As part of the kickoff for the Global Service Jam, I was asked to offer some tips on how service designers could use gamestorming. So I put together a few thoughts in this short video.
If you live in or near Boston, you’ll have a great (and rare) chance to learn about gamestorming from a true master and co-author of the book. James Macanufo will be speaking March 1st at an Agile New England event.
Creating a culture of creativity and innovation can be a daunting challenge. How can you make it happen with your team and your customers? One tool to add to your kit: Gamestorming. Join Agile New England and author James Macanufo in learning Gamestorming concepts and visual thinking techniques that lead to better understanding, ideas, and experiences. See how these ideas are being applied in the real world to build stronger teams and more meaningful results… and have some fun trying them out! It doesn’t matter who you are – business strategist, designer, agile practitioner – everyone is welcome and will benefit.
This is an awesome opportunity, not to be missed.
For many budding Gamestormers, one of the trickiest challenges isn’t in running the games, but in sequencing them to get to a specific outcome for a meeting. This template should help you think through the process of organizing games to evaluate where a certain game path may take you. It’s called Gameboarding because it’s akin to Storyboarding – shuffling and reordering content until it creates a meaningful arc. Keep in mind that a good meeting is organized around a meta-structure of opening, exploring and closing, and also involves an awareness of the micro-structure of that same process embedded within each game. Ideally your session will be designed around this (often referred to as diverging, navigating and converging), while driving toward your primary meeting goal.
Click below for the PDF. Gameboarding Template
Overview of the ten essentials of Gamestorming, which you are free to use in your workshops or gatherings as a handout, print out as a poster, or share online. Hopefully a useful resource!
You can view the pdf, add comments, or download it here.
The Gamestorming book lists more than 80 games. I share a visual cheat sheet that I made in my own exploration of how the games fit together.
You can say, I made a game of it. First, at my Self Learners wiki, I listed out the games, with links to the Gamestorming wiki, and for each game, I noted the object of play, as highlighted in the book. Encouraged by Dave Gray on Twitter, I pushed on to see how they might fit together. I empathized with each game’s purpose and grouped together different games that sought the same goal. I used the Dia diagram editor to make an Affinity Map that related the groups. At first, I just laid them down, from opening games to closing games, from left to right, laying together groups that felt related. I printed out the diagram, took a Break for lunch, and over quesadillas I made sense of my feelings and thought through a theory. This, for me, is the Eureka! part, which draws on the years of Gamestormers’ experience by which the games are real, tried and true. I noticed that some games seem more social, touchy-feely, but others seem more technical, fleshing out systems. (A distinction that reminds me of the Fishbowl). They seem to represent implicit vs. explicit knowledge. They also seem to work-in-parallel in a sequence of stages. Here’s the initial diagram, which I then reorganized:
I see a process of transforming an existing solution into a new solution: Consent -> Care -> Understand -> Transform -> Innovate -> Validate -> Commit. I think that the climax is when we shift to a new perspective, for example, when we shift from features to benefit, from our answers to our audience’s questions, from our processes to our activities’ significance to others, from what we want to say to what we want others to hear. Once we’ve made this shift, then we’ll find an incremental way to innovate, we’ll vet that and commit to it. But to prepare for that shift, we have to sift through the details and understand what we’re involved in; and to do that wholeheartedly, we have to orient ourselves around our dreams and our concern for each other; and that depends on our voluntary participation. I imagine that this horizontal movement takes place at many scales, fractally, from the smallest tasks to the largest missions, and certain steps may be skipped over, or rushed over, especially for smaller projects. I’ve also arrayed the games vertically, along a spectrum, as to whether they help us make progress explicitly, fleshing out structures of knowledge, or make progress implicitly, building consensus around how we feel. I think if we pursue both, then our group’s commitment is both intellectual and emotional. I conclude that I myself, in working with others, should focus more on the emotional side. (Click for the large image).
Oh! because I’m showing this to visual thinkers, I realized (peer-pressure!) that they’ll be disappointed if I keep it abstract. I got out my oil pastel crayons to draw, as in the Visual Glossary game. Drawing helped me focus on the main point, explicit vs. implicit. I suppose that I drew a wave to represent the depths of the unconscious, and forward motion, and to leave a lot of open space for the diagram. Then I remembered my first large painting, a muse for the fifth day of creation, (she’s Jesus), cutting paths with scissors for the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea. That pushed me to explain birds fly high to see the big picture and fish swim deep to win consensus. That clicked with some people, and got me thinking further, in that I keep wondering what’s relevant to God (Stakeholder Analysis), that we can think of one God beyond us, like the bird, but also God within each of us, as with the school of fish. I’m thinking that each game takes a little leap of faith and each lets us dialogue with God in a particular way. Here’s a sketch of my theory, more broadly, in terms of ways of figuring things out. (Welcome to My World!)