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In This Issue
Agile Games + Innovgames
IG at Work: San Jose, CA
IG Exchange
Knowsy News
Cyberspace Roundup
IGO Tips & Tricks
Quick Links
Play a Game!
Join Our Mailing List

Agile Games 2011 + Innovation Games Training = $400 off  

IG Book
April 12-13, Luke will be teaching a special "pre-Agile Games 2011" Innovation Games class in Boston, MA. To show our support to the Agile Games community, conference registrants willget an extra $200 off the admission--even off early bird prices.  


The 2-day class is interactive, case study-based, and promises to make you ready to put Innovation Games to work the moment you step back in the office. Luke will cover in-person & online games -- including our new iPad game Knowsy -- facilitation and presentation skills and much more.

Click  here to register and save $300! But don't wait! Early Bird ends March 11.

Innovation Games Training in Belgium

Join Maarten Volders, an Innovation Games Qualified Instructor, for a 2-day Innovation Games class in Meche
len, Belgium
on March 17-18, 2011. Early Bird rate ends March 1st; register now.

 Paris Innovation Games Class

Maarten Volders, an Innovation Games Qualified Instructor, will be teaching a 2-day Innovation Games class in Paris, France on March 29-30. For more details and to register, click here.

  Don't Miss Product Camp 2011

Product Camp returns to the Silicon Valley on April 2, 2011. Located on the EBay campus in San Jose, CA, this year's unconference will be even bigger and better than last year's funfest -- where 550+ product folks got together for a Saturday of discussions, talks, panels, networking, fun, food, t-shirts and surprises. More information and registration here.

Agile Games 2011 

Luke Hohmann is keynoting the 2nd annual Agile Games Conference, Agile Games 2011, in Boston on April 14.  For more information and to register, click here

May Days: Innovation Games Class in Belgium

Join Maarten Volders, an Innovation Games Qualified Instructor, for a 2-day Innovation Games class in Meche
len, Belgium
on May 30-31, 2011. Early Bird rate ends April 30; register now.

Bay Area IG Class

Join Luke Hohmann  for a 2-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding Course in Mountain View, CA, on May 19-20, 2010. This two-day interactive class covers both in-person and online games--including our new iPad game Knowsy--along with facilitation and presentation skills. For more information and to register, click here.

June IG Class 

Join Luke Hohmann  for a 2-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding Course in Mountain View, CA, on June 9-10, 2010. This two-day interactive class covers both in-person and online games--including our new iPad game Knowsy--along with facilitation and presentation skills. For more information and to register, click here

November 2011: Innovation Games Class in Belgium

Join Maarten Volders, an Innovation Games Qualified Instructor, for a 2-day Innovation Games class in Mechelen, Belgium
on November 28-29, 2011. Early Bird rate ends Oct. 28; register now.


Welcome to latest issue of Your Next Move!, our monthly newsletter covering the latest news, events and announcements from the Innovation Games®

Innovation Games at Work

San Jose, CA, Battles Budget Crisis with Innovation Games

Luke Hohmann
Luke photo 

On Jan 29th, 2011, history was made when a diverse and highly motivated group of community leaders and engaged citizens from the City of San Jose played a specially designed Innovation Game® to provide feedback regarding their budget priorities to the Mayor's office. In what has the potential to become a template for igniting a whole new kind of civic engagement through serious games, this second post of a three part series shares event results and experiences from many of the participants, including community leaders, city officials, and Innovation Games® Facilitators. Be on the lookout for my third and final post, where I will provide ideas on how Innovation Games® can be used to help solve a variety of civic problems.


Background: Motivation and Goals  

Like many city, state and national governments, the City of San Jose, CA, is facing a significant 2011-2012 budget deficit. To quickly recap the motivations and goals described in my first post of this three-part series:  

  • The Mayor's office wanted to better understand the priorities of citizens regarding key budget initiatives to help inform the budgeting process.
  • The event organizers wanted to try Innovation Games® as a way to engage community leaders in giving feedback.
  • Community leaders, representing a diverse cross-section of the city, wanted to participate in the budget process.San Jose Budget Games in action

At the outset, I'll point out that Mayor Reed thought the event was a "huge success". Read the rest of this post to find out why.


Click here to

Innovation Games in Action
The Super Knowsy Product Box

We love hearing from folks about how they're using Innovation Games, and this video from Rose Grabowski, Super Knowsy Rose GrabowskiProduct Manager at BuyerZone.com was a real treat because Rose didn't just tell us how she was using Innovation Games, she showed us. Rose used Product Box to describe our iPad game Knowsy and let the world know how Knowsy helps her stay connected with her extended family. Dubbed, "Super Knowsy," in the video, Knowsy really is a super way to have fun and get know people better.

Curious about Product Box? Check out this video where Julie Oliver uses the game to help describe her ideal retirement planning software or read the Product Box chapter from Luke's book to learn how to play Product Box yourself.
Seriously Fun Serious Games
Join Us for Innovation Games Exchange

On March 19, we're hosting Innovation Games Exchange, an unconference for the Innovation Games community. The day-long community-driven event is a forum where participants can explore creative ideas around playing, planning and designing serious games.

If you're interested in how games can be used to solve
Nancy Frishberg's photo of a product box and book

Curious about what Chinese Takeout boxes and pipe cleaners have to do with getting work done? Come to IG Exchange and find out.

problems, how collaborative play can help teams communicate, prioritize and reach decisions together, how serious games and the concept of gamification are transforming the world of work, this unconference is for you.

What: Unconference for folks interested in collaborative play and serious games

When: March 19, 2011; 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Where: Hacker Dojo, Mountain View, CA

Why: Innovation Games are Serious Fun.

Register: igexchange.innovationgames.com  

Shout out: Thanks to Pragmatic Marketing and XPLANE for sponsoring! It's going to be a great day to play games.

Knowsy News
I'm Tired of One Night Stands

Brent Harrison


In this blog post from SmokeJumperStrategy.com, Brent Harrison explains why our new white-label version of Knowsy, Knowsy Knows, is an attractive alternative to group buying sites like Groupon, Living Social, etc.

At the risk of mixing metaphors, Luke Hohmann recently described Groupon, Living Social and other daily deal sites as enticing businesses into one night stands. At first I laughed, but as I thought about my direct experiences with a plethora of group buying sites, I think he may be right. There is noOneNightStand doubt that these daily deal sites can deliver a deluge of coupon-grubbing customers to a small, local business's door step. But at what cost? Negative margin, stretching service delivery to breaking point, alienation of regular loyal customers, attracting customers who don't spend more than the deal amount and won't ever come back are some of the well documented potential pitfalls. (And hopefully not STD's!)


I often describe Groupon, Living Social and other daily deal sites as providing small businesses a large, fishing drift net to cast broadly into the ocean; the result is you will no doubt collect a lot of sea life, but only some of which will be the targeted species you are actually fishing for. Luke's metaphor is certainly more colorful and may, in fact, be truer than mine.


So what's the alternative? Well, we just launched the first ever "white-label, celebrity-branded, social contest app" for the iPad.  


Click here to read on. 

Cyberspace Roundup
IG in the HuffPo, Process Improvement, Down with PowerPoint and more


It's been a busy month for Innovation Games in cyberspace. We've selected a few of the more interesting posts here for your reading pleasure.

Can Games and Gamification Fix Washington?
Gabe Zichermann, Chair of the Gamification Summit and

Gabe Zichermann

Gabe Zichermann

author of Game-Based Marketing, recently interviewed CEO Luke Hohmann for his article in the Huffington Post on how games and game mechanics can be used to fix the political system. Zichermann writes, "Instead of merely giving users surveys where data is often out of touch with reality, Innovation Games -- like the one just completed for the city of San Jose -- put the electorate in the shoes of their officials, forcing them to make hard, experiential decisions."  

Read the complete post here.

Innovation Games for Process Optimization
Speed Boat Agile Minds CroppedAgileMind's Jurgen De Smet recently described how he used Innovation Games for a large scale retrospective. The goal? Align two different processes that are managed by two different teams, but imposed on a entire organization of 100+ people. Jurgen provides a great how-to guide for anyone looking to use Innovation Games for optimizing their process. To read more and see images of the games in action, click here.

Training without PowerPoint

Elena Yatzeck writes about her experience in our recent Innovation Games class in Chicago, writing, "The games Slideshowthemselves provide wonderful techniques for doing "qualitative market research" (if you're a marketing person) or "requirements gathering" (if you're a software developer). You must try them, you must!"  

       She continues, "but as veteran qualitative researchers would tell you, the most interesting part of what I learned (and that's saying a lot) was from the medium, not the message. The course was taught 100% PowerPoint free. In fact, there was no projector. It was the most devious and marvelously designed way to coax learning out of an group of adults I've ever seen." Click here to read more. 


Short Takes 

  • Andrius Kulikauskas's post "Origins of Games", on the Gamestorming site, lists the origins of games used in the community.
  • CEO Luke Hohmann provides an introduction to market segmentation--what it is, how to get started and why it's important--in this video for Open View Venture Partners.  
  • Gerry Kirk writes about his experience as an observer for the Budget Prioritization games we recently organized for the City of San Jose, CA.
  • InfoQ's Chris Matts profiles the San Jose event, interviewing CEO Luke Hohmann and drawing parallels to agile.   
Meet the Team
Wako Takayama, VP of Marketing

This month Wako Takayama, our Vice President of Marketing is my "Meet the Team" victim, taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my semi-silly questions and tell us a little bit about herself.  


She has a diverse background that includes qualitative market

Wako for Newsletter
Wako Takayama

research (she's an anthropologist by training, after all), developing handwriting recognition products, advertising shampoo and cereal, and marketing and delivering services in the sustainable, energy efficiency and complementary healthcare arenas. Phew! The common thread through it all has been listening for understanding; being a customer champion. Which brings her to Innovation Games where she works on consulting projects and leads the marketing efforts.


What's your favorite Innovation Game?
Prune the Product Tree. The tree metaphor is really powerful.

What makes you smile?
Seeing people who are passionate about their thing, doing their thing.

What is your favorite place in the world?
New Mexico. The sky, the light, the dust. Love it all.

What's the coolest thing you've seen or done lately?
Watch all of the 2011 Oscar-nominated short live action films. So much can happen in 20 minutes.

Who do you want to play Knowsy with?
Yo-Yo Ma. In addition to his brilliant cello performances, I admire his dedication to continual creative exploration and innovation and collaboration. I think he'd appreciate the playfulness and discovery nature of Knowsy. And if he invited his buddy the choreographer Mark Morris to play with us, we might see some very interesting new Knowsy topics!


IGO Tips and Tricks
How to Price Items for Buy a Feature

One of the essential activities when designing your Buy a Feature game is pricing the items within the game. The goal is to develop a pricing scheme that helps you gain insight into your customers true motivations. Here are some tips and techniques to help you. I'll cover:  

  • Simple pricing, when every item is the same price
  • Pricing based on shirt sizes
  • Complex pricing schemes

The good news is that you can play around with a variety of different pricing schemes to help you determine the best approach.


Simple Pricing: When Everything is the Same Price
The simplest form of pricing items is to make every single item the same price. You should use this technique when the cost to create these items and/or the value that these items provide are roughly the same. Which means you're probably not going to use this approach very much, because most of the time items have a differentiated cost. And, since the players of the game know that items have different costs, the game is actually less fun if the items are priced the same when they cost different amounts to create. So, use this approach with caution.  


Click here to read more.


Have any news about the Innovation Games® community?  Email us at info@innovationgames.com.


Can't wait for the next newsletter? Do you have to know what's new with Innovation Games®, right now? Find out what's happening with us at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, our blog or at Games for Democracy


Tami Carter
Director of Community and Training
The Innovation Games® Company
Save 25%  
Save 25% on an Innovation Games for Customer Understanding course taught by Luke Hohmann and organized by The Innovation Games Company, when registering with the code WELCOME. For upcoming courses click here. Offer excludes one-day courses and the Innovation Games Master Class. This coupon is transferable. Please share it with interested parties.
Offer Expires: Feb
Mar. 30, 2011