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Innovation Games  in Toronto  

Michael Sahota

IGQI and Agile Coach Michael Sahota is teaching a two-day Innovation Games class in Toronto on Oct. 29-30, 2012.

The interactive class prepares participants to plan, facilitate and post-process both online and in-person games. Based on case studies and rooted in our "Learn by Doing" philosophy, attendees will gain the skills to put Innovation Games to work the moment they are back in the office.  


Date: Oct. 29-30, 2012; 8:00AM  - 5:30PM  

Location: Centre for Social Innovation, Toronto, Canada 

Cost: $876

Registration & Info   

Innovation Games Comes to Istanbul

IGQI Jonathan Clark is teaching a two-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding class in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct 18-19, 2012.


The interactive class prepares participants to plan, facilitate and post-process both online and in-person games. Based on case studies and rooted in our "Learn by Doing" philosophy, attendees will gain the skills to put Innovation Games to work the moment they are back in the office. 


Oct. 18-19, 2012

Location: Istanbul, Turkey 

Register here.

Cincinnati Innovation Summit

VP of Sales Laura Richardson is speaking on Oct. 18, 2012 at the Cincinnati Innovation Summit. Richardson's talk focuses on Driving Innovation with Serious Games. The one-day summit is presented by the local PDMA and AMA chapters and features talks focuses on creating value from Innovation.


Oct. 18, 2012

Location: Cincinnati, OH 

Register here.

PDMA Annual Conference

The PDMA is using Innovation Games to liven up its conference booth & get actionable feedback from its attendees & members during the annual Product Innovation Management Conference, held this year in Orlando, FL. 


Oct. 20-24, 2012

Location: Orlando, FL 

Register here.

Washington, DC: Innovation Games for Customer Understanding 

IGQI Jesse Fewell is teaching a two-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding class in the Washington, DC area on Nov. 19-20, 2012.


Nov. 19-20, 2012 

Location: Washington, DC

Timing: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM Eastern

Pricing: $895 early bird*; $1,195 general admission

Register here.


Oui! Oui! Innovation Games in Paris

Maarten Volders is teaching an Innovation Games for Customer Understanding course in Paris on Oct. 22-23. Hosted by Palo IT, the class covers planning, playing, facilitating and post-processing the games.  


Date: Oct. 22-23 

Location: Paris, France 

Pricing: 1,190 Euros general admission

Register here.


Innovation Games Comes to Winnipeg! 

Luke Hohmann will be teaching a one-day Innovation Games for Agile Teams class as part of the SDEC 2012 conference in Winnipeg Canada on Oct. 17, 2012.


The one-day interactive class focuses on applying Innovation Games to classic Agile Practices like Roadmapping, Backlog Prioritization, Team retrospectives and more. 


Date: 17 Oct 2012

City: Winnipeg, Canada

Venue: SDEC 2012, Victoria Inn

Cost: $495 Early Bird; $695 General Admission


Jason Tanner Brings Innovation Games to RTP

Enthiosys President and IGQI Jason Tanner is teaching a two-day Innovation Games for Customer Understanding class in Raleigh, NC on Nov. 1-2.


Date: Nov. 1-2, 2012 

City: Raleigh, NC  Venue: Rally Software, Suite 105  

Cost: $1,995   


Two Classes in Sweden

This November Innovation Games enthusiasts in Sweden have two chances to become Innovation Games Trained Facilitators. Maarten Volders is teaching a 2-day workshop as part of Øredev on Nov. 5-6 and Ulf Hannelius is teaching a 2-day class in Stockholm on Nov. 29-30.   



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 

Blue Cross Blue Shield Gets Market Insight from Games 


Leon Sarbarsky's Scrum team has been using Innovation

Leon Sabarsky
Blue Cross Blue Shield's Leon Sabarsky

Games for a while in their work on Claim Automation.The Raleigh, NC-based team at Blue

Cross Blue Shield has used Speed Boat for project retrospectives and Prune the Product Tree for backlog prioritization -- both common ways agile teams put Innovation Games to work. But recently he introduced the games to the market research team at Blue Cross Blue Shield -- with interesting results.  


How did you discover Innovation Games? 

Word of mouth. I heard about the games from colleagues and though sessions at conferences I attended. I started trying out the games at work, and eventually took the two-day class taught by [IGQI and Enthiosys President] Jason Tanner.


Can you tell me more about how you're using Innovation Games? 

I'm the manager of a Scrum team in Durham, NC. We work on claims automation, and I also serve on the Innovation Committee here at Blue Cross Blue Shield. We use Innovation Games in our Scrum practice -- Speed Boat for retrospectives and Prune the Product Tree for backlog prioritization -- but have started using them in other ways as well, such as in our market research work on our insurance products.  

How did the market research work come about?
It was Jason Tanner who first suggested we use Innovation Games for market research, instead of just internally with our Scrum team. I bought the book [Innovation Games for Understanding] and invited the market research lead to lunch. After some discussion, we decided to try it.


Click here to read more.

From the Blog

A Grab Bag of Innovation    

Luke Hohmann
Luke photo 

I like to pride myself on writing thoughtful, useful, and at times, provocative posts. But sometimes there is just so many good things happening that I'm not entirely certain where to focus my energies. So, this month I'm going to write a "grab bag" post -- a veritable cornucopia of important items to share!

Customer Advisory Board Meeting

Ever wonder if we "practice what we preach"? Yeah, we do! On Sept. 20, 2012, we invited our closest and largest customers to attend a Customer Advisory Board and Customer Funding meeting to help the company accomplish the following goals:

  • Identify and prioritize the key value propositions of our games and offerings;
  • Understand the impediments that are preventing our customers from realizing these benefits;
  • Develop some draft "sticky slogans" that can capture these benefits;
  • Explore which existing and new services are of most interest to CAB members;
  • Prioritize potential enhancements to Innovation Games® Online.

I was thrilled with the turnout: Mark Interrante (Rackspace), Jean-Francois Vanreusel (Adobe), Julia French (Avaya), Jeff Honious (Reed Elsevier), Paul Germeraad (Intellectual Assets), Steve Dodds (Every Voice Engaged), Monique Anderson (vsp), Julie Hu (vsp), Laura Merling (Alcatel-Lucent), Jon Snyder (Cisco), Tom Wesselman (Cisco), Kip Harkness (City of San Jose), Kara Jariwala (HP), Peter Green (Adobe), and Jon Kerry-Tyerman (LexisNexis). Paul Mantey (NetApp) also contributed key content to the meeting (but was unable to attend in person).

As you can guess, we played games all day (specially designed versions of 20/20 Vision, Speed Boat and Buy a Feature.)

Click here to read the entire post. 


Celebrating 10 Years  

Innovation Games Summit: Be There!


For 10 years, we've been changing the way the world does work, helping organizations large and small put their ideas to action through Innovation Games. People work better together. And the results are even better when that work is a game.

Alexander Ostewalder
Alexander Ostewalder to keynote.


Join us on January 24-25, 2013 for an exploration of how Innovation Games® are changing the world.

  1. We'll explore the diverse uses of Innovation Games and serious games.
  2. Celebrate practice and real world applications of Innovation Games.
  3. Promote skill through the launch of the Innovation Games® Certification program.
  4. Have fun, learning with like-minded people.
  5. Support the 2013 Budget Games on Jan. 26, 2013 though facilitation. (We're recruiting facilitators for the 2000+ person game event.)
  6. Celebrate 10 years of Innovation Gaming!

Keynotes, C4P & World's Biggest Budget Game
We're thrilled that Alexander Osterwalder of Business Model Canvas fame is joining the summit as a keynote speaker. Check out IGSummit.weebly.com for the Call for Papers, how to get involved, and more details on the 2013 Budget Games.

As Seen in Businessweek

Making Sense of the Games Politicians Play  


Collaborative play for problem solving has hit the mainstream!  


Businessweek recently profiled our work with the city of Serious Games for Serious Civic Engagement San José, CA, highlighting how we and the  Every Voice Engaged Foundation have been working with local governments and nonprofits to apply Innovation Games to the difficult problems many communities are facing. The inspiration for the 2011 and 2012 Budget Games for San José, CA, emerged from our work with organizations like Cisco, Qualcomm, Yahoo!, Adobe and others. Tackling complex problems in prioritization, strategy, new product development is all stock and trade for us, and many of those techniques are applicable for communities as well.  


Check out the teaser below, and read the entire article at Businessweek.com. 


Making Sense of the Games Politicians Play

Brendan Greeley


"One Saturday morning last year, about 90 leaders of neighborhood associations in San José gathered in small groups to play a game. Each person had a roll of fake money, from which he or she could pay for city services-like beat cops or libraries. Each group lacked enough money to cover the city's budget. "We intentionally, just like reality, gave them far less money to buy the things they wanted," says Kip Harkness, San José's senior project manager.

By morning's end, all the groups had agreed to run the city's fire trucks with one less fireman each to save money. City council members adopted that change in San José's actual budget last summer. At the same meetup this year, residents agreed to eliminate paid overtime for city managers, and six of 10 groups were willing to raise their sales tax by 0.25 percentage points, which the city is now considering. "I really haven't had anyone tell me this is a waste of time," says Harkness. "That's pretty incredible when you're talking about budgets."


Read the entire article at Businessweek.com

Game Spotlight 

Playing Prune the Product Tree Down Under 


Well-known games like Prune the Product Tree help people all over the world get real work done everyday, but it's still nice to hear about when people discover the games and begin exploring their potential. Here's a recent post about how an Australian Product Management group tried out the game. 

Product Anonymous Tries out PTPT
Melbourne, Australia-based Product Management group Product Anonymous organized a Prune the Product Tree meetup last month, putting the game through it's paces PTPT in Melbourne for prioritization, roadmapping, ideation, understanding product's place in it's ecosystem and more. Using Melbourne's public transit system as the sample case study, the group sketched trees for a lo-fi game board and used printed green leaves.


How did work out? They wrote,  "It's really easy to faciliate -- just grab some paper & pens ... We could have spent days working on this -- in fact, we did talk about [the topic] needing to be a forest, not just one tree!  With the time constraints we focused on:

  • modes of transport - where's the jet packs? the water taxis?
  • ticketing
  • infrastructure
  • organising a trip
And of course the tree metaphors are fun! We wondered what would you need to do to make sure your tree continues to grow?  How do you make sure it makes it to 100 years old?" 

Check out the online version of Prune the Product Tree or download our PTPT posters and play face to face.   


Cyberspace Roundup 

Product Box spans the globe, Snow Summit gets Gamified, Community Growth through Games and more!  


The best part of putting together this newsletter is seeing how Innovation Games® being put to work around the globe, in every industry imaginable. This month we have posts from  conferences and meetups in the US and Europe, real-world work reports  about Product Box and other games, and a round up of posts about how Innovation Games are being used for the civic good. Here's to changing the world with games! 

Product Box in Romania & France 

Want a fun way to understand what your customers really want from your product or service? Not afraid of the power of glue sticks, glitter glue and stickers. Just try Product Box. Here's just two posts from this month's Google Alerts highlighting how the game was used in Romania and France.


Agile Boxes

Oliver Patou, an Agile Coach with Steria in the Bordeaux

Product Box in France 
One of the Product Boxes produced by Olivier Patou's Client Workshop
region of France, recently held a Product Box workshop for his client. The workshop came out of his work with the client to create a working group exploring best practices for working internally and externally with customers. Within this framework, Patou plans on introducing a series of Innovation Games, including Speed Boat, Buy a Feature, Spider Web , and, of course, Product Box , which was the first game the group decided to try out.  


For this first workshop, they focused on how to sell Agility as a business process.  Patou gave the participants two weeks to mull over the topic, but writes that they were still a bit apprehensive the day of the workshop. Apprehension gave way to insight--and fun!--however. Check out the photos, and Patou's complete post (en Français) here.   


Gamestorming Product Boxes in Romania
Innovation Games Trained Facilitator Erick Talboom writes about the first Gamestorming retreat he organized in Rasnov, Romania--a retreat that included using Product Box to help improve the state of the Agile Community in Romania.
Product Box Romania 
Think outside the box, but look for solutions inside.

Talboom writes, "To get a common understanding of where the agileworks Romania is right now, we started off with a poster session about the current state of the community. The group was split into three teams, and each team received a poster on the wall and a table full of markers, stickers and even more fluffy stuff to use on their posters."

He continues, "We got our point A, now it was time to define our fluffy goal B. And what better way to design a fluffy goal than with fluffy stuff? That's right, we got out all our cardboard boxes, colored markers, magazines and even more fluffy stuff to create  Product Boxes for our ideal agileworks community. Using everything they could find on the table, each team started to create their version of the ideal community. And there was a lot of stuff available for them to use." Read the entire post here.

Can't get enough Product Box?
Thanks Karan Nangru for the Product Box shout out here.
Codovatian includes Product Box in this post about Agile and up-front planning.

Engagement: Innovation Games to the Rescue

With live events, attendee engagement is crucial, and the hold lecture/death by PowerPoint presentation format just doesn't cut it. We commonly work with conference and customer advisory board organizers to design and produce Innovation Games events to liven up their face-to-face events and transform attendees into active participants.  


Case in point is the Snow Summit. We've worked with Snow Summit 2012 SIMA, the Snow and Ice Management Association, twice to incorporate Innovation Games into their annual meeting. In 2011, we designed an event to help the association develop and prioritize projects that will allow them to grow and scale their organization and their offerings for the future. The games included My Worst Nightmare, Prune the Product Tree and Speed Boat.   


In 2012, the games were incorporated with a panel of consumers that included facility directors, account managers and VP of Operations for businesses such as Walgreens, OfficeMax and ARAMARK.  


Summit sponsor Ventrac writes, in a blog post about the event, "The panel of consumers engaged with snow contractors in a series of exercises [Innovation Games] designed to share their needs when it comes to what they expect from each other. The exercises allowed both the consumer and the contractor to interact in a way that is not normally done in every day business. The distinct approach of Innovation Games allowed each side to discover market problems and opportunities in the industry while finding ways to work better together in the future."   


Read more about the 2011 Snow Summit here, and 2012 here.  


Short Takes 

More Innovation Games-related news: 

  •  Jorge Zavala's new book Think Like Silicon Valley is out and includes his take on using Innovation Games and Eric Ries Lean Start Up method to bring Silicon Valley success to other regions.  
  • Trained Facilitator Michael Tarnowski brought Innovation Games to meetup in Germany.
  • Innovation Games for requirements gathering continue to affect Sharepoint governance.   
  • The Businessweek article on Budget Games continues to get press in civic engagement/legislative press.  

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
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