Last week, I attended the most awesomest, super-cool, rock-my-world training class on collaborative problem-solving. Luke Hohmann of the The Innovation Games® Company taught a class of 20 consultants how to use his Innovation Games approach to team facilitation. Not only was the class filled with some already very strong facilitators, but Luke was able to give us some concrete tools to go to the next level.
Seriously? Games at the office?
Luke talks about a sector of the game world called “Serious Games”. These “games” are actually interactive exercises designed to get work done and attack very real-world business problems. For example…
- To understand what you need to improve, play Speed Boat.
- To understand what features you need to build into your next product release, play Buy a Feature.
- To understand new possibilities, play Product Box
- To understand how & where your product fits into the market, play Spider Web
Seriously? Any Office Problem Can Be Made Into A Game?
The full package of Innovation Games consists of 12 different interactive exercises, which you can read about here. However, that’s not all. What really blew my mind was the possibility to turn any graphic into a collaborative tool. Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to get a sense of what questions we need to answer at each stage of a project. On a large paper printout of the project stages, team members will post a sticky note to the left side of each stage. Then, team members post on the right side of the project stages a set of interactive exercises we can perform to answer those questions. So, if at the portfolio level, we want to know which projects to prioritize, we can play Buy a Feature.
As a management trainer and coach, I already had a number of collaborative exercises in my toolkit. But now, I have over a dozen more to choose from, as well as the foundation to create an infinite number of situation specific games. If you are a trainer, speaker, consultant, or team leader, then I strongly recommend you go sign up for this course (not an affiliate link). It will make you dramatically better at working with knowledge teams.