3 comments for “Dave Gray talks about Gamestorming at UX Week in San Francisco

  1. December 1, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I’d like to contact Dave Gray about a possible speaking engagement for a UX team of 22 in Santa Barbara CA. Please email me at laura.smith@citrix.com.

    LOVE this stuff!!

  2. January 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    How does management handle the balance between being ‘creative’and getting the job done i.e. review process tasks, implementation, strategic planning, thinking, etc. Should these types of essential tasks also be done in “brain-storming” more chaotic situations? For most enterprises, a new idea is only ‘great’ if it can be implemented so to earn max profit or save costs (efficiency)!

  3. January 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Susan,

    Certainly you wouldn’t be in business if you couldn’t get things done. I hope you don’t think I am suggesting that Gamestorming is a substitute for management. I do believe that Gamestorming is an important element in the management toolkit, and that it will become increasingly important as businesses struggle to rethink and reinvent themselves in a rapidly changing world.

    Like any other management tool, Gamestorming has strengths and weaknesses, and the better you understand what it can and can’t do for you, the more useful it will be.

    Strengths are related to creativity and innovation:
    1. Engaging with groups that you don’t have authority over and can’t control, such as peers in your organization, customers or potential customers.
    2. Rethinking, re-imagining and reinventing your business. Creating significant change. Designing new products and services.
    3. Engaging a group to sift through and make sense of complex, ambiguous or uncertain situations. Trying to understand things you really don’t understand that well.
    4. Initiating positive action, even when you aren’t really sure where you need to go yet.

    Weaknesses are related to efficiency and control:
    1. Managing projects or processes. Making the trains run on time.
    2. Reducing costs, reducing defects, reducing risk, quality initiatives (unless you want new ideas for doing that! See above)
    3. Process consistency or control.
    4. Incremental improvement.

    For most businesses the challenge is twofold:

    On the one hand, you need to do the things that you know and are good at. These are the things that you know will make money. For those products and services that are already out there, you can analyze how you are doing and tweak things to make them more efficient and/or more profitable.

    On the other hand, the business world is changing and evolving all around you, so you know that you can’t keep doing the same thing forever or you might end up like Kodak, with a business built around film when the rest of the world has adopted digital cameras.

    So you need to keep doing the things you do well today while simultaneously thinking creatively about what you will need to do in order to be relevant tomorrow. And what you may need to do tomorrow might be significantly different, as opposed to incremental improvements on what you already do. For example, it doesn’t matter any more how good Kodak’s film is, because nobody’s buying film anymore.

    The problem with significant change, like a radically new product, is that there is no way to determine in advance whether it will succeed or fail. No amount of analysis can predict market success or failure.

    Entertainment companies, although they measure and track just about everything to do with their films, can’t predict which ones will be hits. They still spend millions on movies that flop. Coke, with all its marketing power and statistical market analysis, came out with New Coke, which flopped. Apple came out with the Newton, a flop.

    But those failures, although expensive, can be an important stepping stone to later success. After the Newton failed, Palm created a hit with the Palm Pilot, an idea that was very similar. Apple later leapfrogged Palm with the iPhone, which is in some ways a direct descendent of Newton.

    If you want to come out with some truly new stuff and lead your market, it’s inevitable that you will have some flops as well as some successes.

    When it comes to the implementation of anything, it definitely helps to have people actively participating and engaged. Gamestorming is definitely a way to get that energy working for you instead of against you.

    But Gamestorming is not a substitute for management. People will still need to know what they are responsible for. You will still need to track and measure the outcomes you want and hold people accountable to do their jobs.

    I hope this helps to answer your question.

    Dave

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