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In This Issue
Agile Games + Innovgames
Innovation Games at Work
Games for Civic Engagement
Instant Play
IGE Wrapup
Remember the Future
Agile 2011 Sessions
Cyberspace Roundup
Meet the Team
Quick Links
Play a Game!
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  Save $300 on Boston Innovation Games Class     

IG Book
On April 12-13, Luke will be teaching a special "pre-Agile Games 2011" Innovation Games class in Boston, MA. This

2-day class is interactive and case study-based; We guarantee you will be ready to put Innovation Games to work the moment you step back in the office.  


You will learn how to plan, pay and facilitate in-person & online games -- including our new iPad game Knowsy. We'll also cover facilitation and presentation skills and much more.

Click here to register and save $300 off with the code NEWS4.

 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.

Tech@State: Serious Games event  

Tech@State, whose mission is connecting technology with opportunity to aid U.S. diplomacy and development, is hosting a two-day forum on May 27-28 at the Newseum in Washington, DC to explore how serious games can be used teach, train and solve problems in ways the real world may not always allow. For more information and to participate, click here.  

#Innovgames at Better Software Conference

Join Bob Hartman for his 1/2 day tutorial entitled, "Collaborate through Innovation Games" at the Better Software  Conference in Las Vegas on June 5, 2011. For more details on the session and to register, go 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 March issue of Your Next Move!, our monthly newsletter covering the latest news, events and announcements from the Innovation Games®


Innovation Games at Work

Pruning the Product Tree at Oracle 

Getting product feedback through traditional methods such as surveys, focus groups and Q&A sessions with PowerPoint slides is often an inperfect exercise. As Josh Lannin, senior product manager of collaboration technology at Oracle, puts it, "Oftentimes these conversations aren't very productive, with limited input from only a few participants. Typically, we walk away having simply reinforced our existing projections about our opportunities."  


In this recent blog post, Josh outlines how he used Prune the Product Tree (PTPT) at an internal product feedback conference to tap the creativity and wisdom of the 25

Oracle PTPT
The completed tree.

technical sales consultants. Here are some of his insights on how they used PTPT to add product capabilities and identify sales needs:  


Why Prune the Product Tree?  

"My goal was to take advantage of the face time to get people[to] think about the future, work collaboratively and have fun -- harnessing the proverbial 'wisdom of the crowd'.  While it was new to me, and felt a bit risky, Prune the Product Tree was a great exercise and had a number of benefits for the group which I didn't expect beforehand.   

= creative spark
"One team member wanted more instruction: To paraphrase 'I'm a right-brained engineering guy and I need focused direction on what we are doing'. I took this [discomfort] as a positive sign that I was asking people to step outside their comfort zone and creating some cognitive dissonance to help with the creative process."

Unexpected results
"Watching the teams work, I could see that one unexpected and positive result was not just the development of new ideas but also the knowledge transfer happening around the product features I had put into the starter trees. I could see people explaining to others what the new features of our next release were for, or how they had used features of the existing product with customers to solve problems. So the exercise wasn't just providing the product management team feedback, it was simultaneously helping to build relationships between the various subject matter experts participating."

Click here to read Josh's complete post.  

From the Blog

A Realistic Vision for Citizen Engagement through Games

Luke Hohmann
Luke photo 

In this our third post the San Jose City Budget Games, Luke lays out a series of pragmatic, cost-effective and engaging ways serious games like Innovation Games® can be used to solve common problems facing civic leaders: From practical applications of Spider Web to understand the  relationships between products and services, to understanding how Cities Grow using Prune the  Product Tree, to using Remember the Future to create long-term vision and planning (and more).

Civic Engagement Is The Goal
Simplifying a lot of history, let's consider the structure of a representational democracy. Wikipedia tells us that a "Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy." I quite happily live in a representative democracy. And while no governmental structure is perfect, I'm convinced that representative democracies are an effective form of government.

One area of representational democracy that has me concerned, however, is the degree of participation of the citizens within their governments. Participation in government is declining, and that's not good: 

  • Citizens can't elect the best representatives when they're not engaged in understanding the issues and the actions that potential representatives intend to take if elected.
  • Elected officials can't make the best choices unless they have some way of understanding the preferences of their citizens.
  • It is very hard to find innovative solutions to the hard problems that we're facing when we're not engaging in dialogue and debate about both the problems and the solutions.  

Ultimately, a lack of broad participation means that we simply won't realize the benefits of a representational democracy: Too small of a set of citizens will wield a disproportionate influence over the political process. 


Click here to

IGO Release
'Instant Play' Games Arrive!

Users of Innovation Games Online (IGO) are familiar with theEmpathy Map Play Now power of online visual collaboration games. IGO allows distributed teams to solve complex problems using the same metaphors that in-person teams would used. From Speed Boat, to Prune the Product Tree, to Design Your Own Visual Collaboration Game, IGO allows you to collaborate around a shared diagram or image, while the system acts as a perfect observer, silently recording every event so that they can be analyzed.

The latest release of IGO makes accessing and using these visual collaboration games even easier. Instead of logging in to IGO, creating a game definition and then scheduling and inviting players to your game, you can now simply "Click to Play" on one of a series of images/diagrams that will lead you to a pre-created game, an Instant Game. Go ahead, click on the Empathy Map image above find out how easy IGO makes collaboration -- even with team members scattered across the globe.

Want to try more games? Check out the links below, which include the instant play image, along with instructions on how to play:

Have an image or diagram you want to see as an Instant Game? Let us know.

Innovation Games Exchange
We Played, We Ate, We Learned

If you missed our recent unconference Innovation Games Exchange, you missed out on a great time. We met at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, CA, on a rainy Saturday to play games, network and learn. You can find reports on some of the 12 sessions on the conference wiki (more coming soon!)
IGExchange photo by Bill Daul

Photo by Bill Daul

and photos of the event on Flickr. Sessions included a Game Design Clinic (which produced 30+ games we plan to turn into Instant Games), an Improv session, an Ideation Games Exchange and much more.

In Appreciation
Thanks again to our sponsors XPLANE and Pragmatic Marketing for your support, and special thank you to the esteemed Nancy Frishberg who stepped up and guided us through the day as our Open Space Facilitator. Thanks Nancy!

Stay tuned for more details on upcoming Innovation Games Exchanges and meetups around the world in the next few months.

IG in Action
Clearing the Elephants from the Room

We've all been on projects where issues -- unmentioned or un-dealt with -- later grew into huge problems that might have never existed if only the underlying issues had been discovered and dealt with from the start. There are lots of tools for improvement after the fact, but how about before? Remember the Future, with its inherent "The future is now" premise, is just such a tool, and its effectiveness for revealing those "elephants" in the room is apparent in Scrum Master Cara Turner's post "Pre-Mortem Exercise" on Inevitable.co.za. Read on for her description of Remember the Future in action.

"I recently tried [Remember the Future] with a team whoRemember the Future were about to start a focused performance enhancement sprint on their product, where there was a lot of concern about whether this sprint would resolve the product's problems.

We did this exercise in the Sprint Retrospective, and I introduced it as a slightly different retrospective activity, imagining that we've come to the end of the project, and it had all gone horribly wrong.

Usually at the end of the project, there is a 'Lessons Learned' exercise, which lists the things that went wrong -- and usually, there are a bunch of people saying "I said that would happen, but nobody listened." So this is a chance to listen at the start, and get those opinions and fears out early when they can add value to the planning, instead of going down the predictable-failure route.

Click here to read more.
Agile 2011
Support Proposals by Fellow Innovation Gamers!


Review of the session proposals for Agile 2011 is underway -- with some acceptance notices already out -- but there's still time for you support your fellow Innovation Gamers in their quest to speak at the event. Check out the submissions below and let the  Agile 2011 Program Chairs know you want to see these sessions at the event in August.


Innovation Games Sessions  

Knowsy: A Balanced Team Approach to iPad Game Development  Lane Halley's proposed session details her experience helping us create Knowsy! and focuses on the lessons learned from using agile user experience methods with a small, collaborative cross-functional team. 


Experiences Engaging Virtual Teams Online Brian Bozzuto's proposed session is about his experiences working with virtual teams online during his work with the PMI Agile Community of Practice. 


Facilitation Games for Project Managers Jesse Fewell's session will teach attendees a series of techniques, based on Innovation Games, that will help teams leverage their skillsets to double project management effectiveness, using half the time. 


There's an Agile game for That Carleton Nettleton and Aaron Sanders' proposed session not only outlines the variety of games available to enable many Agile concepts, but gives attendees a chance to try the games for themselves. 


Gerry Kirk's session on the large-scale Innovation Game event we produced for the City of San Jose, CA, has already been accepted. (Hurray!)  


Other Sessions Worthy of Support

Elizabeth Hendrickson and Dale Emory's submission "Huh? AHA! Wow: Facilitating Games to Maximize Learning" is based on their extensive use of games and simulations in their training. They've discovered -- as we have -- that games produce deep, personal and effective learning -- the "Aha! moment."     


Agile Requirements: To User Stories and Beyond! Chris Sims' proposal is a thorough introduction to the secrets behind uncovering requirements using proven agile techniques.  


Risk Management Game: Shared Accountability Through Collaborative Risk Analysis  Julie Chickering's session on the Risk Management Game will walk you through a powerful, collaborative and fun exercise for getting better results through collaboration.   


Whatever the Problem, Community Is the Answer Gerry Kirk's session will teach participants how to use World Cafe conversation format to spark meaningful dialogue and establish and maintain community engagment.


Do you know of any other proposals from the Innovation Games community? Let me know!

Cyberspace Roundup
Games and Government, Product Box Practice, IG around the World ...


Organizations and individuals around the world continue to put Innovation Games to work to solve complex problems in both the public and private sector. Here's a collection of a few of the most interesting posts that have popped up in cyberspace since the last newsletter.

Click to Participate--Games in Government
Games are becoming firmly established as a tool for civicistock flag keyboard engagement and problem-solving -- in large part because the Millennial generation,  those born since the mid 80s, have come of age playing games and experiencing life and work enriched in technology. In this article by Jeff Lopez on the Gamification blog, he outlines how social media and serious games are becoming integral parts of the Government 2.0 movement, profiling the results from our recent Budget Prioritization games for the City of San Jose, CA, as an example. Read the complete post here.

Agile Games Can Save the World

Trained Facilitator and founder of Agile Learning Labs Chris Sims writes about his experience facilitating at the Budget Prioritization games for the City of San Jose and how agile games really good save the world. Check out the post on the Agile Learning Lab's blog and let us know if you want to be involved in similar efforts. Let's use our skills to make the world a better place. 


Product Box in Practice: Agile UXProduct Box inspiration
Jean-Claude Grosjean, an agile coach and senior UX consultant for Valtech, included Product Box in his post, "A Day in the Life of an Agile UX Practitioner."  Grosjean outlines several techniques for helping teams develop  a shared "Vision" and includes images and instructions for using the techniques. To read the post, click here.    


From Russia with Love

Innovation Games were featured at Agile Days 2011 inRussian speedboat Moscow earlier this month. Dimitry Layer from Softline reports on his two sessions, including "Strategic Planning through Innovation Games" on the Softline Blog. Dimitry also led a series of Innovation Games for conference attendees focused on how to make the conference better--games played included Speed Boat and Product Box. (If you'd like to run a conference retrospective with Innovation Games, contact us for more information.)  

Meet the Team
Jonathan Clark, Our Man in the Netherlands

This month I begin putting our Innovation Games Qualified

Jonathan Clark
Jonathan Clark

Instructors in the "Meet the Team" hot seat, starting with Jonathan Clark. Our qualified instructors are helping us expand Innovation Games training worldwide. Jonathan, located in Utrecht, Netherlands, teaches Innovation Games courses and designs and produces  Innovation Games engagements across Western Europe as part of his work as an independent advisor on strategy and Innovation. Jonathan's 20 years experience in technology and international publishing gives him deep understanding of running customer-centric businesses.


What's your favorite Innovation Game?
Product Box!

What makes you smile?
Pretty much anything -- I smile a lot!.

What is your favorite place in the world?
A table in a great restaurant.

What has been your proudest moment?
Watching my son play rugby and my daughter dance.

If you could meet any famous person, who would it be?
Alexis Soyer, once the most celebrated chefs in England and a wonderful innovator.

What's the coolest thing you've seen or done lately?

I recently visited Chennai in southeast India -- such an inspiring place in so many ways.


Who do you want to play Knowsy with?  

Apple's SVP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive.   

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:
April 30, 2011