Gamestorming: Playing with Ideas

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Recently while I was documenting the phenomenon of gamification to use it to reduce an employee’s learning curve for a given tool, I came across a book titled “Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers” by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo.

The book proposes that as we gradually change from the industrial economy to the knowledge economy, workers also need to change the way they do their tasks: it is no longer enough to cover the needs of a perfectly defined job with some clear and concise responsabilities. The knowledge worker must be creative, innovate, surprise—we cannot defend ourselves with the classic excuse, “Oh, I am not a creative person any more”.

To tackle this, the authors took on the task of gathering methods and practices that imaginative people in top organizations use in their creative process and package them into a meaningful way for those of us who do not feel as creative, so we can put them into practice. The result was 83 games designed to stimulate creativity (the number of games continue to grow on the web page created for that purpose: Gogamestorm).Using these games to help our creative process requires three phases that are clearly differentiated during the game:

  • Opening, where the conditions of the game and the goal are set out.
  • Exploring, during which the game really takes place, developing and evolving the different questions that have emerged from the opening phase.
  • Closing, which must serve to pull together all the elements covered. Possibly the conclusion leads us to decide that this is not the route we wanted to take, but it is important to always close.

One of the key arguments for activiating the creative process during the game must be the goal itself. This must be sufficiently nebulous to ensure players do not see a clear path to resolution based on their work experience, but sufficiently specfic to lead to an outcome which improves the current situation with a new solution.

The goal confers us the vision that the game driver and organizer has in mind, but it doesn’t give much information on the players’ impressions. Having participated in many badly carried out brainstorming sessions where shared ideas are openly criticized, I see gamestorming as an option that gives me more ways to engage people and to avoid falling into the trap of yet another kind of unstructured sessions.

I’ll tell you more, once I manage to put into practice some of the games suggested in the book, and also the results achieved.

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