Sometimes the hardest task isn’t the invention. It’s not the discovery of new features or even uncovering glitches in a well-oiled process. The toughest slog can be wrestling with the mountain of data that your discovery efforts have produced, attempting to shape the information into a form that can be ordered and acted upon.
The structure underlying Innovation Games Collaboration Frameworks like Give Them a Hot Tub, Remember the Future and Show & Tell cut through the tedium and enable you to find the bright ideas, the breakthroughs.
Shape in Action
Every day people around the world are using Innovation Games to solve problems and improve performance across the enterprise.
Highlight Localization Issues
Adobe used the Innovation Game Show & Tell during a two-day internal meeting on localization to uncover and highlight critical issues around how the company localizes its products. The stories related by participants were often poignant and funny, and helped the team understand the hoops international customers sometimes have to jump through when using Adobe products. After the event, many participants still referred to the game to justify more investments in certain areas. (Read more about the two-day event here.)
Understand of Customer Needs
Agile Coach/UX consultant Jean Claude Grosjean has used both Remember the Future and Me and My Shadow to minimize potential bias and better understand and anticipate user needs. The psychology of thinking of “The Future as Now” enabled his clients to better analyze what they wanted to accomplish by engaging his services as an Agile Coach and helped both client and consultant plan for success. And Me and My Shadow helped him deconstruct how his client’s customers worked to better anticipate their needs.
Three games of Prune the Product Tree during Adobe’s Globalization Strategy meeting.
Play to Shape
Innovation Games like Give Them a Hot Tub, Remember the Future and Show & Tell, along with Instant Play games like Impact/Effort Matrix help organizations solve problems through gameplay. For a complete selection of online, in-person and instant-play Shape games, check out our handy Games Matrix.
Give Them a Hot Tub
Objective: Use outrageous features to discover hidden breakthroughs.
How to Play: Write several features on note cards, one feature per card. Include several completely outrageous features. If you’re making a portable MP3 player, try adding features like “heats coffee”, “cracks” or “conditions dog hair”. If you’re making a system that manages payroll, try adding features like “plans family reunions” or “refinishes wooden floors”. If you’re building an office building, add a hot tub in the lobby. What happens when a customer uncovers one of these outrageous features? (Read more about how it works here.)
Remember the Future
Objective: Understand your customers’ definition of success –– and how to get there.
How to Play: Ask your customers to imagine that they’ve been using your product or service almost continuously between now and a future date. Now, ask them to go even further — an extra day, week or month. Ask them to write down exactly what your offering will have done to make them happy (or successful or rich or safe — choose the adjectives that work best for you). Note: The phrasing of the question is extremely important. You’ll get different results if you ask “What should the system do” instead of “What will the system have done.” Read more about how it works here.)
Show & Tell
Objective: Identify the most important artifacts created by your product or service
How to Play: Ask your customers to bring examples of artifacts created or modified by your product or service. Ask them to tell you why these artifacts are important, and
when and how they’re used. For example, if your product is software to manage invoices, ask them
to show you the invoices, reports or spreadsheets that they’ve created using your product. Pay careful attention to anything that surprises you — artifacts you expected them to create or modify that they have ignored, artifacts that aren’t used, or artifacts used. (Read more about how it works here.)