IG Logo
In This Issue
Amsterdam Class
From the Blog
IGO Improvements
Game Spotlight
Cyberspace Roundup
Meet the Team
Quick Links
Play a Game!
Join Our Mailing List

Innovation Games in Amsterdam   

IG Book
Join Jonathan Clark for a two-day Innovation Games class in Amsterdam Netherlands. The class will teach your how to plan, play & post-process the games, in addition to covering facilitation skills.  


Dec. 6-7, 2011

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Register here

Cost: €895.00  

Innovation Games + Gamestorming: Belgium

Join IGQI Maarten Volders on Dec. 2-3, for a 2-day Innovation Games + Gamestorming Course in Belgium

The class includes instruction on all phases of the games and equips you to put them to work as soon as you're back in the office.


Date: December 2-3, 2011 

Location: Mechelen, Belgium 

More information & Registration here.


Scrum Night Paris

Innovation Games Trained Facilitators Fabrice Aimetti and Philippe Launay will facilitate Sky Castle Game at Scrum Night Paris on Dec. 7, 2011. Aimetti and Launay created the Sky Castle Game together; check out this Youtube video to see the game in action at  Agile Tour Bordeaux 2011. 


Date: December 7, 2011 at 6 PM 

Location: Valtech, Paris, France 

More information & Registration here.


Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Meetup features #innovgames

We're thrilled that the newly formed Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Network chapter is putting Innovation Games to work to help establish the chapter's operating values, principles, players, processes, and immediate goals. Organized by Dennis Britton and Monica Yapp (longtime agile practitioners and leaders in the community and IGTFs), the second meeting is open to all agile practitioners or those interested in learning about agile.  


Date: December 6, 2011 at 7 PM 

Location: San Jose, CA 

More information & Registration here.


Innovation Games Comes to Brazil

Adaptworks and The Innovation Games Company have partnered to bring our first Innovation Games for Customer Understanding Course to Brazil. Taught by Michael Gaines, the 2-day course will include instruction on all phases of both online and in-person games. 


Date: Dec. 9-10

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

More information & Registration here.


Innovation Games Practitioner Class

Join Deb Colden for a 2-day Innovation Games for Customer
 Understanding course
on January 19-20, 2012 in Mountain View, CA. This in-depth and interactive course includes instruction on all phases of both online and in-person games. 


January 19-20  

Mountain View 

Cost: $895 Early Bird  

More information & Registration here.


Innovation Games for Consultants

Join Luke Hohmann for a 2-day Innovation Games for Consultants course on February 16-17, 2012 in Mountain View, CA. This in-depth and interactive course is designed especially for consultants and includes a module on structuring engagements and marketing and selling the games, in addition to instruction on all phases of both online and in-person games. 


Feb. 16-17, 2012    

Mountain View 

Cost: $500*

More information & Registration here.


*This is not a public course; attendance is limited to professional consultants.   



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


From the Blog

The ROI of Innovation Games  

Luke Hohmann
Luke photo 

We're often asked about the "ROI" of Innovation Games®, as in "What kind of ROI should I expect from playing games?" At times the question seems absurd, for reasons that I'll explain later. Most of time, though, we're quite sympathetic to those asking the question. Most of us see too many new products fail, experience painfully ineffective meetings, watch our companies waste precious resources on projects that are just plain bad ideas, and use bloated products with unnecessary features. People who have had these experiences seek assurance that investing in Innovation Games to create better products, improve meetings, eliminate unnecessary projects and prioritize feature backlogs (and project portfolios) will produce an appropriate return.


In this post, I will start a conversation on how you can develop an ROI model suitable for your use of the games. Over the next few months, we'll supplement this post with additional tools that you can use to calculate the value of the games. Be forewarned, though, that I will challenging simplistic notions of ROI, and when and why you think you need to calculate it.


ROI Factors  

On paper, ROI could not be simpler. To calculate it, you simply take the gain of an investment, subtract the cost of the investment, and divide the total by the cost of the investment.     


Mathematically, it is:  ROI = (Gain - Cost) / Cost.  


In practice, ROI is hard to calculate because it is based on what you consider the gains and costs used in the calculation. Let's call these ROI Factors.   

Click here to

IGO Updates

Game Invites Get a Makeover! 


At Innovation Games we take your feedback seriously -- and one of the consistent requests we've received is to make bulk invitations possible. Typing in all those email addresses one by one was tedious, but no more. With Innovation Games Online 2.7.0, we're adding the capability to send invites to a bulk email list in addition to a list of name/email pairs.  


But wait, there's more!  (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Our crackerjack development team has also added the TinyMCE plug-in, so that you TinyMCE Editor for IGOcan create more visually appealing game invitation emails. The WISIWIG editor lets you add images, change font styles and sizes and make other visual changes with ease.


Both improvements should be live by Dec. 5.  


Have more suggestions for how we can improve Innovation Games Online? Let us know at info@innovationgames.com


We're In!
Innovation Games locked and loaded for SXSW

It's fair to say that SXSW Interactive is one of the most highly regarded technology and design conferences in the world. And we're thrilled that not one, but two sessions on Innovation Games made the cut -- especially since there were 3,200 session proposals submitted to SXSW's panel picker. Our SXSW sessions are:

  1. Fixing Broke(n) Governments Through Serious Games, a solo talk by CEO & Founder Luke Hohmann
  2. Health as a Team Sport, a panel moderated by IGTF Mei Lin Fung, with Michael Dinneen, Ahmed Calvo and Col. Brian Masterson as speakers

"Fixing Broke(n) Governments through Serious Games" profiles our work with the City of San Jose, CA, to design and produce the first-ever Budget Games. Luke will be discussing how and why serious games are better solution to participatory budgeting than simple polling, focus groups and other current methods. Participants will also learn how to bring Budget Games to their communities.


The "Health as a Team Sport" panel details how the Military Health Service used Innovation Games Online to identify ways in which Health and Health outcomes can be dramatically improved, including a discussion of the games designed, this issues they were to solve, results so far and future plans. Panel participants will be Ahmed Calvo from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Michael Dinneen from the U.S. Dept of Defense and Col. Brian Masterson, the Command Surgeon, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB. (Read our interview about the project with panel moderator Mei Lin Fung here.)


The scheduling of sessions at SXSW is still underway, and won't be final until January, but you can find a list of sessions by campus here and a timeline of major SXSW Interactive events here.  

Game Spotlight

Career Hack: Facilitating Remember the Future


Sara Gallagher, a project manager from Tulsa, OK, recently featured Remember the Future in her post on GearsandShifts.com about how to get the most out of a Brainstorming meeting.

Most of the time, what you think your product should do is an extrapolation of what it has done in the past. Your pet grooming service should be faster or trendier. Your fast-food restaurant should deliver orders more accurately. The car you're designing should be safer or faster. When we brainstorm about product improvement, it's easy to resort to trivial fixes and incremental improvements. After all, continuous performance improvement is the lifeblood of operations and crucial to remaining competitive in a constantly evolving industry.Brain Activity: Envisioning the Future


On the other hand, when we use the word "brainstorm," we're seeking a different kind of improvement all together. How many times have you heard a beleaguered brainstorming facilitator urge attendees to "think outside the box?" The goal of a brainstorming meeting is to invite breakthrough change-the kind of change that only happens when you're willing to rethink the fundamentals of your business.  


Unfortunately, breakthrough change rarely occurs using the brainstorming techniques we're familiar with. Sitting around a whiteboard with an operations team scratching down ideas to build a better mouse trap isn't thinking outside the box-it only succeeds in making the box a little bigger.

Cyberspace Roundup
Innovation Games: Around the World in 30 Days edition

It's been a busy month in for Innovation Games, from Speed Boat Stateside, to Product Box in Russia, France and the UK, to Innovation Games and visual meetings and improving idea creation. Read on and learn how people around the world are putting Innovation Games to work.

Speed Boat for Better Understanding 
As Mike Colbert, a lecturer at the University of Iowa, puts it, "It isn't easy to find a perfect way to identify what your customers don't like about your product or service." Colbert, we're delighted to report, advocates Speed Boat as a quick and easy solution, writing that the "Speed Boat [game] can tell you what's wrong in a system in a very short period of time." He details how to play both online and in-person Speed Boat games, while discussing the effectiveness of serious games and agile development. To read the complete post, click here here.

Product Box Around the World    
Dimitry Laier, CPD at Professionali.RU, writes in his blog about a recent Innovation Games engagement with Sberbank, or Savings Bank. The event was organized by Professionali.RU, a professional social network in Russia and Sberbank to generate ideas to make the Savings Bank the best in the world. The participants were Sberbank staff and winners of a contest held on Professionali.RU to find the banks Best Community members. You can read the translation of La
ier's post here or check out the photos of the final Product Boxes here. Innovation Games at Sberbank in Russia

United Kingdom

21apps continues to spread the good word about Innovation Games in the United Kingdom, most recently at SharePoint Saturday UK. Andrew & Ant's Innovation Games Workshop was packed, and you can see all the great product boxes created by the attendees on the 21apps YouTube Channel. As 21apps asserts, technology won't help you meet your organizations goals alone. You need tools like Innovation Games to get you there.



Aubrey Conseil writes about the recent popularity of Agile games in France on his blog Scrum, Aubrey Conseil Product BoxesAgilite ... et Rock 'n Roll, mentioning Innovation Games Trained Facilitator Alexandre Boutin's recent one day Innovation Games seminar as just one example of the phenomena. He includes a photo of some of the Product Boxes produced and a summary of feedback, including this gem: "plus de place pour les jeux dans l'entreprise!" or en Anglais, "There's more room for games in business!" Check out the complete post (and my translation skills) here.      

The author of the Cascrum.com blog (It's Scrum! En Francais) also attended Alexandre Boutin's workshop at Agile Toulouse, relating how games put one in a state of relaxation, sharing, listening and solidarity  


Innovation Needs Waste 

Innovation Games get a shout out as a method for generating creative ideas in Paul Herwath's post about a session, "Innovation Needs Waste," by Dirk Lässig and Pierluigi Pugliese at XPDays 2011. Herwath writes, that while many lean or agile methods have the elimination of wasted effort at their core, if the goal is to develop an innovative solution or an innovative product, the focus in the first step cannot be avoidance of waste. To read more, click here.



Innovation Games and Visual Meetings 

We've long been a fan of the work done by David Sibbet and The Grove. (The Instant Play Game Cover Story is a game originated by The Grove Consultants.) So, it was a real treat to stumble across this review of David's book Visual Meetings by a Thoughtworks business analyst named KK that mentions Innovation Games as a complementary tool.  "Display making, mapping, diagramming & graphic recording all shift what we can see and can't see in different ways," writes Sibbet in Visual Meetings. KK adds that Innovation Games are great examples of how the visual helps make these connections. "Product Box, Prune the Future (a.k.a. Prune the Product Tree), Empathy Map -- almost every time we're surprised by the new discoveries [made] through such exercises no matter how confident we were before them [of the outcome]. Click here to read more.    


Short Takes

Meet the Team
Michael Gaines

Innovation Games Qualified Instructor Michael Gaines is busy getting ready for our first Innovation Games for Customer Understanding course in Sao Paulo, Brazil  (Hurray!), but took some time out of his busy schedule for a "Meet the Team" interview.  


Through facilitation, coaching and training, Michael works with his clients to address needs around innovation, strategy, change management, leadership and team development. He began his career as an Instructor and Business Development Manager for Outward Bound, and has worked as a partner with St. Charles Consulting Group, VP at Right Management Consulting and principal at Pacific Performance Alliance. He is also past president of the Northern California Chapter of the Association for Strategic Planning.


What is your favorite Innovation Game and why?  

Remember the Future, for certain -- having people imagine what is possible and filling in what it takes to get there is powerful, although Spider Web and Speed Boat are a close second and third.  


What makes you smile?  

Brazilian hospitality and a lot of others things about Brazil.  


What has been your proudest moment?  

Being ironic, wait that's ironic.

What is your favorite place on earth?  

Trancoso, in the state of Bahia, Brazil.  


If you could meet any famous/historical person, who would it be?  

Vaclav Havel, the three-time Czech Republic President. He was a playwright who leveraged his skills of storytelling to truly transform a country.  


What is your favorite piece of clothing?  

My torn and stained swiss army polo shirt - great for travel, not great for fashion points.


What is the coolest thing you've done or heard lately? Done: Travel, travel and more travel. Eastern Europe, Greece, Brazil, Kyoto, Japan and that is just this year!  


What I heard lately: From the French writer Montaigne, "I want death to find me planting my cabbages, but careless of death, and still more of my unfinished garden." In other words, I want to do this work until I die.  


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 and our blog.    



Tami's signature

Tami Carter
VP, Marketing
The Innovation Games® Company
Two Months Free!   
Sign up for any Innovation Games Online subscription  and get the first two months free with the promo code YNM1111. 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:
Jan. 1, 2012