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In This Issue
Master Class for Consultants
Innovation Games at Work
From the Blog
Game Spotlight
Agile Games 2011
Cyberspace Roundup
Meet the Team
Quick Links
Play a Game!
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Innovation Games Master Class 

IG Book
Calling all Consultants. Join Wako Takayama on June 9-10, 2011 in Mountain View, CA, for our two-day Innovation Games class, designed especially for consultants. You'll learn how to plan, play & post-process the games, in addition to advice on structuring & planning client engagements. 


Register here

Cost: $500*  

50% off Refresher Discount available for Trained Facilitators. 


*Courtesy pricing for Consultants only.  

#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.  

San Francisco
 Agile Conference

Many Innovation Games Trained Facilitators (Chris Sterling, Brent Barton, Carlton Nettleton) and Qualified Instructors (Derek Wade) are speaking as part of the program at the San Francisco Agile Conference, June 15-17. For more details on the session and to register, go here.  

Save $50 on Global Innovation Forum 

Luke Hohmann will be speaking at the Global Innovation Forum Silicon Valley, a conference produced by SRI International, IBM and the Lucas Graduate School of Business at San Jose State University. The June 16th event focuses on "Innovation and the Digital Generation" and features speakers from such Silicon Valley companies as Google, HP, Apple and more. To save $50 on registration, register using the GIFFRIENDS promo code.

Innovgames Training in Texas  

Qualified Instructor Jeff Brantley will be holding Innovation Games classes in various locations in Texas this summer. Click on each session for complete details. 


Austin: June 28  

Houston, July 26

Dallas, Aug. 16

August 2011: Agile Teams Class  

Qualified Instructor Jeff Brantley will be teaching an Innovation Games for Agile Teams class in Austin, TX on August 23. The class covers in-person and online games, facilitation and presentation skills. Register early for discounts.  

Innovgames Comes to the Mile High City 

Qualified Instructor Jeff Brantley will be teaching a 2-day Innovation Games class in Denver, CO on July 12-13. The class covers in-person and online games, facilitation and presentation skills. Register early for discounts.  

Bevill Edge® adds Innovation Games Class in Chicago

Qualified Instructor Scotty Bevill will be teaching a 2-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding course in Chicago on July 19-20, 2011. The class covers in-person and online games, facilitation and presentation skills. Register early  for discounts.  

InnovGames Training Comes to St. Louis, MO.

Qualified Instructor Scotty Bevill will be teaching a 2-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding course in St. Louis, MO, on July 26-27, 2011. The class covers in-person and online games, facilitation and presentation skills. Register early  for discounts.  

Milwaukee, WI: 2-Day  Innovation Games Training

Qualified Instructor Scotty Bevill will be teaching a 2-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding course in Milwaukee, WI, on August 2-3, 2011. The class covers in-person and online games, facilitation and presentation skills. Register early  for discounts.  

 September 2011: Innovation Games Class in Stockholm

Join Maarten Volders, an Innovation Games Qualified Instructor, for a 2-day Innovation Games class in Stockholhm, Sweden
on September 8-9, 2011. Early Bird rate ends August 8; register now.

 September 2011: Innovation Games Class in Helsinki, Finland

Join Maarten Volders, an Innovation Games Qualified Instructor, for a 2-day Innovation Games class in Helsinki, Finland
on September 13-14, 2011. Early Bird rate ends August 12; register now.

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

Prune the Product Tree Gets Political 

If you've been following these newsletters, than you know that one of our passions is how Innovation Games can be used for civic engagement, and our recent Budget Games for the City of San Jose, CA wasn't the first time Innovation Games have been used to help connect governments and citizens. In October 2010, Trained Facilitator and Sault Ste. Marie, Canada resident Gerry Kirk decided to incorporate Innovation Games® Online into his work with ChangeCamp Sault St. Marie. Gerry, a leader in the Agile Movement, had already used Innovation Games in his work with clients, and wanted to bring their capabilities to help strengthen his community.     


How did you incorporate Innovation Games into your work with ChangeCamp?     

Changecamp tree

The game board from one of the ChangeCamp PTPT games.

I used Prune The Product Tree Online during a virtual "election café" to bring together candidates for municipal election and citizens. Our purpose was to use the online game so that the citizens and candidates could dialogue with each other in a meaningful way and enable the citizens to make more informed decisions about which candidates to vote for.

The metaphor of the tree worked well as the participants collectively shared ideas about creating a more vibrant, healthy community and then prioritized them.


Can you tell us about the design of the game?
We used the tree to represent a vibrant, healthy Sault Ste. Marie and the apples to represent ideas/projects that would help support this growth. Apples placed near the trunk would provide quick benefits and could be grown easily. Apples placed near the branches would provide longer-term benefits, but might not be so easily grown. There were a limited number of apples, so the participants had to work together and collaborate during the game.

Who participated?
We played two 90-minute games with 8 players each. Younger citizens were well represented. In fact, 14-year-old Matt Kot dove in head first to the game, sharing his ideas and encouraging everyone else to do the same. From the chat logs:

Matt Kot: I am making another apple!
Matt Kot: The College! The youth go to college and darn right they have 90% employment rate!
Matt Kot: we should be proud of the college, Algoma U

What were the results?
For me, the biggest outcome was observing the engaged, meaningful dialogue between people across our city. This small experiment gave a taste of what's possible if we were to scale these activities to involve thousands of citizens.

I posted the results of the two games on Flickr, outlining the programs and ideas the players thought would nurture our city. You can also see a snippet of the Ward 1-3 Prune the Product Tree Online, sped up for your viewing pleasure here. You'll see apples being placed on the board, and plenty of discussion in the chat.
 Click here to read Gerry's complete blog post on the event.

From the Blog

Transforming Enterprise Collaboration Through Expertise Communities

Luke Hohmann
Luke photo 

As organizations around the world have embraced Innovation Games® to address an array of needs within their own internal business, or, as consultants who use our techniques to provide games-based services to their clients', we have constantly tried to generate the materials and documentation needed to support those efforts. And while we're pleased that we've made progress in creating these materials (books, websites, a LinkedIn group, reusable templates and other assets), we know that we can do even more. In this post, I'm pleased to announce the release of prioritization.wpengine.com, a user-friendly, comprehensive, adaptive and customizable website focused on helping you leverage one of the more common uses of the games: The tactical and strategic prioritization of product features, project portfolios, sales deals and other items with internal and external stakeholders.

But this post isn't about prioritization.wpengine.com (we call it pcom for short). Go bookmark that site and then come back here and keep reading the rest of this post, as it outlines the strategy behind pcom and why we think pcom represents the future of how enterprise software companies must enable their customers and their larger ecosystem through a new approach to the development and sharing of expertise. When you're finished, I hope that you'll want to copy, extend and improve pcom inside your own expertise community.


Click here to

Game Spotlight
Product Box for Small Business

Like the people who work at The Innovation Games®
Building a Product Box

Innovation Games class members build their Product Box.

Company, many people in our global community are deeply motivated to improve civic engagement and their own, local, city, and national communities through the use of the games. One of the most important ways to improve communities is through locally owned, small businesses. Strong, locally owned businesses create strong communities. We are real believers in small business, and our Knowsy® platform is designed to celebrate the relationship that small businesses have with their loyal customers, while drawing in new ones. (You can learn more about getting your own, customized version of Knowsy for your business here.)

In a recent class, I asked the participants to use Product Box to "sell" the City of San Jose to small businesses. The results, as you might expect, were remarkable. Click here to see the videos and read the entire post.

Agile Games 2011
Learn Fast, Flame Out, Fill In

In mid-April, agile gamers converged on Microsoft's New England Research and Development Center for Agile Games 2011. The three-day conference was sold out, representing the growing interest in gamification and games that do work. Innovation Games® have long been used by agile teams for retrospectives, roadmapping and more, so we were delighted to participate and sponsor the event. Here's a collection of posts from the blogosphere about Innovation Games and Innovation Gamers at Agile Games 2011.

Planning for TasteCupcakes' Future
Prune the Product Tree and Buy a Feature are often used inptpt for Tastycupcakes 1 combination to help organizations gather feedback from their constituents and then prioritize the input into short-term and long-term plans. Michael Sahota, an Innovation Games® Trained Facilitator, had a chance to use this Innovation Games combo, at Agile Games 2011 to help plan the future direction of TastyCupcakes.org.

The deep-dive session was pulled together at the last-minutePTPT for TastyCupcakes 2 due to a medical emergency, and Michael acted as product owner. "We played Prune the Product Tree (PTPT) in open-ended exploration mode," Michael writes, "where initially the tree was empty of items -- it was up to the players to decide what was important for game designers and game seekers at various time horizons."

Michael and the other facilitators thought of the session as just a case study, but the teams playing PTPT took it PTPT for TastyCupcakes 3seriously-and produced valuable and insightful ideas and features for the community-driven website. At the game's end, Michael identified features unearthed by the PTPT and priced them for a game of Buy a Feature (using shirt sizes). Then Luke Hohmann created and printed the feature lists and descriptions, and after lunch, the fun resumed with three in-person Buy a Feature games and one online version, resulting in prioritized features for a new TastyCupcakes.org. Click here to get the full download on the games and the results.

Learn Fast with Innovation Games
Agile Games attendee Richard Kasperowski summarizes the major themes of the conference as "Learn Fast, Not Fail Fast" and "Teach People Early, Not Disappoint People Early" in his April 29 blog post of conference highlights. TIGC CEO Luke Hohmann's keynote, "Innovation Games®: Software Powered Innovation Through Collaborative Play", which kicked off the conference, gets high marks for its message about how awesome it is to work in software. Richard also praises the Innovation Games workshop lead by Luke Hohmann and trained facilitators Brian Bozzuto and Johnny Scarborough, where participants played 20/20 Vision to plan improvements for next year's conference. To read more about his experience and other sessions, click here.

Planning Onion Flames Out
Ellen Grove, an agile coach and software tester, was also at Luke's keynote, but what struck her, were his comments on
planning flame

Ellen Grove's Planning Flame is her answer to the Planning Onion.

the Agile Planning Onion. According to Ellen, Luke proclaimed that the Planning Onion ought to be replaced by the Planning Flame because "Agile teams burn hot!" Luke's comment, and an earlier post that she had read by Mishkin Berteig (The Agile Planning Onion is Wrong), prompted her to create the Planning Flame Diagram.

Ellen writes, "I like how [the flame] conveys a sense of creating energy and shedding light on things, rather than just growing quietly in the dirt. If you extend this notion to incorporate the idea of culture as the medium in which all of this combustion happens -- or where things can fizzle out if the atmosphere doesn't contain the right mix of environmental attributes to support the flame -- you might end up with my Planning Flame Diagram." Click here to read the complete post.

Cyberspace Roundup
The French Connection edition (plus Speed Boat Stateside)


It's been a busy month in cyberspace for Innovation Games, especially in the French-speaking parts of the world. Here are a few of the most interesting posts from Hanoi, to Paris, to the U.S.A.


Innovation Games en Francais
In mid-April, Innovation Games were featured on the program of SFEIR's second Agile Laboratory: The monthly events are designed to help the French consulting company's team to learn, exchange ideas and continuously improve. The day-long session began with a high-level overview of the games and their advantages. Nicholas Monday, the author of the post, comments that Innovation Games, for him, have the following advantages:

  • They facilitate connections between team members and therefore increase cooperation.
  • They can help focus participants' attention by removing them from their daily tasks.
  • The visual nature of the games helps you easily remember key messages
  • The act of playing blurs any hierarchies in the group that may have tarnished any creative potential.  

The Innovation Games portion of the day concluded with an interesting Buy a Feature session on the marketable features of future cars and a Speed Boat session where participants determined the subject of the game. To read the complete post (and check up on my translation skills), click here

Flirting with Buy a Feature in Hanoi

Aymeric Libeau, CIO and VP of Infrastructure and R&D for Pentalog, an offshoring company, recently blogged about his intent to use  Buy a Feature during the Project Manager Camp held for the Pentalog team in Hanoi, Vietnam. The camps typically last a full day and cover such topics as organization, quality, customer relations, etc. Libeau's goals for improving the camps include encouraging more interactivity-a good thing, right?  


He writes, "We are going to use an approach that I saw in an Agile seminar, called Innovation Game:  Buy a Feature. Every participant receives an amount of money in a fictitious currency, 'Penta-Euro,' for instance. Instead of the seminar leader choosing a random subject, the participants are the ones who form groups in order to buy the topics they are interested in. This collaboration is specific to the Agile method." Sounds like Libeau is taking a step in the right direction toward increasing interaction. Read the complete post here

Vive le Speed Boat!

Speed Boat is often adapted by agile teams for retrospectives (see Jason Tanner's take here), and with good reason. Retrospectives can often be stale, dry activities, especially if the team is distributed. In this blog post, Antoine, an agile consultant from France, writes about how he is often looking for new ways to conduct retrospectives with his team. Recently, after receiving Luke's book, he decided to use Speed Boat for the retrospective on his team's recent sprint. They drew a boat on large paper, dubbed the boat the team, and then they settled in and posted the "anchors" that were holding them back from success. After the anchors posted, Antoine guided the team through discussion of what theydiscovered. To read more, click here.   


Meanwhile, across the pond in Bellevue, WA, Steve Hamilton


Imprev's Speed Boat game in progress.

led the product development team for Imprev (an ASP serving the real estate industry) through a team-focused retrospective using Speed Boat. The Flash Designer drew a boat on the white board and the team added anchors representing items that needed to be worked on by the group. Hamilton was pleased and surprised by results-especially, since the team wiki was a top item for improvement. He writes, "I had no idea the team cared about our wiki nor that they had specific ideas to improve it AND would pick it as the top thing to fix in our retrospective." To read Steve's complete post, click here


Meet the Team
J.D. Yaske, Intern Extraordinaire

Summer means Interns (Yippee!), and we're lucky to have some exceptionally talented folks joining us this summer. This month, JD Yaske, who is working as a designer and developer on Knowsy and the Knowsy Knows platform, is our Meet the Team Victim.  


J.D. is studying Media Arts and Technology at Michigan

JD Cropped

J.D. Yaske

StateUniversity, specializing in Game Design and minoring in Computer Science. He's lived all over the map, including including New Orleans, Houston, Lansing, MI, and now Mountain View, CA. When not working, he enjoys playing video games (of course), reading (SciFi, History, and Astronomy/Physics), playing Frisbee, and doing 3D computer modeling. 


What makes you smile?
Learning new and interesting things. And, of course, seeing my lovely girlfriend

What is your favorite place in the world?
Glacier National Park, there's nothing quite like it. The scale of everything there really puts what nature is capable of into a new perspective

If you could meet any famous historical person, who would it be?
Carl Sagan by a long shot. His passion for science is amazing.

What's the coolest thing you've seen or done lately?
I just recently drove from Michigan to California; that was a pretty epic journey. Well, except for Nebraska ...


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


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Tami Carter
The Innovation Games® Company
Two Months Free!   
Sign up for an Innovation Games Online subscription (professional or nonprofit) and get the first two months free with the promo code YNM511. Both subscriptions include access to all the games, including Design Your Own visual collaboration game and Buy a Feature, public and private games, advanced analytics and more. This coupon is transferable. Please share it with interested parties.
Offer Expires:
June 30, 2011