-its: one per note.

4. Have players present their tasks to the group. As a team, collaborate to identify where each to-do item should be placed on the matrix.

5. Once all of the notes are posted, rearrange the tasks in each cell in order of importance. Start thinking about how you can use the organization to make your to-do list more efficient. Keep in mind the value of each cell:

  • Cell 1: Urgent, important – these tasks should be at the top of your to-do list
  • Cell 2: Not urgent, important – these items are likely to be neglected, but are necessary for long-term success. Set aside time each week to focus on these in order to be more productive. We suggest making this cell a different color so you will remember its significance.
  • Cell 3: Urgent, not important – these tasks suck your time and are often the result of poor-planning. They should be minimized or eliminated.
  • Cell 4: Not urgent, not important – these items are trivial time-wasters that should be eliminated

6. Collaborate to clarify the value of the items and to identify which team members will be responsible for each task. Write down the new order of your to-do list, but make sure take a picture of the chart or leave it up so you can refer back to it.

Play Online

Now you can play Merrill Covey Matrix instantly online! Clicking on the picture to the right will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com. Here, this image will be used as the “game board.” This chart is organized the same way as the in-person version, and the second cell is highlighted yellow to remind you of its importance. However, instead of post-it notes, there will be two different icons that players can drag onto the chart and describe to represent the tasks:

  • Green squares – priority tasks that require attention
  • Red square – tasks to minimize/eliminate

All moves can be seen in real time by each participant, so everyone can edit the positions and descriptions of the icons. Also, the integrated chat facility allows you and your players to collaborate to form the most efficient to-do list.

Strategy
Delegation is an integral part of time management. Rather than assuming everyone will work together on each item, you must assign tasks in order to prevent social loafing. This way, people will feel more responsible for certain items and will accomplish them more efficiently.

Considering how easy it is to neglect the items in the second cell, it is advised to highlight or surround the region with a different color to portray its significance, as seen in the images above. At the beginning of each week, set aside time to work on these necessary tasks.

Avoid creating a long, intimidating to-do lists by breaking it down into smaller lists. For example, consider creating a task sheet for each person or a group list for each day or week.

Key Points
While we are all busy working through our to-do lists, we may not be doing so as efficiently as we think. Play Merrill Covey Matrix to identify the purpose and value of your tasks and to minimize or eliminate time-wasters. Plan ahead to avoid unproductive busy work and to accomplish your goal in a productive manner.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (6 votes cast)

Status Center

Posted: August 26th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Core Games, Games for closing, Games for opening, Games for presenting, Games for update or review meetings, Gamestorming wiki, Various | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 comment »

What if Status Meetings were like Sports News?

Object of Play
Sitting through status meetings is boring, right? Well, then why do many of us go home and watch status reports for an hour or more every night?We watch news shows, ‘fake’ news shows, Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, ESPN’s SportsCenter, and many more. Something about those status reports must be working better than the ones we sleep through at work.StatusCenter is a ‘macro’ game structure that aims to apply the ‘rules’ of the TV status report game to the business status report game. The StatusCenter macro-game is populated with stand-alone games that can be linked throughout the meeting, following Gamestorming’s ‘opening, exploring, closing’ model.

Number of Players
4 to 40

Duration of Play
30 to 60 minutes for a weekly meeting; up to 4 hours for a quarterly or annual review

How to Play
Like TV, StatusCenter will link short game segments, in a manner that is interesting and time-efficient. While the segments are modeled after sports, news, or other television formats, they are equally effective for people who aren’t familiar with those metaphors.

Opening Games

  1. Question Balloons: Simulating the controlled question-asking mechanisms of status shows like Larry King’s ‘email questions’, this game lets attendees literally float a question. As questions are answered, balloons are popped, and any questions still remaining at the end of the meeting are visible at a glance.
  2. Top Scores: Simulating the ‘Headlines’ or ‘Scoreboard’, this game delivers business metrics quickly and succinctly, acting as a teaser for the rest of the meeting.

Exploring Games

  1. 60-Second Update: Mimicking a ‘Highlights’ segment, this game delivers short updates by each member, aligning everyone. More questions can be ‘floated’ here.
  2. Project Jeopardy: Allows one or two in-depth updates on key subjects, while creating audience involvement for those who may already know the answers. Rotating the ‘host’ from meeting to meeting gives everyone a chance to say a little more about their own projects or progress.
  3. Crossfire: This segment provides drama, while giving a ‘safe’ environment for those that like to argue. Meeting attendees select a topic of interest during the previous week, and two people prepare to discuss it from two different viewpoints. This segment is a great way to explore potentially controversial ideas, learn about new products or technologies, or assess the competition’s latest move.
  4. In-depth Analysis <link here>: This longer segment provides space for an investigative report, formal presentation, or guest commentary. Consider inviting speakers who are of interest to the group but don’t typically come to the meetings.
  5. Trade Rumors: What are the hot rumors? Clearly delineated from the facts that are delivered in the status updates, these rumors generate interest and energy. Again, keep it short – 15 seconds each. Remember that a juicy rumor could become next weeks’ Crossfire or In-depth Analysis topic.

Closing Games

  1. Coming Attractions: What hot projects or decisions are coming up in the next week? What meetings should I attend? Give each participant 15 – 30 seconds to provide these ‘teasers’ that are quick and to the point.
  2. Question Balloons <link here>: Close out any questions that have not been addressed during the meeting.
  3. Cliffhanger: Use a suggestion box to choose the Crossfire and In-depth Analysis topics and participants for the next (or future) meeting. This builds drama and anticipation for the next meeting.

Strategy

  1. We cannot recommend strongly enough that most status information should be pushed outside of the StatusCenter game. Dashboards, email updates, and the like should be used to distribute information that does not need to be reiterated with a captive audience.
  2. Alternate short ‘highlight’ games with longer ‘analysis’ games to satisfy audience members who want depth, while keeping the pace engaging.
  3. Stick to status subjects. Decisions, brainstorming, and other topics – no matter how legitimate – should taken off-line. Even Crossfire, which can be used to present two different opinions, should be seen as a way of exploring ideas, not as a way to come to a decision.
  4. Add, delete, or replace these games based on time and need.
  5. There are many proponents of standing status meetings (often called ‘huddles’). Try this method.
  6. Try ‘co-hosts,’ like many news shows.

Key Points
StatusCenter will be most successful if roles are clear and attendees have prepared in advance. Consider creating a template for 60-Second Update and Project Jeopardy to help attendees understand what kind of information to include. By moving basic status information to pre-meeting communications and then breaking the meeting itself into fast-paced chunks, you can transform a meeting that people tend to tune out of into one they will definitely want to watch.

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Rating: 6.8/10 (5 votes cast)

Learning Matrix

Posted: August 23rd, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for problem-solving, Games for update or review meetings, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Gamestorming wiki, Various | Tags: , , , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
Iteration retrospective activities are tricky; it is often difficult to think of practical improvements, and reflecting on negative aspects of the project can leave your team feeling upset and unmotivated. A great way to prevent these from occurring is to play a game that focuses on the positives while also pointing out aspects that need to be changed. As described in Diana Larsen and Esther Derby’s Agile Retrospectives, Learning Matrix does just this. In this game, teams collaborate to identify what they liked and disliked about a past project, as well as point out whom they appreciated and what they believe should be altered for the future. Whether analyzing the results of a conference, product, or meeting, Learning Matrix can help you uncover your top-priority items to enhance your iteration.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Before your meeting, create a 2×2 matrix. Draw a picture in each quadrant to represent a different aspect involved in your retrospective analysis:

Quadrant 1: Frown face for aspects you disliked, should be changed
Quadrant 2: Smiley face for aspects you liked, should be repeated
Quadrant 3: Light bulb for new ideas to try
Quadrant 4: Bouquet: people you appreciated

2. Provide players with plenty of sticky notes and markers. Allow 5-10 minutes for participants to individually write down their ideas for the four topics on separate notes.

3. After all players are done writing their ideas, ask them to present their sticky notes to the group and post them on the designated sections of the chart.

4. Narrow down the notes to a few requiring immediate attention. Give each player 6 – 10 dot stickers, which they will use to dot vote for the ideas they believe are top-priority. Resolve ties by discussing which note is more pressing or having another dot vote. Count all the votes to determine which ideas should be focused on. Narrowing ideas down is important, as it allows the team to concentrate on priorities and increases the chance of effective improvements being made.

5. Move the notes around to reflect the order of priority. Collaborate to evaluate how these ideas can be used to enhance your next iteration and discuss where you can begin making improvements.

Online Learning Matrix

Clicking on the image to the right will take you to an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com. Here, the picture will be used as the “game board” and you will find four icons in the top left corner. As with the in-person game, the each icon represents a different topic:

Frown face – aspects you didn’t like
Happy face – aspects you liked
Light bulb – new ideas
Bouquet – people you appreciated

To add the icons, simply drag them to the board and describe what they represent. Everyone can edit the placement and description of each icon, which can be seen in real time. Collaborate through the chat facilitator to build from each other’s ideas and improve your past project.

Strategy
Encourage players to continue thinking of ideas for each quadrant, even after all the sticky notes have been posted or the quadrants have filled up. Write the additional comments around the topic images to maintain the positioning of the original notes.

A good facilitator is necessary for this game in order to keep everyone focused. If the project team leader does not feel comfortable in this position, it is best to hire a neutral facilitator. This must be someone who can gain the team’s trust and create an environment in which participants feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Key Points
This exercise allows you to perform iteration retrospective analysis while maintaining a positive environment. By organizing your thoughts, you can lay out your plan for improvement and discover how to enhance your project for the future. Collaborate to identify what should be repeated, changed, or tried, and to congratulate team members for a job well-done.

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Rating: 9.2/10 (5 votes cast)

Crossfire

Posted: August 18th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for any meeting, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for update or review meetings, Gamestorming wiki | 1 comment »

Crossfire injects a little drama into a meeting while establishing a safe environment for those that like to argue. Meeting attendees select a topic of interest prior to the meeting, and two people prepare to discuss it from two different viewpoints. This game is a great way to explore potentially controversial ideas, learn about new products or technologies, or assess the competition’s latest move.

Object of Play
The object of Crossfire is simply to provide two different points of view as animatedly as possible. Players benefit from the research they do to prepare, and spectators benefit from hearing different sides of an issue. If desired, spectators can vote on which player is more persuasive, but this is optional.

Number of Players
1 moderator (optional), 2 players and up to 40 spectators

Duration of Play
2 to 3 minutes, plus prep time

How to Play
A. Preparation

  1. Prior to the meeting, the topic or issue and two players are selected. Each player represents one side of the issue, either by volunteering or by being nominated to take a given position. Sample topics might include:
    • We should/should not develop a certain new product;
    • Our competitor’s newest offering poses/does not pose a serious threat to us;
    • We should/should not hire a new marketing manager; and so on.
  2. Each player prepares a 30-second or 1-minute position statement in advance. (30 seconds for a 2-minute game; 1 minute for a 3-minute game.) Each player should also prepare rebuttals to arguments they expect their opponent to raise.

B. Play

  1. To begin, flip a coin to see which player goes first. The moderator, if there is one, is responsible for keeping time. If there is no moderator, appoint one of the spectators to keep time.
  2. Establish a physical space for the players, like a circle of chairs. Players should stand inside the space, and spectators should stand all around the players in a crowd or ring.
  3. The first player gives his or her opening statement (either 30 seconds or 1 minute) to the spectators. When s/he is finished, the other player gives his or her opening statement (same length of time).
  4. For the remaining minute, the players face each other and argue for their own position and/or against their opponent’s. During this time, players should attempt to rebut statements made by the opponent, or strengthen arguments they themselves have made. This is not a polite debate, but a heated argument. Players should act out and have fun!

C. Concluding the Game

  1. When the minute is up, spectators can be asked to vote by applause or by moving to stand next to the player they agree with (optional).
  2. The game may be opened up for questions at this point, so that spectators can ask for clarification from either or both players.

Strategy
Players should keep in mind that their goal is to convey information and persuade others of their point of view, even if they personally do not hold that view. Their remarks should be focused on the information they are conveying, rather than on their opponent personally.

Key Points

  • The moderator should create a safe space for Crossfire to take place. Players may act very excited, yell, gesticulate, and so on, but they should refrain from personal attacks, inappropriate language, or unprofessional actions. It should be clear that Crossfire is a game, and that one of the primary goals is to convey information to the spectators.
  • Players need not represent a viewpoint they actually hold. In fact, it can be very enlightening and entertaining to argue passionately from the side of the issue that one would not normally take.
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Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Circles and Soup

Posted: August 15th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for any meeting, Games for decision-making, 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, Gamestorming wiki | Tags: , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
The goal of game, introduced by Diana Larsen, is to efficiently form high-quality plans through retrospective analysis by recognizing factors that are within the team’s control.  During retrospective activities, it is easy to hit a wall of unproductive blame. The moment the group reaches this barrier, “someone shoulds” and “if only you coulds” bounce around the room, knocking out any practical ideas for future advancement. Before determining what you can improve, you must first be clear on the dimensions you are able to regulate and what you need to adapt to. By identifying factors your team can control, influence, or cannot change, you can collectively discover how to respond to and overcome various situations.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of play
1 hour

How to play
1. Before your meeting, collect sticky notes or 3×5 notecards. In a white space (a poster, whiteboard, etc.), draw three concentric circles, leaving enough room between each one to place the notes. Each circle represents a different element:

  • Inner circle: “Team Controls” – what your team can directly manage
  • Middle circle: “Team Influences” –persuasive actions that your team can take to move ahead
  • Outer circle: “The Soup” – elements that cannot be changed. This term — explained further by James Shore – refers to the environment we work in and have adapted to. Ideas from the other 2 circles can identify ways to respond to the barriers floating in our “soup.”

2. Hand out the sticky notes to your internal team members and describe the significance of each circle.

3. Allow time for each person to write their ideas on sticky notes. Once finished, ask them to post their notes into the respective circles.

4. As a group, collaborate to identify how each idea can be used to improve your project. Ask team members to expand on their ideas in order to further develop potential plans.

Strategy
In earlier stages of your retrospection, it is best to concentrate on “Team Controls.” This allows you to identify immediate actions that can be taken. As you see what works, you can alter potential plans and respond to any restraints.

A neutral facilitator is recommended to keep the activity from becoming too emotional. Evaluating negative aspects of your project is a sensitive but necessary exercise, and can leave people feeling upset or hopeless. Avoid any discussions about blaming people or wishing something would happen. This frame of mind places the control out of the team’s hands, both halting all forward motion and creating a negative environment. Keep the atmosphere fun and enjoyable so people will feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Online Circles and Soup

You can instantly play the Circles and Soup online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com.

As facilitator, email the game link to your staff to invite them to play. In the game, this picture is used as the “game board,” and you will find an icon of blue squares at the upper left corner. Each square represents an idea, which players describe and drag onto the respective circle.  As with the in-person version of the game, the game board is organized into three concentric circles, representing “Team Controls,” “Team Influences,” and “The Soup.”

Players can edit the placement and description of each square, 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
Negative self-evaluating activities often end up emotional and unproductive. Take advantage of this game’s visual organization and extensive collaboration to avoid the blame and hopelessness that cover up ideas for future improvement. By identifying factors your team can control, influence, or cannot change, you can collectively discover how to respond to and overcome various situations. Play Circles and Soup to determine what you can do to avoid barriers and gain insight on what actions will most effectively enhance your project.

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Rating: 7.4/10 (10 votes cast)

Project Jeopardy

Posted: August 10th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for presenting, Games for update or review meetings, Gamestorming wiki | Tags: | 1 comment »

Listening to project status reports can be deadly dull, but it doesn’t have to be. Imagine if the other meeting attendees were leaning forward in their seats, actively listening, and even calling out excitedly instead of thinking about what they were going to say on their turn, or checking their email! Project Jeopardy requires a little advance preparation, but is designed to make project report-outs engaging, memorable, and fun.

image of sample cards for Project Jeopardy

Sample Project Jeopardy Cards

Object of Play
For players, the object is to collect as many points as possible by correctly asking the project-related questions that correspond with the answers given by the host. For the host, the object is to convey information about the status of his or her project.

Number of Players
4 to 40

Duration of Play
5-15 minutes

How to Play

A. Preparation

  1. Prior to the meeting, the host (the person who will be reporting on his or her project) prepares a set of question-and-answer cards about aspects of the project. These should cover important points about the project that the team needs to know, with most of the information being in the answer. It helps to frame the answer first. For instance, an answer/question pair might be, “The project generated $45,000 in revenue over this time period.” and “What is Q3?”
  2. On a sturdy card, sticky note, or half sheet of plain white paper, write the answer and question. Write the answer at the top, and the question at the bottom. Make sure they can’t be seen through the back of the paper. On the reverse, write a point or dollar value. Harder questions should be worth more.
  3. Divide the question/answer pairs into categories (financials, clients, deadlines, or whatever is appropriate). Have a little fun with the category names.
  4. Attach the question cards or notes to a flip chart page in columns with the category name at the top and the value showing. (The questions and answers should be hidden.) The lowest value questions should be at the top and the highest value at the bottom. The idea is that a player would pick a category and value, such as “Financials for four points” or “Deadlines for $100.”

B. Play

  1. Explain the rules, if needed. Give a one- or two-sentence description of the project you are reporting on if there are people in the meeting who are not familiar with it.
  2. Play goes clockwise around the table, starting to the left of the host.
  3. The first player either chooses a category/value pair or passes. If s/he chooses a category/value pair, the host removes that card from the flip chart and reads the answer aloud.
  4. The player frames a question that goes with the answer s/he has just heard. If the question is the correct one, say “That’s right!” and give the card to the player. If the question is not correct, say, “I’m sorry, that’s not correct,” and replace the card on the flip chart.
  5. If only a few people are in the meeting, allow the player to choose another card if s/he provided the correct question. If the meeting is a large one, play should pass to the next person whether or not the correct answer was given. Any player is free to pass instead of choosing a card.
  6. Continue until all the cards have been awarded. Play should move quickly; if you wish, impose a one-minute time limit on responding, enforced by an hourglass, timer, or human timekeeper.

C. Concluding the Game

  1. When all the cards have been awarded, players add up the point or dollar amounts on the cards they received. The one with the highest number of points or dollars receives a prize (a free coffee, a chocolate bar, or something similar).
  2. Ask if there are any questions about the project that have not been addressed, and answer those. Congratulate the winner!

Strategy
When inviting team members to host a Project Jeopardy session, give them plenty of lead time to work out the questions. If you will be using the game over and over, consider creating a set of laminated cards that have values on one side but nothing on the other. Hosts can use dry-erase markers to fill in the questions and answers on the blank side, and the cards can be reused from meeting to meeting. If possible, create a master set of categories that hosts can choose from, as well as a set of sample question/answer pairs to guide them in creating their own.

Key Points
What makes Project Jeopardy work is effective question/answer pairs. Remember that the information is really flowing from the host to the players, although it appears to be otherwise, and make the questions general and easy to guess. The goal is to convey information about the project — not to completely stump the players!

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Rating: 3.5/10 (4 votes cast)