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
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
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.
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.
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.