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The Pitch

Geneva workshop

Object of play

It is easy to come up with concepts in a world of imagination, where money, time and technical capacity are unlimited, or to generate ideas that look good in theory, but are impractical in reality. The Pitch is a role playing game designed to bring attention back to real world and focus on feasible and viable aspects of concepts (What are the key selling points? How can this make money? Why will people buy it?). The players need to imagine that they are entrepreneurs and that need to sell their idea to a group of rich venture capitalists (VCs).

Number of players: 4 – 12

Duration of play: 30  minutes to 1.5 hour

How to play

1.  Divide people into small groups, ideally pairs or triads. One group should take the role the VCs, while the others are ‘entrepreneurs’.

2.  A product or service is defined and agreed by the group.

3. Individually, each group spends 10 minutes formulating their pitch to be presented to the VCs. They can write, draw and rehearse: the creation is really up to each group. Ideally they should be in separate rooms or breakout spaces while creating the pitches

4.  All groups should be aware that one or two representatives will present the pitch verbally to the VCs but the whole group will answer their questions. It is also important to cap preparation time (around 10 minutes is good), since over-elaborating an idea can take away the true nature of their thoughts.

5.  Towards the end of the preparation time, the VCs give groups a time-warning: ‘You have 2 minutes prep remaining’.

6.  Each group then presents their pitch – a time limit (3 minutes) is given for each presentation and the VCs can ask up to two questions each.

7.  It’s not essential, but to add a sense of competition, the VCs can decide which pitch is the winner at the end.

Strategy

The idea behind this game is to capture the different perspectives that different groups have about a product, prototype, service or concept. Preparing a pitch to a venture capitalist obliges participants to focus on the really important ideas and the time limit helps them to concentrate on the core of the proposition. Because different groups will emphasize different aspects, it also provides a range of perspectives on the main idea being discussed. The questions the VCs ask usually expose weak points or help clarify ideas, which can then be shared and discussed by the group.

This game is also good for capturing the type of language people use to define a concept, product, service or situation, so you should encourage participants not to over-think the words they use in their pitch. If participants don’t know each other, it’s interesting to make a competition out of it, and even offer a prize to the winner: the shared goal of ‘winning the game’ usually brings teams together quickly.

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