Actions for Retrospectives

Goal: Discover How You Can Improve an Event for the Future

Analyzing past events can get repetitive, leading to a lack of creative ideas and dulled critical thinking for areas of improvement. To resist this unproductive slump, Actions for Retrospectives, based on Nick Oostvogel’s Actions Centered, allows teams to examine multiple aspects of an event in order to form original ideas on how it can be enhanced in the future. Break free from the barriers of boring retrospective analysis strategies and discover how you can make your next project, meeting, conference, etc., a success.


The Game

Start by drawing a large 2×2 matrix with a square labeled “Actions” in the middle; this is designated for the changes that the team commits to making as a result of the retrospective. The other squares represent different categories, and, in the online version of the game, the ideas placed in each section are symbolized by unique icons.

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  • Puzzles: Questions for which you have no answer, represented by a question mark.
  • Risks: Future pitfalls that can endanger the project, represented by a bomb.
  • Appreciations: What you liked during the previous iteration, represented by a smiley face.
  • Wishes: Not improvements, but ideas of your ideal project, represented by a star.


Next, all of the players write their ideas for each category on sticky notes, which they then explain to the group and post onto the chart. As a team, discuss the novelty, feasibility, and impact of the ideas, and collaborate to analyze how they can be applied to the next event. Aim to create practical, efficient “Actions” in the middle.


Why It Works

This unique strategy involves extensive teamwork and spatial organization, so your group can think differently about retrospectives and brainstorm changes for progress. Also, by writing thoughts down and working together, participants will be more comfortable providing ideas for how to improve the event rather than feeling as if they are criticizing past ideas. Play Actions for Retrospectives to reflect on the past in order to advance toward the future.

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3 Responses to “Actions for Retrospectives”

  1. […] Innovation Games ( Using games in a clever format helps you and your team move forward in numerous important areas. Lynn uses the Product Box with her clients. Katrina recently used 20/20 Vision with one of her clients.  Our colleague, Tammy Henderson, led us through our end-of-year retrospective with an Innovation Game, Cover Story, with great success.  For retrospectives, take a look at Actions for Retrospectives. […]

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