Why Yahoo! Is Playing Games Instead of Working From Home

Hi everyone! This blog post has been temporarily unpublished while I work with the Yahoo! team on making sure all aspects of this great story are properly shared. Thanks for coming – and come back soon!

Luke


Fun with Focus Groups

From Breaking Barriers to Better Focus Groups 

One of best parts of putting this newsletter together each month is unearthing how Innovation Games are changing how people do work, all over the world. This month we have an interview with Luke Hohmann in Sandhill.com, Product Boxes and Meetups in Chicago, and comments on improving focus groups and more …

Collaboration, Innovation & Decision-Making 

Kathleen Goolsby, managing editor of sandhill.com, interviewed CEO & Founder Luke Hohmann recently, covering how the games are applied in market research, collaboration, civic engagement and more. You can read the entire interview here, but first, some highlights.

Games Eliminate Barriers:  Hohmann revealed how online games helped HP involve more than 600 people from around the world and they each had equal voice:  “In the game,” a participant revealed, “I was playing with three people from China, two people from India and three from places scattered around the U.S. It was the first time that we came together in real time, without a phone call,” [which puts people who are not native English-language speakers at a disadvantage]. “And the game structure gave me equal power with the other players.”

Decisions Around Innovation:  “Yahoo! tapped into the games approach for a market research initiative seeking to understand the best way to ensure its Yahoo! Finance home page redesign addressed worldwide users’ needs and wants. We assembled a global team of game facilitators who speak the languages native to each location Yahoo! wanted to research.”

 

Fun with Focus Groups

Check out Nancy Frishberg’s two-part series on the
Designing Interactions for Fun
Designing Interactions for Fun
importance of Focus Groups and how integrating Innovation Games and other techniques into them can make them even more useful. Using the recent Budget Games for San Jose as an example, Nancy writes, ” The same general techniques can be used to help make decisions about new product features in a corporate setting, and equally well for other decisions where there are too many choices, not all of which require the same amount of resources or effort.

 

Product Boxes & Landing Pages

Folks in the Chicago-area won’t want to miss this April 1 Meetup on Product Boxes & Landing Pages. (And no this isn’t an April Fools Joke). Hosted by Sue Kim and 8th Light, the meetup features two experiments: Product Box for an early stage startup, and a Landing Page test. Details are here. (And if you go, let us know how the Product Boxes turn out!)

Certified Scrum Master with Innovation Games®

Certified Scrum Master with Innovation Games®

All CSM courses are taught by Certified Scrum Trainers. Taking a CSM course, passing the CSM test, and accepting the license agreement designates you as a Certified ScrumMaster, which indicates that you have been introduced to and understand the basic concepts you need to perform as a ScrumMaster or team member on a scrum team.  This course also satisfies two elements of the CSD track: Scrum Introduction and Elective.

Looking for a straight-forward explanation of Scrum and how to use it effectively?  Searching for ways to tailor your current processes to effectively support Scrum? During this two-day dynamic, interactive Certified ScrumMaster class, renowned consultants Carlton Nettleton and Jason Tanner will share their proven, real-world experiences and techniques implementing Scrum and show you how you can be successful with Scrum.

Through short, focused lectures that simplify each piece of the Scrum framework, the class will include lots of peer-to-peer discussions and small group activities, which reinforce each topic and will help you maximize your understanding and retention of Scrum.  You will learn from Carlton and Jason’s experiences, and the experiences of the other attendees, what works and what does not work with Scrum.  Most importantly, you will have a blast learning as there is absolutely NO PowerPoint in this class.

Location: Rally Software, Halifax St. & Cedar St. Door C, Suite 105 Raleigh, NC 27604

Date: Thursday, March 28 – Friday, March 29, 2013

Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Register: Here

The learning objectives for this course are:

  • List the five values of Scrum and the eight essential Scrum principles.
  • Discuss each piece of the Scrum framework, its’ purpose and interaction with the other pieces of the framework.
  • Describe the rights, responsibilities and interactions of each role in Scrum-Team Member, Product Owner, ScrumMaster and Stakeholder.
  • Discuss with the other participants what Scrum means to you and what it will mean to be a ScrumMaster in your organization.
  • Identify the main obstacles to using Scrum and the challenges for sustaining Scrum in your organization.
  • Evaluate if Scrum is the right process for you, your team, your project and/or your organization.
  • Practice applying ScrumMaster skills and thinking to solve day-to-day issues and challenges.
  • Watch Scrum in action as the framework of Scrum will be used to deliver the course material.
  • Draw a diagram describing the Scrum framework, highlighting all meetings, roles and artifacts.
  • Explain how Innovation Games® can help your team and business achieve better results with Scrum.
What you will receive from this course:
  • A vivid, 55 page student workbook full of custom exercises, activities and course summaries that capture the essential points you need to learn and comprehend to pass the Certified ScrumMaster assessment.
  • A signed copy of Carlton’s book, Fourteen Observations of Good Scrum Practice, to use as a study guide to prepare for the assessment.
  • Documented Scrum case studies explaining how Scrum was used to create successful outcomes and improved teams.
  • A reading list of great books to jump start your continuing education on topics such as how to do Scrum better, scaling Scrum, distributed Scrum, estimating and planning, Lean Thinking, facilitation, collaboration, communication and other essential topics.
  • Thought-provoking articles relating to the role of ScrumMaster, the challenges associated with doing Scrum, identifying waste in your business, the Agile Manifesto, how Scrum was used to rescue a troubled project and facilitating change.
  • A forty-five minute, personalized question and answer session with a Scrum expert at the conclusion of the first day to answer your specific questions about Scrum and how to get started in your company.
  • Two-year membership with the Scrum Alliance providing access to additional articles, case studies and templates authored by other Scrum practioners like yourself along with discounts to Scrum events and conferences.
  • One year standard subscription to Innovation Games® online – a $495 value.
Who should attend:

Any person who is interested in learning more about Scrum or wants to make Scrum work better for their Team or organization, is encouraged to attend.  While the focus of the class is for people who want to learn how to leverage the Scrum framework to bring about change, any member of the Team or the organization who is interested in how to use Scrum would find this class useful.  Typical attendees in the past have been functional managers, Team leads, analysts, architects, engineers, software developers, directors, testers and other roles that support product development.
This is what you will learn from the other participants in the course:

“Learn how they implemented Scrum, roadblocks they faced and how to overcome those”

“Knowledge to decide whether Scrum is for me or not and when to implement it”

“That others are facing similar issues in adopting and adapting to Scrum”

“I learned a lot from people with different roles in their organization”

“Mechanics are not the emphasis for success in this methodology”

“The issues I face in my work is common among my classmates”

“Surprised that Scrum is not as structured as PMI”

Instructors

Carlton Nettleton
My name is Carlton Nettleton and I am the President of  Look Forward Consulting.  My passion is to share my excitement, enthusiasm and encouragement with teams and organizations as they reach for higher levels of performance and engagement. My business is to help your business grow and flourish.
When we work together, I will be sharing tools, techniques, practices and insights I have gained in the last 10 years while working with Agile teams as both a contributor (I used to write code a long time ago), leader and a consultant.  My goal is nothing less than to develop high-performing teams through a combination of visibility, accountability and real ownership of the work and authentic personal relationships.  When these factors come together in your organization, teams will deliver not just the same mediocre results faster, but astonishing results.  The types of outcomes and innovation that will stun your leadership, customers and competitors.
Today, my main focus is to lend my experience and deep knowledge of Scrum to organizations that are looking for something more out of their business and teams. Together we will apply Scrum and Lean Thinking to your projects so you can develop products that satisfy your customer’s needs better than your competitors.
Jason Tanner
Jason coaches, teaches and mentors product managers and teams to achieve their goals through Agile principles and practices.  He currently focuses on large enterprise transformation.  Jason brings his professional experience with software companies, a telecom carrier and the Marine Corps to engagements.  Jason has been an Agilist for 6 years.  His expertise spans Agile product management, product marketing, business planning, partner relationships, project management and leadership.  Jason attends and speaks regularly at local events – wherever he works – national and international events including Scrum Gatherings and Agile Alliance conferences.  He holds an engineering degree from Cornell and an MBA from Duke and is a CSM and a CSP.

Certified Innovation Games® Course for Customer Understanding

Certified Innovation Games Course for Customer Understanding

 Join us on March 19-20 for our Innovation Games Certification Course, “Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding,” in Southlake, TX. Completion of the course designates you as a Certified Collaboration Architect.

Price: $795 (Special pricing brought to you by Sabre! $500 off regular course price!

Date: March 19-20, 2013

Timing: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Location: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, TX

Venue: Sabre Headquarters

Registration:  http://sabre-website.eventbrite.com

Course Description

Long before gamificationgamestorming and serious games became the latest buzz words, Luke Hohmann and his team were using a variety of serious games, Innovation Games®, to help companies like SAP, Qualcomm, Cisco, Reed Elsevier and Yahoo! build breakthrough products & services. These games (originally outlined in Luke’s groundbreaking book, Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products through Collaborative Play) enable you to work directly with your customers, eliciting unique insight into what they truly want from your product or service.

This two-day certification course will teach you how to use a variety of games with your customers to:

  • Uncover unspoken needs & breakthrough opportunities
  • Understand where your offerings fit into your customers’ operations
  • Clarify exactly how & when customers will use your product or service
  • Deliver the right new features & make better strategy decisions
  • Increase empathy for the customers’ experience within your organization
  • Improve the effectiveness of the sales & service organizations
  • Identify your most effective marketing messages and sellable features
  • Discover what customers don’t like about your offerings

The course covers both in-person and online games, including our online sales enablement game Knowsy, and includes sections on facilitation and presentation skills.

Content Outline

  • Discussion of Innovation Games® and market research
  • High-level planning, playing and post-processing of Innovation Games
  • Detailed planning, playing and post-processing the results of several case studies that enable participants to experience all phases of Innovation Games
  • Review and shared discussion; helping participants plan their adoption of these techniques
  • Facilitation and presentation skills

Who Should Attend

  • Product Managers/Directors
  • Portfolio/Product Management Professionals
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Market Research Professionals
  • Software Engineers/Developers/Architects
  • Executive Management
  • Agile Coaches/Team Leads

Theory of Instruction

The course is guided by a “learning by doing” model of education:

  • What participants will know after taking the class.
  • What participants will do during the seminar to reinforce key concepts.
  • What participants will have after the seminar to promote further practice and study.

Prerequisites

Although not strictly required, it is helpful if participants read the book Innovation Games®: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play before the course.

Materials

  • Course Presentation
  • A variety of handouts used to stimulate thinking and apply the materials
  • Case studies

Instructor

Luke Hohmann is the Founder and CEO of The Innovation Games® Company. The author of three books, Luke’s playfully diverse background of life experiences has uniquely prepared him to design and produce serious games. Luke graduated magna cum laude with a B.S.E. in computer engineering and an M.S.E. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. In addition to data structures and artificial intelligence, he studied cognitive psychology and organizational behavior. He is also a former National Junior Pairs Figure Skating Champion, as well as a certified aerobics instructor. In his spare time, Luke likes roughhousing with his four kids and his wife’s cooking. He also enjoys long runs in the Santa Cruz mountains to burn off his wife’s cooking.


Marketing Workshop: Certified Innovation Games Training for Customer Understanding

Marketing Workshop: Certified Innovation Games® Training for Customer Understanding

This two-day interactive workshop will teach you how to apply the same serious games that Fortune 1000 companies, nonprofit organizations and governments have used to improve their products and services and build lasting success.

Date: June 20-21, 2013

Location: Columbus, OH

Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Price: $1,195

Registration: Here

Become an Innovation Games Certified Collaboration Architect

Class runs from 8am to 5pm each day. Breakfast and Lunch provided both days.

This training is indispensable for individuals who want to UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE SERIOUS GAMES FOR BUSINESS to communicate directly with customers, or with internal teams. In addition, upon completion of this course you will be an Innovation Games® Certified Collaboration Architect.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

  • Market research professionals
  • Marketing professionals
  • Brand managers
  • Product and R&D managers
  • CTOs and senior business executives
  • Project and team leads
  • Coaches and facilitators

LEARN BY DOING 

  • Identifying the areas where Innovation Games can positively impact market research efforts
  • Determining which game or games are best suited to any given situation
  • High-level overview of the planning, playing and post-processing process for game sessions
  • Detailed investigation and hands-on practice of real-world case studies
  • Thorough grounding in game facilitation and presentation techniques

ACTIONABLE TAKE-AWAY TECHNIQUES 

  • Discover what your customers don’t like about your offerings
  • Uncover unspoken needs and breakthrough opportunities
  • Understand where your offerings fit into your customers’ operations
  • Clarify exactly how and when customers will use your product or service
  • Deliver the right new features and make better strategy decisions
  • Increase empathy for the customers’ experience within your organization
  • Identify your most effective marketing messages and sellable features

YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Bevill Edge®

Bloomington/Normal, IL

Scotty is a speaker, certified coach and trainer whose focus is on business strategy and performance leaning, product development and project management agile adoption, as well as customer relationship management as it pertains to understanding the customer’s role in the product development process. With over 18 years of experience in supply-chain, IT and project management, in both commercial and government contracting, Scotty helps bridge the gap between business goals and objectives and quantitative technical needs. He has a passion for using serious games to solve real world problems, is an Innovation Games® Qualified Instructor, and CEO and founder of Bevill Edge®, a PMI Registered Education Provider.


Marketing Workshop: Certified Innovation Games® Training for Customer Understanding

Marketing Workshop: Certified Innovation Games Training for Customer Understanding

This two-day interactive workshop will teach you how to apply the same serious games that Fortune 1000 companies, nonprofit organizations and governments have used to improve their products and services and build lasting success.

Date: April 18-19, 2013

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Price: $1,195

Registration: Here

Become an Innovation Games® Certified Collaboration Architect.

Class runs from 8am to 5pm each day. Breakfast and Lunch provided both days.

This training is indispensable for individuals who want to UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE SERIOUS GAMES FOR BUSINESS to communicate directly with customers, or with internal teams. In addition, upon completion of this course you will be  an Innovation Games® Certified Collaboration Architect.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

  • Market research professionals
  • Marketing professionals
  • Brand managers
  • Product and R&D managers
  • CTOs and senior business executives
  • Project and team leads
  • Coaches and facilitators

LEARN BY DOING 

  • Identifying the areas where Innovation Games can positively impact market research efforts
  • Determining which game or games are best suited to any given situation
  • High-level overview of the planning, playing and post-processing process for game sessions
  • Detailed investigation and hands-on practice of real-world case studies
  • Thorough grounding in game facilitation and presentation techniques

ACTIONABLE TAKE-AWAY TECHNIQUES 

  • Discover what your customers don’t like about your offerings
  • Uncover unspoken needs and breakthrough opportunities
  • Understand where your offerings fit into your customers’ operations
  • Clarify exactly how and when customers will use your product or service
  • Deliver the right new features and make better strategy decisions
  • Increase empathy for the customers’ experience within your organization
  • Identify your most effective marketing messages and sellable features

YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Bevill Edge®

Bloomington/Normal, IL

Scotty is a speaker, certified coach and trainer whose focus is on business strategy and performance leaning, product development and project management agile adoption, as well as customer relationship management as it pertains to understanding the customer’s role in the product development process. With over 18 years of experience in supply-chain, IT and project management, in both commercial and government contracting, Scotty helps bridge the gap between business goals and objectives and quantitative technical needs. He has a passion for using serious games to solve real world problems, is an Innovation Games® Qualified Instructor, and CEO and founder of Bevill Edge®, a PMI Registered Education Provider.


Build Better Software with Innovation Games, Kanban and Lean

Luke Hohmann to Present at Lean Kanban North America

Luke Hohmann has joined the faculty of Lean Kanban North America and will be presenting a session on the main stage on Monday, April 29. The session, “Innovation Games: Software Powered Innovation Through Collaborative Play” focuses on how the combination of Innovation Games, Kanban and Lean can help many organizations develop better software.

Details:
Session: Innovation Games: Software Powered Innovation Through Collaborative Play
April 29, 2013, 10:30 AM
Lean Kanban North America
Chicago, IL
Registration & More Information


Luke Hohmann to Present Deep Dive Session at AgileGames 2013

Luke Hohmann to Present Deep Dive Session at AgileGames 2013

CEO and Founder Luke Hohmann is doing a deep dive session on April 4 at the Agile Games 2013 conference in Boston, MA. The full day session, “How Serious Games Will Move Us From Better Software Into A Better World”, will allow participants to explore a broad range of serious games in context, from the use of games (agile games, Innovation Games, gamestorming) used in agile software development, to game design and collaborative play to tackle such serious issues as transforming the Mexican Drug Trade into a legal and sustainable business or promote Womens’ rights in Africa. The session includes hands-on and practical experience with a range of serious games, along with background on how the games are used in context.

Details:
Deep Dive: “How Serious Games will Move Us from Better Software Into a Better World”
April 4, 2013
10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
More Details and Registration

The Agile Games Conference was formed to explore how concepts like serious play, collaboration, and experiential learning apply to the field of Agile software development and project management. Launched three years ago, the annual event brings together practitioners in agile software development from all over the world.

 


The 1st Innovation Games Summit was Awesome!

The 1st Innovation Games Summit was Awesome!   

It’s been a month since more than 100 Innovation Games Fans converged at the first ever Innovation Games Summit in Santa Clara, CA, and we’re still  buzzing with excitement. The two day Summit was packed with real world stories of of how serious games are doing serious work – every day (more than two dozen sessions, keynotes and panels, and included the first-ever Innovation Games Certification courses. (More on that later.)

If you couldn’t attend, don’t fret. We did manage to videotape a few of the sessions, and several attendees also shared their conference play-by-play. Here’s the rundown:

Watch What Happened: Video
The Social IT Game: Myers-Briggs for IT Organizations
Serena Software’s Kevin Parker
Serena Software’s Kevin Parker shared how Knowsy is being used by the Serena Marketing team to learn about customer priorities and drive revenue – all through the power of play.
Kaiser Permanente's Leading Innovation Game
Kaiser Permanente’s Leading Innovation Game
 Kaiser Permanente’s Deanna Konrath shared a custom board game Kaiser Permanente has created to encourage Innovation and creativity in strategic  planning. Attendees got to hear how Kaiser is using the game, and got to play it themselves.
Innovation Games: Roll Out by Infection at Rackspace
Roll Out by Infection at Rackspace
Not to be outdone, Rackspace’s Tony Wolf let attendees know about his company’s Racktivity Room, a room dedicated to solely to serious game play.
Conference Play-by-Plays

Golden Nuggets from Steve
Protegra’s Steve Rogalsky summarizes his experience as “Golden Nuggets” – the practical things you learn at a conference that you’re able to put to work right away. What did Steve gain from attending the Summit?
  1. Retrospective Redux: He’ll allow team members to vote on their top 3 and bottom 3 ideas and use the net votes as the top items to pursue in the next iteration.
  2. Find more ways to apply the Budget Games process.
  3. Facilitation techiques: Gently nudge participants. Move the conversation with a less direct approach.
  4. A new podcast source! Look for Jack Dorsey  and
  5. Something to read: Steve Farber’s The Radical Leap Re-Energized.

Sue Kim Wants to Party

Sue Kim’s take on the Innovation Games Summit is titled “I Wanna Party Like It’s 2001”, and she zeroes right in on Tom Grant’s closing keynote, “It’s Time to Change the Rules of Work”. 

Sue writes that she’s “doubtful he said any of what I’ve written below. But there are certain sentences that continue to occupy my head after listening to him — and don’t show any signs of leaving.” I think she presents a pretty fine summary, but you don’t have to take my word for it, since Tom is doing an encore presentation of his keynote on April 5, 2013.

Are You Ready to be Innovation Games-Certified?

Are You Ready to be Innovation Games-Certified?   

Those attending the Innovation Games Summit in January got a preview of one of the biggest developments coming to the Innovation Games community – the Innovation Games Certified Collaboration Architect Program. After years of requests (by our customers, partners and students), we’re launching the Certification Program to help companies using Innovation Games (and related techniques) find the skilled partners they need to be successful. And to help our Certified Collaboration Architects find more engagements and more opportunities to put innovation Games to work.

The certification program focuses on skill, and incorporates training, facilitation and production experience (both online and in-person). Be on the lookout for more details on how you can join in.