A Grab Bag of Innovation

I like to pride myself on writing thoughtful, useful, and at times, provocative posts. But sometimes there are 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!

 

 

TIGC Customer Advisory Board Meeting: Key Insights From Customers

Ever wonder if we “practice what we preach”? Yeah, we do! On Sep 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 2020 Vision, Speed Boat, and Buy a Feature). Our games were expertly facilitated by Deb Colden and our graphic facilitator was Julia Feng.

Through these games we learned a great deal. Here is a brief summary of our insights — and what we’re planning on doing:

  1. Our games are used in more ways than we knew! Our customers shared stories of how they’re using the games to improve sales, identify customer priorities, engage employees and perform a whole range of activities. What was especially exciting was watching customers share experiences and then make connections so that they can continue to use games throughout their business.
  2. Provide more “full agency” services. We learned that while our customers love our games, and are using them, they also want us to offer more services that will make it even easier for them to play our games. These services range from prepackaged “kits” of game supplies to other services that we’ll be designing and rolling out to customers.
  3. Make Innovation Games® Online “slick”. While our current online games produce amazing results, we’re the first to admit that our current user experience is not “slick”. It needs to be improved. We are listening to our customers and have initiated a major program to redesign our entire user interface and user experience, from scratch. We’re really excited about this, and can’t wait to build our next generation offering!
  4. Continue to offer both in-person and online games. Our customers want us to continue to offer both in-person and online games. So, we will!
  5. Develop a “Certified” Facilitator program. While our customers praised our trained facilitator program, they were clear that they wanted more. Specifically, they want a Certified Facilitator program that they can use to identify the best facilitators for their needs. We are committed to creating a terrific program and are working on a program we will launch in at the Innovation Games® Summit.

Arguably the most emotional aspect of the day was the final items purchased in our Buy a Feature game. As many of you know, we are deeply committed to using our games to engage citizens through our relationship with Every Voice Engaged, a nonprofit we helped to start. During our game, we offered several new features for Innovation Games® online to our customers — including the direct support of Budget Games in our platform. After much intense debate, our customers elected to fund the development of this critically needed software. Of course, those of you who have played Innovation Games know that I’m not giving this debate justice (it really was very intense!). That said, it helped us all realize that our customers care about things that are much, much, much bigger than just prioritizing features!

Three Years of San Jose Budget Games: Jan 26, 2013

On Oct 2, 2012, Kip Harkness and Ernest Guzman from the City of San Jose, Steve Dodds from Every Voice Engaged, and I shared lunch to start the high-level planning of the third year of Budget Games for the City of San Jose. I’m thrilled with the game design that we developed (Steve will be sharing more on this, over time, at Every Voice Engaged).

The reason I am highlighting this event in our newsletter is that we’re going to try and make this the BIGGEST game we’ve produced yet! We’re hoping to engage hundreds of citizens — which means we going to need a LOT of facilitators. To help create the facilitators we need, we hope that you’ll come to the Innovation Games&ref; Summit on Jan 24/25, 2013 and then stay for the Budget Games. If you can help, please contact Every Voice Engaged.

Alexander Osterwalder to keynote the Innovation Games® Summit: Jan 24/25, 2013

I’m incredibly thrilled that Alexander Osterwalder, famed co-author of Business Model Generation, has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the Innovation Games&ref; Summit! Come and join us celebrate 10 years of serious gaming! Details here!

PDMA playing Innovation Games at an annual conference — Oct. 20-24, 2012

We’re thrilled that attendees at PDMA’s Product Innovation Management Annual Global Conference in Orlando, FL, will be playing Innovation Games on Oct. 23 & 24 to improve the PDMA and the conference experience. We’re no strangers to using Innovation Games to get better attendee feedback and engagement, along with providing a better attendee experience. There are no boring booths with Innovation Games in play.

The games will be played in the PDMA booth during the Innovation Pavilion, and include Conference Benefits Tree (a specially adapted version of Prune the Product Tree) and Putting Results Into Action! (a variation of Remember the Future.) The attendees will also receive a post-conference report compiled from games results; the report will be designed to help attendees apply their conference-related learning and experience to their work.

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