If you’re not going to AgileCamp 2014 on May 3, you’re really missing out. The one-day agile event (with pre-camp workshops on May 2) is bringing together some heavy hitters in the agile community — many of whom just happen to be members of the Innovation Games® tribe as well.
The conference promises to have something for everyone interested in agile, whether you’re an expert or novice, with sessions on enterprise agility, agile leadership, team dynamics, lean innovation, GTD with agile and lean and the agile coach / scrum master kata. And then there are the keynotes from folks like our own Luke Hohmann, Rally founder and CEO Ryan Martens and Lean Kanban Inc.’s CEO David J. Anderson.
Check out the Innovation Games tribe’s contribution to the program below:
May 2, 2014; 1PM – 5PM
Introduction to Kanban
IGQI, CCA and ValueInnova CEO Masa Maeda
Agile Facilitator’s Toolkit
CCA and Innovation Games® Training Graduates Susan Berry and Randall Thomas
Conteneo Founder and CEO Luke Hohmann has joined the faculty of Modern Management Methods Conference, Lean Kanban 2014 in San Francisco, presenting a talk on the main stage, “Improving Lean Kanban in Large Distributed Teams,” on May 7, 2014. Modern Management Methods Conference is the latest interation of the Lean Kanban Conference series, bringing together an international roster of thought leaders in the Lean Kanban community to focus on new ways to manage today’s creative and knowledge worker businesses, especially around better decision-making and risk management.
Luke’s 90 minutes session will cover new and complimentary techniques for collaborating at scale, focusing on improving Lean Kanban in organizations with large, distributed teams–including methods for improving portfolio prioritization and organizational (not team!) retrospectives.
Research studies back up years of anecdotal evidence. Games really are a valid method for doing work.
If you’ve used Innovation Games® or Knowsy®, then you know our game platforms, well, just work. Over the past decade our customers have used Innovation Games and Knowsy to answer questions, solve problems, unearth serious insight and foresight, align their organizations, and a whole host of related work. We have years of anecdotal and experiential data, and there’s no question that serious games are becoming more common solutions in the business world. However, we feel it’s still critical for us to assess the effectiveness of games for solving problems. After all, we want to know if our gaming platforms are producing as high-impact results as other techniques–or if they are even better.
Fortunately, the preliminary research that I’m sharing confirms our years of practical experience: Our games are good. Really good.
Practical Experience Drives Research Design Parameters
For a number of years, we’ve been collecting the feedback from our customers on the business impact of our games. They’ve told us that the games generate a number of hard and soft benefits:
They improve the novelty of new product concepts. Let’s define “novelty” as an idea that your team or company had not yet identified or considered. Customers report that using our games creates more novel ideas.
Increase the number of novel ideas. Getting one novel idea is great. Getting ten is better. We’ve produced games that have generated hundreds of novel ideas.
Strengthen Intellectual Property portfolios. You don’t have to bring a new product to market to get value from a novel idea: Many organizations use the results of games to stay two moves ahead of their competition.
Reduce time to take decisions. While pundits tell us that we need to “move faster” in business, they often fail to give us better tools. Our prioritization games are especially effective at helping businesses move faster: Cisco, VeriSign, HP and others have told us that Buy a Feature alone has saved them months of time.
Increase engagement. Novel ideas and efficient decisions are enhanced when employees are actively engaged in their work. As you’ll see later in this post, one of the reasons Innovation Games® produces the previous benefits is that the games increase engagement.
Enhance strategic relationships. Executives and Strategic Account Managers know that strong personal relationships are the foundation of strong business relationships. Playing games like Knowsy® creates these foundations.
Strengthen corporate brands. More broadly, companies that demonstrate they’re understanding their customers and using this understanding to drive offerings create the strongest, most effective brands.
While this is an impressive list of benefits, it is by no means exhaustive. Quite often the highest impact result of a game is its ability to directly solve a specific problem. For example, reducing the time it takes to prioritize product features often pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars of direct savings from avoiding unnecessary or unwanted products or product features.
My experience in business suggests that for senior executives these benefits are typically sufficiently compelling to start leveraging the games. My academic training, though, motivates a desire for deeper explorations: To what degree and in what situations are the games better than traditional techniques? To what degree and in what situations are online games more effective than in-preson games? What kinds of players and facilitators produce the best results? And while we have more questions than answers, the answers we’ve got are pretty darn exciting.
Measuring Novelty and Feasibility
The benefits listed above provide a good starting point for research design. The first study I wish to share is from Hadi Ghanbari from the University of Oulu in Finland, who compared the online versions of Prune the Product Tree‘s effectiveness at generating novel, or previously unknown requirements, again traditional requirements gathering techniques and Buy a Feature‘s effectiveness at identifying the most important, most feasible requirements.
Hadi found that Prune the Product Tree was significantly more effective at identifying previously unknown requirements. Perhaps more importantly, the identified requirements were more clearly understood by the stakeholders precisely because the collaborative structure of the game enabled participants to share information clearly.
Hadi also found that Buy a Feature was also significantly more effective at prioritizing requirements, and that the requirements selected through the game were judged to be more feasible, because the game structure generates prioritization data, conditions of acceptance that shape the requirements, and deeper understanding of the motivations for the requirements which creates greater clarity on the problems these features are designed to solve.
In reviewing these results, I found that Hadi was testing a relatively small sample size compared to what we see in corporate implementations of our platforms. This suggests that the advantages that Hadi identified to our online games may be magnified as the number of features and players increase.
Unfortunately the paper is not yet cleared for publication, we will post it as soon as it is available!
I’d like to see this research extended to see if we could identify more fine-grained aspects or dimensions of “novelty” and which of the visual collaboration games are optimal for what aspect of novelty we’re trying to identify.
Our second research study comes from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, which worked with Daimler Financial Services to explore the effectiveness of using Buy a Feature in prioritizing the ideas that employees submitted to an internal “idea catcher”. Historically, these systems excel at capturing “spur of the moment” thinking, but are typically weak on prioritization. After all, if all you can do is give a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” on an idea, you’re not going to be engaged in trying to select the best idea possible.
While the full results of the study have not yet been released, Daimler has approved sharing some key insights. These include the following:
The Daimler team found that preparing the ideas for inclusion in the game produced a much better result, because items in a Buy a Feature game must fairly state benefits. By “fairly”, I mean that a project with outlandish claims of benefits (for example, 1000% ROI) won’t be purchased, and projects with too few benefits won’t be purchased. Playing Buy a Feature results in more fairly defined projects.
Employees reported significantly higher levels of engagement, when prioritizing ideas using Buy a Feature.
For the reasons previously mentioned, the Daimler team also found that the selected projects were more feasible, and that the chat logs provided significant insight that made the proposals even better.
Like Hadi’s study, the Daimler research was based on a relatively small sample size. Increasing either the number of employees engaged in the study or the number of projects would likely show even greater impact.
Making Your Move
For those of you who have already experienced the incredible power that comes from playing our games, I’m sure the results from these studies are no surprise, and will only confirm what you know to be true. However, you may find that the results may sway others who are still skeptical about the role serious games can play.
If you’re new to our games, or perhaps still on the fence about whether games are really a valid method for solving business problems, I hope these studies provide you with a reason to make the move toward using serious games for solving business problems.
Finally, ff you’re a researcher who’d like to join us in assessing the effectiveness of our games, drop me a line. We’re eager to support you in your efforts to explore the effectiveness of our games.
Big news for the Innovation Games Summit in Amsterdam (18-20 Sept 2013) — and lots of it. So much news in fact, I barely know where to begin. But, here I go.
Registration is open (yay!) and we’re offering an additional 10% off the early bird rate for the Your Next Move readership. The discount code is YNM7, and if you click on the link, the percentage off is added automatically.
But, wait, who will be speaking? What will they be
Join us! Innovation Games Summit Eu 2013
speaking on? Check out IGSummit.net for the Summit program, just announced.
Day one is reserved for three intensive Master Classes:
September 18th starts with keynotes from Verne Harnish, Luke Hohmann, Paul Mantey and Erickson’s Rickard Dam, and the fun continues on September 18 & 19 with lightning talks, speed games, hour-long workshops, real world case studies. On Friday afternoon, participants will also have a chance to experience the power of games first hand as we play a Summit-wide game to put power of serious games to work to help a nonprofit organization.
Stay tuned and check out http://igsummit.net! We have even more great things planned. You won’t want to miss it.
Luke Hohmann just joined the roster of the 2013 Growth
Summit presented by Fortune on Oct. 22-23, in Las Vegas, NV. Organized by Verne Harnish’s Gazelles, the high profile event brings together nine business leaders, including Zappo’s Tony Hsieh, Stephen MR Covey, Mark Johnson, Mark Goulston, Ram Charan and others, with an audience of leading executives to focus on growing their business.
THE INNOVATION GAMES® COMPANY LAUNCHES CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
The comprehensive program rewards skill and experience in using Innovation Games, Gamestorming and related techniques to solve business problems.
April 12, 2013 — Mountain View, CA. The Innovation Games® Company, the leading producer of online and in-person serious games for business, today announced the launch of its “Innovation Games® Certified Collaboration Architect Program”. Built around skill and experience with planning, playing and facilitating serious games to accomplish business goals, the program connects organizations needing Innovation Games services with experienced Innovation Games Certified Collaboration Architects (CCAs).
“The Certification program has evolved from direct requests from our largest customers to help them identify and hire qualified facilitators. We’re also seeing companies list Innovation Games® as prerequisites for employment, which matches the increasing demand we see in the business world, as more and more companies integrate serious games into their business processes,” says Luke Hohmann, CEO and Founder of The Innovation Games® Company.
“With more than 1,000 people trained in our methods—both inside and outside of corporations—-and a growing user base for our online software,” Hohmann continues, “it was time to create a program to connect Collaboration Architects with the organizations putting serious games to work.”
The “Innovation Games® Certified Collaboration Architect Program” enables individuals who facilitate and produce Innovation Games® and similar techniques to more effectively market their services to potential clients. Through the program, Certified Collaboration Architects earn “Belts” for facilitating and producing both online and in-person games using Innovation Games®, Gamestorming and other approved techniques within the community.
CCAs can be ranked at 9 belt levels, designating them as Apprentice through Master Certified Collaboration Architects. In the months ahead, CCAs will be able to also earn and be recognized for special achievements or skills, such as being an excellent discussion leader, or possessing unique knowledge of a given domain or industry. Higher-ranked CCAs get more options to promote themselves in the community.
Organizations needing serious games expertise win big with this program. They can search the “Find an Expert” database to find Certified Collaboration Architects with the right mix of skills and experience for their research, collaboration and strategic planning needs. This allows companies to get the best insights from their serious games engagements.
For more information about how the Innovation Games® Certified Collaboration Architects Program can help you succeed, check out our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Innovation Games® Company
The Innovation Games® Company is the leading producer of serious games—online and in-person—for business. Innovation Games helps organizations large and small get actionable insights into customer needs and preferences to improve performance, through collaborative play, having worked with such companies as Cisco, Reed Elsevier, Yahoo!, Qualcomm, SAP, Emerson Climate Technologies and more. To learn more about Innovation Games® Online, our online game platform for real-time, distributed collaboration and Knowsy for Sales, our sales enablement game, visit http://innovationgames.com.
Join us on June 3, 2013 for our Innovation Games Certification Course: Innovation Games for Agile Teams training. Completion of the course designates you as a Certified Innovation Games Facilitator, Yellow Belt. (For more information on Certification and Belt Levels, see the Innovation Games website.)
Many of the practices and processes followed by agile teams are enhanced and improved through the integration of Innovation Games®. This one-day certification course will enable agile practitioners to put Innovation Games to use to identify customer requirements, improve retrospectives, prioritize backlogs, create better release plans and much more. Innovation Games® are serious games that can be used to deliver cost-effective market research for Agile teams and super-charge the product planning process. Based on the book of the same name by Luke Hohmann, Innovation Games® power innovation by enabling you to better understand your customers.
This course will help you gain a better understanding of how to apply these games within the context of an Agile development process. While there is a lot to love about Agile development, many practices can get pretty tiresome. Retrospectives stop working when teams become bored with answering the same three questions (“what worked, what didn’t work, what should we change?”). Prioritizing a product backlog in a single meeting before, or during, release planning using a spreadsheet isn’t very engaging. Developing and presenting a product roadmap using PowerPoint gets pretty old, especially when you can’t find a way to show the growth in functionality of your product.
Beginning with an overview of Innovation Games, you will learn how to:
A variety of handouts used to stimulate thinking and apply the materials
For information on our cancellation policy please visit our website.
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.
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!