Innovation Games at Work: Better Broadband

CCA and Agile Coach Karen Spencer is putting Speed Boat to work to bring better Internet Service to her community

Committee Meeting
Jan 25 Committee Meeting- Engaging and educating the community

When it comes to using game to collaborate, Karen Favazza Spencer, an Agile Coach living in Gloucester MA, has a longer history than most. Although she’s been in the business world for over 20 years, she started her professional career as a kindergarten teacher. “Using collaborative games is like Innovation Games is coming home for me. I taught school using similar techniques and now I am using collaborative approaches with adults.”

She’s even using games in her work as the Chairperson of the Gloucester Cable TV Advisory Committee. Recently, Karen took the time to tell about how she’s using Innovation Games® for creating change in her community.

Conteneo: How did you discover Innovation Games?

Karen: At an Agile Boston Event in 2011. When I first saw the Innovation Game® Speed Boat, I immediately recognized its application as a data-gathering exercise for Risk Assessments or FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis). Since then, I’ve used that particular exercise many times, as well as taught it to others. I’ve always believed in making things visual and interactive. It’s the former teacher in me.

Besides Speed Boat, are there other Innovation Games or techniques that you use in your work?

All kinds. Product Box for feature discussion, 20:20 Vision for prioritization, Remember the Future for initial planning. I also frequently use games from the Gamestorming portfolio, like Fishbowl and Plus/Delta. Whenever I have a problem that requires collaboration, I scan both the Innovation Games® and the Gamestorming inventory for inspiration.

 You’re tackling the problem of Broadband connectivity in your community. Can you tell us about that?

In Gloucester, MA, many residents have only one option for Internet service. We’re on an island, and because of our geography, some residents experience fluctuating service levels and very slow upload data transfer speeds, particularly at certain times of day. We also have challenges with our wireless reception due to granite outcroppings, but our biggest concern is economic development. Our fishing industry is struggling, and our unemployment level is higher than the state average. We want to ensure that new businesses interested in establishing themselves in Gloucester have the broadband environment that they need to flourish.

Happily, our city has taken steps in the past several years to improve our levels of broadband service. However, to attract the type of new businesses we want, the type of maritime and marine research business we need to augment our community’s slumping fishing industry, we need to understand the broadband industry and the telecommunications environment much better. We intend to develop a sustainable long term strategy and infrastructure that will allow us to compete with any other New England region.

On January 25, we held our first in a series of three exploratory meetings for the purpose of engaging and educating the community and enlisting new committee members. We now have six committee members who are passionate about improving our circumstances, and most of whom have technical expertise in this telecommunications. We have also made contact with several of our neighboring communities. It feels like we went from 0 to 60 in just 6 weeks!

Tell us more about how you used Innovation Games.

I decided to use Innovation Games® to engage residents, businesses, schools and nonprofits in a discussion about our “as is” Internet environment and our imagined “to be” environment. I used a visible agenda and survey to open the workshop, and then progressed to a game of “Sail Boat” (also known as Speed Boat) for data gathering around the issues.  Then we used Cover Story to articulate our vision for the community. We had about 20 residents playing these games, using post-its and flip chart paper at our local library.

I enlisted three of my Agile associates (Gloria Shepardson, Pat Arcady and Gary Lavine) to act as observers during the games.  After the residents left, the four of us used the game, Empathy Map, to organize the observations they recorded on index cards during play and to generate insights. The output from all of the games used that day created a very usable foundation that I expect we will build on.

How did your fellow residents react to playing Innovation Games? Any surprises?

I asked for feedback and a numerical rating on index cards after the event. The participants rated the event as “good” to “excellent” across the board. That was a relief, because I knew I was sticking my neck out using these games. Comments on the index cards included “Great interactive meeting,” and “I wholeheartedly like this dialogue focus. Thanks!” I was also gratified by the emails I received after the event and the number of great folks requesting to sit on this committee.

What’s the next step for Broadband in Gloucester?

We’re just getting started! Broadband is a complex problem that involves many stakeholders, an ever-changing environment, and complex technology. Each member of our new committee is currently working on a different aspect. When we meet as a committee, I’ll continue to use game techniques to facilitate the knowledge share, so that our committee and our community can continue to move forward. I expect that will involve developing municipal or regional plans that will be eligible for economic development grants.

I’d also like to contribute to the national conversation about broadband. Given the January 14 DC US Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Verizon over the FCC regarding Net Neutrality, and the pending acquisition of Time Warner by Comcast, this is currently a hot topic. Providing our American businesses and citizens with sufficient affordable and reliable broadband to be globally competitive requires the involvement of passionate people. It isn’t something that we can afford to be blasé about.

The Mayor of Gloucester provided the platform, and I used Innovation Games® to engage the community in this dialogue. I’d like to use our local experience and, perhaps through the  Innovation Game® Trilicious, to engage the entire nation in the creation of better broadband for all of us.

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Innovation Games in Turkey

Innovation Games Qualified Instructor Jonathan Clark will be a keynote speaker at the forthcoming Agile Turkey Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on September 27th. His keynote is entitled “Why Serious Games are Good for Business” and he’ll explain what Innovation Games® are, why they work so well, and how to use them as part an Agile process.

For more details and how to register, see the Agile Turkey Summit website.


Bart Briers: Gamification — Because Everything Serious Needs a Laugh

You’re speaking at the IG Summit about Gamification and about how to convince management to Gamifiy. What can attendees expect from your session?
I will share a lot from my personal experience dealing with companies and their efforts around gamification. I want to explain tactics I used in convincing management to gamify — both tactics that worked and those that didn’t — and I hope we’ll be able to get into the matter of why some of them didn’t work.

Have you ever used games for work or just gamification?
I use games just as much, if not sometimes more than gamification in my work. Roleplaying for example, is a big part of all my training classes and other dealings with company management. Especially when giving feedback to a presented solution or a proposition, this technique is very valuable. The feedback given from the perspective of different role than the one a person usually performs is valued much more than it would be otherwise.

Many of the games I use are from the Gamestorming book or self-developed.

Do you commonly use gamification in your work? How?
I often use gamification in my training courses, but also in helping my clients with their strategic decision-making.

What has been your overall experience with games?
I’ve been working with games for over 15 years now, and my experience so far has been immensely positive. Games are very useful in showing people new approaches to solving seemingly unmanageable problems.

Do you have a favorite Innovation Game or Technique? Why?
There are so many. My favorite technique actually depends on what you try to achieve with the respective game. Is it about getting consensus? Is the goal to generate innovative ideas? If I had to pick one, then I’d take The Anti-Problem because it makes people think in a completely different way when they can’t find a solution to a problem. The anti-problem technique is an easy way to make them think about what can work, because it starts by brainstorming around the question “how can we make sure it won’t work” (the anti-problem) and then you derive a solution from that. It’s a great technique, especially for brainstorm-haters and negative thinkers.

What are you most looking forward to at the summit? Any particular sessions?
I’m looking forward to seeing some of the people and speakers that I met on a similar event in Belgium. And I’m curious to learn about some new serious games myself.


MEET THE SPEAKER: How to Give Innovation Games® a New Twist with Ant Clay

You’re speaking at the Innovation Games Summit about “The Flip Side of Innovation Games®”. What can attendees expect?
My session is about flipping Innovation Games®, showing how to receive even more value from these great techniques. I will explain the ‘outcome driven’ approach I use in flipping collaborative techniques to better solve challenges I face with my clients.
Attendees can expect to try some flipped games, such as new versions of Speed Boat and Start Your Day, and if there’s time, to flip some Innovation Games® together!

What has been your overall experience with doing work with games?
I’ve been using games for the last three years or more, and the more I use them, the more potential I see and the more excited I get! I use the games predominantly in my SharePoint consulting work–around Vision, Requirements, Governance and User Adoption/Change Management. I also had the chance earlier this year to modify some games and lead a facilitated workshop for a construction company to help them re-imagine their Corporate Social Responsibility Policy (CSR), which was amazing fun.
I love the way that using these techniques really helps you understand the organisation, the dynamics and the attendees, as well as delivering clear insights into the problem or solution area. But for me, the main reason this area interests me is the positive experiences of the attendees. They enjoy using these techniques; they are engaged with the process; it feels like meaningful work; and most of all we all have a lot of fun.

What techniques/games do you use most frequently and why?
I would say the two most used games for me are Innovation Games Product Box and Hot Tub for facilitating requirements ,or collaboration solutions such as SharePoint; I also extensively use the Gamestorming technique Cover Story for eliciting Project Visions.

Do you have a favourite Innovation Game or technique? Why is it your favourite?
They are all awesome in their own way. I don’t really have a favourite, but my modified Speed Boat activity (come to my session to find out more) is certainly up there as a favourite. It’s such a simple exercise to set-up, although I do think it requires considerable facilitator energy and focus to really gain its true value. Also this is a favourite because, for me, it consistently delivers huge insights in terms of business requirements, organisational culture, workshop attendee dynamics etc. and gives me a first glimpse as to how to embed change in the organisation.

What are you most looking forward to at the Summit?
I’m really looking forward to leading my session and learning lots from the attendees’ input. I am excited to hear stories from both the other speakers and the summit attendees on their use of play and games in business which I think will be of huge value. Of course, I am also looking forward to catching up with other the facilitators that I know or have worked with like Ulf, Jürgen, Jonathan and Luke and of course meeting lots of new people and making new friends and connections.

 

Want to find out more? Check out the IG Summit website or register now.


MEET THE SPEAKER: Adrie Dolman on How Real Companies Use Real Games

You’re speaking at the Innovation Games Summit about using games with one of your Clients in the session “Who’s Got the Power?’. What can attendees expect?
I’m going to tell a real-life story, which everyone will probably recognize from their own experience. It’s about the daily games people play in organizations. Why do we play games? Who are the players? What are the rules? What’s fair play? How can we win those games? (Sneak preview: You can’t win, and you don’t have to!)

Sounds interesting. So you’re talking about real life, political games?
Yes, It’s about real-life in-person games. Mostly, my clients weren’t aware that they were playing a game.

Is there anything special about how you used games or your game design? 
1. Understand the game your participants (co-workers/clients/etc.) are playing.
2. Don’t change all the rules; it’s their game.
3. Don’t participate yourself; just moderate.
4. Involve the voice of the customer.

What has been your overall experience with doing work with games?
It’s really about people, not the games

What techniques or games do you use most frequently and why?
I just moderate, and try not to have any opinions.

Do you have a favorite Innovation Game?
Speed Boat and Give them a Hot Tub are my favorites, because people are tempted in these games to show their subconscious value drivers. I prefer in-person (offline) games, because then I can moderate the best.

What are you most looking forward to at the Summit?
I hope to get inspired by new games and/or techniques to improve my game portfolio and proposition. And I want to find out what moves the participating decision makers to use Innovation Games.

 

Want to find out more? Check out the IG Summit website or register now.


MEET THE SPEAKERS: Jens Otto Lange & Thomas Stegman on Storytelling to Prototype Digital Experiences

You’re speaking at the Innovation Games Summit about Storythinking: Use Storytelling to Prototype Digital Experience. What can attendees expect from your session?
Thomas: Attendees can expect an in-depth interactive experience. They will use stories to prototype products or services and will learn to develop a persona and a story to create a better product.
Jens: I’ll add that we’ll apply Design Methods in a game setting. Attendees can expect fun and interaction!

Can you tell us a little bit more?
Jens: This session will be a simulation. We will involve attendees in creating the solution, to unleash passion and to trigger ideas and thoughts such as: What will my story be? How will this story enhance understanding and reveal hidden details?

Is there anything special about your how you’re using games or the design?
Jens: We will be combining some techniques of Design Thinking and storytelling.
Thomas: We’ll be providing you with the tools to make something great. We will try to allow you to experience something you might have read about before, but experiencing it will allow you to understand in new and maybe even eye-opening ways.

What has been your overall experience with doing work with games?
Jens: Games and groups together work well in a business context. However, one must be aware of the company’s culture and environment, and adapt to it. Some companies are more open and creative than others, so one has to choose techniques according to the company’s atmosphere. What’s so great about these games is how they bring people out of their usual, formal behavior and get people active and engaged, when put into the right environment or space.
Thomas: Games often trigger people to move out of their comfort zone to produce something that could not have been achieved in a regular business setting.

What techniques/games do you use most frequently and why?
Thomas: We use a lot of role play, as it allows for empathy in everyone. Starting the empathy engine in itself is a powerful tool: Understanding emotions of other people. Additionally, playing games brings out the competitiveness in people; everyone wants to win and you can get so much more passion as a result.
Jens: Speed Boat is a game we often use, to locate problem areas that need to be addressed. We also use the Empathy Map to create personas serving as a story’s characters.
Thomas: And storyboards of course!
Jens: Yes, storyboards are an amazing technique. Storyboards tell and illustrate user interactions. They are simple and therefore easy to apply in workshops. When things get too complicated, the people and environment as a whole are losing energy and engagement. It’s all about keeping the passion and spirit alive in the workspace.

What are you most looking forward to at the Summit? Any particular sessions?
Thomas: Everything. I’m looking forward to experience everything the Summit has to offer.
Jens: I’m looking forward to meeting practitioners from totally different aspects of the industry, from software and design to marketing, to see how we can further advance the world of Innovation Games. I’m not focused on any particular session; I’m open to learn something new.

 

Want to find out more? Check out the IG Summit website or register now.


New Innovation Games® trainings led by Jurgen de Smet coming up!!

Innovation Games® for Agile Teams and Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding

Join Jurgen for one of the Innovation Games® Certification Courses, “Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding”  or “Innovation Games® for Agile Teams” in Stockholm.  Completion of the courses designates you as a Certified Collaboration Architect, Orange or Yellow Belt. (For more details, see our website http://innovationgames.com/certification/)

Our certification courses are designed for market research professionals, product managers, product owners/developers, agile team members, marketing managers and others who want to use serious games to develop better customer understanding and drive the creation of more successful products and services.

These courses prepare participants to plan, play and facilitate online and in-person Innovation Games to solve real-world business problems upon completion.


Cost:

Innovation Games for Agile Teams: 695€

Innovation Games for Customer Understanding: 1295€

Register & More Information:

Innovation Games for Agile Teams:

http://www.co-learning.be/InnovGamesForAgileTeams/13092013

Innovation Games for Customer Understanding:

http://www.co-learning.be/InnovGamesForCustomerUnderstanding/28102013

Dates:

DateLocationCourse
July 25, 2013Gent, BelgiumCertified Innovation Games® for Agile Teams
August 19-20, 2013Gent, BelgiumCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding
September 13, 2013Gent, BelgiumCertified Innovation Games® for Agile Teams
October 28-29, 2013Gent, BelgiumCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding


Certified Innovation Games® training for Customer Understanding in Stockholm

Ulf Hannelius giving an Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding course in Stockholm

Qualified Instructor Ulf Hannelius organizes an Innovation Games Certification Course, “Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding” in Stockholm on October 3rd. Completion of the course designates you as a Certified Collaboration Architect, Orange Belt. (For more details, see our website http://innovationgames.com/certification/)

Our certification courses are designed for market research professionals, product managers, product owners/developers, agile team members, marketing managers and others who want to use serious games to develop better customer understanding and drive the creation of more successful products and services.

This course prepares participants to plan, play and facilitate online and in-person Innovation Games to solve real-world business problems upon completion.

Event Details


Date & Time: October 3-4, 2013 (8:00am – 5:00pm)


Cost:

10500 SKr – Super Early Bird

12000 SKr – Early Bird

15000 SKr – General Admission

Register & More Information

http://igcertm2013-igwebsite.eventbrite.com/


New Class! Certified Innovation Games Trainings in Paris led by Raphael Goumot

Certified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding in Paris led by Raphael Goumot

Join Raphael for an Innovation Games Certification Course, “Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding” in Paris.  Completionof the course designates you as a Certified Collaboration Architect, Orange Belt. (For more details, see our website http://innovationgames.com/certification/.)

Our certification courses are designed for market research professionals, product managers, product owners/developers, agile team members, marketing managers and others who want to use serious games to develop better customer understanding and drive the creation of more successful products and services.

This course prepares participants to plan, play and facilitate online and in-person Innovation Games to solve real-world business problems upon completion.


Cost: 1490€

Register & More Information on: http://www.agilbee.com/innovation_games.html#4

Dates:

DateLocationCourse
July 7-8, 2013Paris, FranceCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding
September 12-13, 2103Paris, FranceCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding
November 21-22, 2013Paris, FranceCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding
December 5-6, 2013Paris, FranceCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding


Innovation Games® trainings in the Netherlands coming up!!

Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding in Utrecht, Netherlands

Join Cesario for an Innovation Games Certification Course, “Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding” in Utrecht, Netherlands.  Completion of the course designates you as a Certified Collaboration Architect, Orange Belt. (For more details, see our website http://innovationgames.com/training/upcoming-courses/)

Our certification courses are designed for market research professionals, product managers, product owners/developers, agile team members, marketing managers and others who want to use serious games to develop better customer understanding and drive the creation of more successful products and services.

This course prepares participants to plan, play and facilitate online and in-person Innovation Games to solve real-world business problems upon completion.


Cost: 245€ discount Early Bird; 1495€ General Admission

Register & More Information

September 9-10:

http://www.agilix.nl/scrum-trainingen/trainings-kalender/187-innovation-games-for-customer-understanding-2014.html

November 18-19:

http://www.agilix.nl/scrum-trainingen/trainings-kalender/188-innovation-games-for-customer-understanding-2013.html

Dates:

DateLocationCourse
September 9-10, 2013Utrecht, NetherlandsCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding
November 18-19, 2013Utrecht, NetherlandsCertified Innovation Games® for Customer Understanding