Innovation Games: New Techniques To Generate Business Results

chessSerious play for serious business growth

Two years ago, as an Innovation Games expert, I participated as part of a team in the 2012 Meaningful Play Conference. We presented our experiences around the Budget Games activities we conducted for the City of San Jose. (2014 was the fourth year in a row that these activities were conducted in San Jose.)

Held every two years, I thought it was a great idea to go back again to the 2014 Meaningful Play Conference hosted by Michigan State University and present more recent activities.

To download my presentation “My Favorite Games and Why They Work,” please click here.

What are Innovation Games and why do they work?

Innovation Games are a series of collaborative games and exercises, played in groups, that free people’s brains so they can discover fresh new ideas and arrive at breakthrough solutions they hadn’t thought of before.

The title of my talk this year was “My Favorite Games and Why They Work.” The key points I covered were as follows:

  1. Why we use games in business decision-making. I discussed fuzzy goals, lack of predictability and the need to have ready-to-go alternatives since nowadays, change happens at faster and faster rates.
  2. What’s up with the brain and how to trick it? The brain is hardwired. It sees what it wants to see, based upon past experiences. The key to successful innovation and creativity is to get the brain to see things in new ways.
  3. The 4-part process for innovation. This includes divergence, convergence, emergence and goal setting.
  4. Favorite games. I took the audience through the particular games which we at Simon Associates have found to be the most successful with our clients, and what business situations they can be used for. I then provided some success stories.

When do you use Innovation Games?

Innovation Games are extremely valuable when you want to:

  • Find breakthrough opportunities, unmet needs
  • Understand where your services fit your customers needs
  • Clarify when a customer will use your product or need your services
  • Make better strategic decisions
  • Find new market space
  • Engage your customers in co-creating your products or services
  • Help your users better understand their needs—unmet ones in particular
  • Find better ways to produce or service your products

Great feedback on the usefulness of Innovation Games

We had a number of people who appeared to be fully engaged in my presentation. The follow-up produced a number of interesting questions, as well as a discussion regarding practical application of Innovation Games to a varied client set.

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