Object of Play
The 20/20 Vision game is about getting group clarity around which projects or initiatives should be more of a priority than others. Because employees’ attention is so often divided among multiple projects, it can be refreshing to refocus and realign more intently with the projects that have the biggest bang for the buck. And defining the “bang” together helps ensure that the process of prioritization is quality.
Number of Players
Duration of Play
30 minutes to 1.5 hours
How to Play
- Before the meeting, write any proposed project or initiative relevant to the players on sticky notes, one item per note. And when you begin, it’s important that the initiatives you’ve written on the sticky notes are posted in random order during both stages of the game. Shuffle them before the meeting starts—you can even blind-post or ask a player to post—so that from the onset there is no implicit prioritization on your part.
- Introduce the game by explaining to the players that 20/20 Vision is about forced prioritization based on perceived benefits. Verbalize the importance of building consensus on priorities to move the organization forward.
- In a wall space visible to the players, post an initiative and ask the players to describe its benefits. Write their descriptions on a sticky note posted next to that initiative. If there’s disagreement around the benefits of an initiative, write down both or all of the points made. Assume that there’s validity to multiple perspectives and let the group indicate the majority perspective through the ranking process. If the group already has a shared sense of the benefits for each initiative, don’t spend a lot of time clarifying them. Just move into prioritization and respond to questions around benefits as they organically come up.
- Repeat step 3 for all relevant projects or initiatives until the benefits have been thoroughly described by the players, captured on sticky notes and posted.
- Ask the players if any initiatives are missing from the wall. If so, request that they write them down, post them, and discuss their benefits so that you can capture them.
- Move into a neighboring wall space, pull down two random initiatives and ask the players which they can agree are more or less important to the organization’s vision or goals.
- Post the one that the group generally agrees is more important above the one they generally agree is less important.
- Move another initiative into the new space. Ask the players if it is more or less important than the two posted and post it accordingly—higher priorities at the top, lower priorities at the bottom.
- Repeat this process until all initiatives have been thoroughly discussed and prioritized.
20/20 Vision is about asking players to thoughtfully evaluate priorities as a group. The first phase of the game—describing and capturing the benefits—is significant because it lays the groundwork for the hard part: determining priorities. It can be challenging to get a group to rank its projects, all of which seem important in some way.
The game works best if you can facilitate general agreement around the benefits and resist the temptation to let the group waffle on prioritizing. They must make the hard decisions. And when the going gets tough, take heart: the players who resist ranking the most may also offer a wealth of insight into the initiatives and ultimately help the players better refine the final ranking.
20/20 Vision is based on and adapted from the same-named activity in Luke Hohmann’s book, Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play.