Information Architect and Interaction Designer Donna Spencer practices knowledge games as part of her work. She calls them design games, which she describes as having these four essential characteristics:
1. They are fun, involving play to promote creativity.
2. They are hands-on, about making ideas real, not just talking about them.
3. They are useful, as opposed to the dreaded team-building exercise.
4. They are structured: they have goals and are planned so the goal is met.
Here’s a list of Donna’s design games:
The 4 C’s is a game that breaks down a problem into four quadrants: Components, Characteristics, Challenges and Characters.
Card sorting is a method for breaking down information into modular units and organizing the units into groups and subgroups.
Design slam is a way to quickly generate design ideas, and improve team dynamics, by breaking a group into small design teams.
Design the box is a game for thinking through features and benefits of any product or service. Design the homepage is a variation on “Design the box” to identify features and design ideas for a website or web application.
Freelisting is a method for quickly generating lists on a topic or category.
Reverse it! is a game that asks teams to solve the opposite problem as a way to finding novel solutions.
Role play is a way to work through and experience scenarios.
Scavenger hunt is a game for exploring the usability of a system or web site, where people are given a list of features or other elements to find in a limited time.
What do you think? Have you tried any of these games, or something similar? What kinds of game-like practices have you employed in your work?