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In This Issue
Save 20% on Training
IGO + VersionOne
From the Blog
Budget Games 2012
Game Spotlight
Cyberspace Roundup
Meet the Team
Quick Links
Play a Game!
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Save 20% on Innovation Games Training  

IG Book
Register and save an additional 20% our first class of the new year! Join IGQI Deb Colden for a two-day Innovation Games class in Mountain View, CA on January 19-20. The class will teach you how to plan, play & post-process online and in-person Innovation Games, in addition to covering facilitation skills.  


Jan. 19-20, 2012

Mountain View, CA 

Register here

Cost: $956*  


(Your Next Move Discount) 

Play "Health as a Team Sport"

Join Mei Lin Fung for a one-hour online game on Friday, January 13, 2012. Mei Lin will be facilitating a game designed by the Military Health Service to promote and improve Health and Heath outcomes through collaboration and team work. The game, designed for the Innovation Games Online Platform will be featured in a panel moderated by Mei Lin at SXSW Interactive on March 13, 2012.  


Sign up to play 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.   

Innovation Games at SXSW Interactive 2012

Going to SXSW? Head on over to one of two sessions about Innovation Games that made the cut for SXSW Interactive.  


On Sunday, March 11, 2012, Luke Hohmann will present "Fixing Broke(n) Governments through Serious Games" which discusses how a specially-designed version of Buy a Feature, Budget Games, are being used by local governments to collaborate with constituents for budgeting.    


On Tuesday, March 13, Mei Lin Fung, Michael Dinneen and Ahmed Calvo's panel, Health as a Team Sport, will cover how the Military Health System used Innovation Games Online to promote Health and improved Health Outcomes through collaboration and teamwork.


The final schedule for SXSW 2012  will be announced in January.  

Scandinavian Developers Conference 2012

Luke Hohmann, founder and CEO of the The Innovation Games Company will be speaking on Innovation Games and Product Roadmapping at SDC2012 in Göteborg, Sweden on April 15 and 16. The 2-day conference is one of the leading developer events in Scandinavia. For complete details and registration, click here.

Innovation Games Training in Stockholm

Join Luke Hohmann for a 2-day Innovation Games for Customer
 Understanding course
on April 18-19 in Stockholm, Sweden. Hosted by Crisp.se, one of the leading agile training and consulting organizations in Scandinavia, this in-depth and interactive course includes instruction on all phases of both online and in-person games. 


April 18-19, 2012  

Stockholm, Sweden 

Cost: 14,000 SEK Early Bird  

More information & Registration here.




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


IG at Work

IGO + VersionOne: Solving the Hard Problem of Agile Planning  


While there's no question that agile methods have solved much of the quality and process issues that plagued development teams in the past, agile isn't a silver bullet. There are still hard problems to be solved and one of the largest is prioritization. It's not enough to know what features your customers want; you need to know which features are essential and which ones can be tabled until the next phase. However, many of the methods for prioritization -- even after the advent of Agile -- leave much to be desired. Backlog prioritization by spreadsheet, anyone?


We think there's a better way. In fact,we know there is. It's called Buy a Feature Online, and now VersionOne customers can take advantage of it through the integration of Innovation Games® Online, our online platform, and VersionOne.


VersionOne Select user stories to be imported to Buy a Feature
Select user stories to export into IGO, Play Buy a Feature and Import your prioritized user stories back into VersionOne.

How does it work?

VersionOne users select user stories and export them into our online virtual market game Buy a Feature Online. They then play Buy a Feature with customers or internal stakeholders to prioritize these stories. When finished, the system automatically imports the results back into VersionOne. The solution provides for all of the advantage of real-time, interactive, collaborative games-without the added cost or complexity of bringing participants physically together.


Why does it work?

People often fall into the trap of thinking that their customers and stakeholders have clearly defined product/service priorities. Some do, but a lot don't. When presented with a set of options, many will simply say I want them all and put the responsibility for ordering the requests squarely back on your shoulders.  


Our virtual market game Buy a Feature Online takes advantage of the psychology of game play to engage your customers and stakeholders as group to prioritize their desires, no matter where in the world they are. The players are assigned limited funds--not enough to buy each and every feature they want and must negotiate with each other to purchase the features they truly want. Innovation Games Online tracks each bid, chat, negotiation and purchase, giving you true understanding of not only what your customers desire, but the order of their preference.


For more details on how Buy a Feature Online and VersionOne work together click here.  

From the Blog

The Entrepreneur's Dilemma:   

Perseverance or Pivot?    

Luke Hohmann
Luke photo 

The startup community loves to latch onto buzzwords and phrases, to the point where they become apparent badges of honor when you can somehow claim that you're using them. Arguably the hottest of these buzzwords is "pivot", which typically means making a significant change to your business model of product offering based on customer or market feedback. The counter-argument is perseverance, or maintaining your current course. Choosing between the two is arguably the hardest choice that entrepreneurs need to make.


While I can't deny that pivots make sense, I'm definitely concerned about the blithe discussion of pivots (for example, as in this article from this article from Forbes which promotes pivoting as the key to startup success). As I reflect on 2011, I'll describe some of the changes we've made, and you can judge for yourself to what degree we're staying course, pivoting, or if the distinction even matters. I'm most proud that despite whatever changes we've made, we've stayed true to our vision of creating breakthrough products and services through collaborative play.


What's a Pivot? Common Sense by Another Name 

Borrowing from a lot of very smart people (Eric Reis, Steve Blank, Stealthmode,  Tristan Komer and Rob Go), I started this blog post by defining a pivot as "a significant change to your business model of product offering based on customer or market feedback."


More plainly, a pivot is a lot of common sense. If what you're doing is not moving you towards a repeatable and sustainable business offering, you're going to have to have to change something. And since most entrepreneurs have a bit of a stubborn streak (which we like to affectionately call "vision"), it is really challenging to know when to stay the course and when to change direction. The blogs cited above cite some great examples of when, and when not, to pivot.


Click here to

Serious Games for Civic Engagement
Calling All Professional Facilitators!

On January 29, 2011, we made history when more than 100

community leaders and citizens from San José, CA, played a specially designed version of
Buy a Feature
Innovation Games Trained Facilitators
The Facilitation Team for the 2011 San José, CA Budget Games
to provide the Mayor's Office with actionable feedback on the upcoming city budget. The specially designed Budget Games used game mechanics and collaborative play to discourage partisan rhetoric and reveal real consensus. Based on the event's success, we are producing a second, much-expanded event for the City of San José, CA, on Saturday, January 21, 2012, followed by a series of online-only Community Growth Games in March 2012.

We Need Your Help

By adding online games, the scope and size of the event is substantially larger, enabling many more San José residents to actively participate. Because of this, we will need 30 to 40 facilitators and observers for both the online and in-person events on January 21, 2012 and March 2012.  


If you'd like to join the facilitation team for the pro-bono event, please complete this form. If you want to know more about the event or other ways to get involved, contact us at info@innovationgames.com


Game Spotlight

Buy a Feature: Santa to Strategic Planning 


Of the 13 Innovation Games, Buy a Feature is one of the most popular--and with good reason. The psychology of game play (limited resources, negotiation) make prioritization, well, fun--as well as more effective and accurate. Read on to see how Buy a Feature helps agile team better serve their customers, has enabled strategic planning for 2012 and helped some children make the tough call on what toys make it onto Santa's list.

La liste du Père Noël de mes enfants

Emmanuel Etasse, a Product Owner who works for ut7 in

Buy a Feature for Santa List 
Playing Buy a Feature to prioritize Santa's list.

Grenoble, France, recently blogged about how he used Buy a Feature with his children to help them figure out what they wanted most for Christmas. Etasse writes, "Today, the Product Owner is at home and asked his children what they most wanted for Christmas." Etasse's children, like most, had a difficult time deciding on just what they wanted, their lists were limitless. So Buy a Feature (and a good lesson on the realities of life) to the rescue.  


Etasse notes that the his two older boys exhibited similar behavior to what he seen when real customers had played the game in a business setting. They often play together, so they pooled their resources to get more of what they both wanted. Will the Etasse children be happy at Christmas? We'll have to wait to find out, but there's little doubt that Santa is pleased their lists aren't infinitely long.  Click here to read the complete post.   


Buy a Feature at Rackspace    

Rackspace San Antonio class
Rackspace teams at Innovation Games training in San Antonio, TX.


"I went into the [Innovation Games] class with high expectations associated with the word Innovation," writes Rackspace's Grant Hebron, "and low expectations that a class was going to teach me games that I could play with my customers. The class exceeded my expectation." The class, Grant refers to is our recent Innovation Games training for Rackspace in San Antonio, TX. While the two-day class covered more than just Buy a Feature (a lot more!) it was obviously Buy a Feature that made the most immediate impression.   


Grant continues, "As a Product Manager in Rackspace's Cloud Integration group, we build software that accelerates the development of our Cloud Products. So our customers are internal development groups. As you might imagine our internal development groups compete with each other on some level. To that end, internal prioritization is one of our challenges."


"Right off the bat, I am going to plan a Buy a Feature session for all three of my products. I am excited about what I am going to learn and equally excited about what my customers are going to learn about what each other want."   


We can't wait to find out how it goes. (Click here to read the entire post.) 


Buy a Feature for Strategic Planning 

Aquinum, an association of technology professionals in theAquataine, France

Aquitaine region of France, used Buy a Feature at a recent meeting to set the Association's goals for 2012. They had collectively produced a list of possible projects at a previous meeting and priced each project for the game using "Quinums", a currency they had created just for the game.


The projects to bid on included such items as "Press Relations" (53,333 Quinums), Digital Event Calendar (89,600 Quinums) and Happy Camps (101,333 Quinums). In just 45 minutes, Aquinum had its list of priorities for 2012--and had fun. "Une excellente façon pour les participants de découvrir un mode d'animation efficace utilisant un Serious Game."     

Click here to read more. 

Cyberspace Roundup
eBooks, Instant Play, 3D Speed Boats & more...

It's been a busy month in for Innovation Games, from new Instant Play games, to eBooks, and classes and game play from Paris to Sao Paulo.

Debut of Circles of Influence  
We've just added Deb Colden's Circles of Influence game toCircles of Influence our Instant Play Library. This Instant Play game is a great way to organize your connections and support networks and figure out who can actually help you achieve your goals

How to play: In the "Circle of the Task," place people who can help you accomplish your goal. In the "Board of Directors" place people who will help you no matter what, and on whom 
you can rely on to provide encouragement and advice.


Measuring the Intangible -- SharePoint Social ROI

IGQI and 21apps Chief Strategy Officer Ant Clay just released an ebook based on his presentation at SharePoint Saturday UK 2011, and it's worth a look for anyone involved or considering Sharepoint implementation--or anyone considering the implications of social business software. (And we're thrilled that Innovation Games are included as a tool to help measure the "intangible".) To get your copy of the ebook, click here.    

Como vai, Brasil? 

Dov Bigio, a product manager in Sao Paulo, Brazil, blogged about attending our first Innovation Games class in Brazil. The two-day intensive class was taught by IGQI Michael Gaines

The Adaptworks class discussing the results of their Speed Boat Game.
and arranged through


Dov writes, "The technique of the games allow people from different hierarchical levels, with different roles in the company or the product development team or project, to feel free to express their views." He continues, "In the training we played some of the games, which helped us apply the techniques to work. For example, using the games to prioritize a product or project backlog, to better understand what aspects stimulate or retard the development cycle, and to use existing resources in order to come up with new ideas."


The 11 new Innovation Games Trained Facilitators played Speed Boat, Start Your Day, Buy a Feature, Prune the Product Tree, Remember the Future, Product Box and Spider Web. To read the Google translation of the Portuguese post, click here


Meet the Team
Laura Richardson, VP of Sales

Laura Richardson, our VP of Sales, joined the team in June,Laura Richardson and I finally convinced her to be this month's meet the team interview. She comes to TIGC with  20 years of sales and management experience, including seven years at Uptime Resources where she ran the IT professional services division. Prior to Uptime Resources, Laura was the business development director at E-Color. She lives in the East Bay with her husband and two children and challenges herself a few times a year by participating in a ToughMudder Adventure Race. 


What makes you smile?  

My family is always good for a laugh!  My youngest, Ellie, can be ridiculously funny.  


What has been your proudest moment?  

Finishing the S. Cal 2011 Tough Mudder race on the Sunday-- that was the hardest race I have ever participated in.  The temperature never really got above freezing and the first obstacle involved lots of water -- running 10 miles up ski runs, soaking wet, in windy freezing conditions was a pretty major personal accomplishment! 

What is your favorite place on earth?  

I love to travel, so it's hard to say ... but if I had to leave tomorrow, I would pack my bags for Kauai. I love everything about this island. It is lush, beautiful and less busy than the other islands.  I would love to run the Kuilau trail: I heard it's a great run.  


What did you have for breakfast?  

Steel Cut Oatmeal.  My husband once worked with a guy who said that he puts his cup of steel cut oats in 3 cups of water and brings it to a boil BEFORE he goes to bed at night.  As soon as it boils, he turns it off and then when he gets up, its the perfect consistency -- he just warms it up again.  My first reaction was that this seemed weird and prone to food poisoning, but its been a whole year now and nothing bad has happened!  It's just great to wake up to a healthy quick breakfast. 


What is your favorite piece of clothing?  

My running shoes and and my fleece. I wear both while running on foggy mornings in the hills where I live.


What is the coolest thing you've done or heard lately? 

I recently heard about The Awesome Foundation and am motivated to pull together 9 Oaklanders who are also keen to get involved in the really innovative stuff going on in my city. Basically, each person in the group commits $100 a month and collectively and by consensus, the group funds a selected project -- making interesting things happen $1000 at a time. Chapters are springing up in cities like DC, San Francisco and I really think Oakland needs a group too! This is my 2012 project.  


Who do you want to play Knowsy with? 

Anthony Bourdin, Jon Stewart, Steve Martin, Tina Fey and my sister, Kristen.


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 YNM1211. The 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 and is good for upgrades. Please share it with interested parties.
Offer Expires:
Jan. 31, 2012