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Igniting Change Innovation Games

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Page 1: Igniting Change Innovation Games

Igniting Change Discovering Innovation


Andrea J. Simon PhD

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Igniting Change

• How to ignite change?

• Build innovation into your organization?

• Create a culture that embraces change?

• Build an Idea Bank? Watch for the possibilities?

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• Why Innovation is so hot a topic now?

• A process to train teams how to “see, feel and think” in new ways

• Active learning: do some innovation games

• Wrap with what to take away when you leave


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Great Playground


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How does it feel?

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Who Plays?

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WHY?Everyone is talking about Innovation


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Innovation Problem

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• February 2011

• “The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.“

Stephen Elop Nokia CEO

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What has changed?


Business Process Same Result Every Time

A Structure for


Creative Process Different Result Every Time

A Structure for


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Not a linear process

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Imagine you are Columbus

• Creative work is more like living with a FUZZY goal…



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Knowledge Workers are Different

Industrial Workers• Expected to fit standardized job

descriptions • Perform duties according to

clear procedures and prescriptions

Knowledge Workers• Expected not so much to perform

standardized routines but to generate creative innovative results that will delight customers and colleagues

Office in Zurich

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Has your business changed?

• What is your office designed for? Efficiency? Creativity?

• Do you have an Idea Bank?• What happens to idea to turn it into an Innovation?• Does your team really embrace change?

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“I am not a creative person!”

No longer acceptable to take this position. If you are a knowledge worker you must become, to some degree, creative.

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Complex World: Essential

Whole Organizations need to be Creative and Innovative to…• Empower people• Solve every day problems• Create big ideas that turn

into major transformations• Stay competitive• Grow

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You don’t know what you don’t know

What we know

What we know we don’t know: like how to fly a plane or speak Japanese

What we don’t know we don’t know—EVERYTHING ELSE

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Paradox of Discovery

• Find things you are not looking for when you are not looking.

• But if you are not looking for something, you will not find anything.


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Where do those ideas come from?

Not where you imagine

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From Factories to “Collaboratories”


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San Jose “ Build a Better Budget”


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There is a process here

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Why People Games?

• Games involve a high level of emotion

• Emotions help us to • Focus

• Remember

• Decide

• Perform

• Learn

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Brain hates to Change


Change creates Pain in the Brain

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Randomness = Fool the mind

• The human brain is a pattern-making machine. We seek and find patterns everywhere we look. We’re so good at it that once we find one, it can be difficult to see anything else. Creating randomness is a way of fooling the mind so that you can more easily search for new patterns in a familiar domain.


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WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE?Steps to Innovation


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Creative Process







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Opening: Divergent


• Set the stage• Develop the themes• Build the ideas • Pull in the information

• Deconstruct• Create an explosion of ideas and

opportunities. No critical thinking or skepticism.

• Blue-Sky, wide and deep• Energy and optimism• Post-it note “heaven”

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Emergent and Exploring


Look for patterns

• Start Exploring and Experimenting• Look for Patterns and Analogies• See old things in new ways• Look at how something is used across time

and space

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Move Towards Conclusions




• Move toward conclusions• Toward actions• Be critical and realistic

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• Set the stage• Develop the

themes• Build the ideas • Pull in the


• Examine• Explore• Experiment

• Conclusions• Decisions• Action


Convergent Emergent Divergent

Move Towards Conclusions




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LET’S TRY TO PLAYHow could this help you and your company?


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Innovation Games


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Product Box



• Identify the most exciting, sellable benefits of a product with your customers and non-customers.


How to play • Imagine that you are selling your product, idea, … at a

tradeshow, retail outlet, or public market• Take a few cardboard boxes and literally design a product

box that you would buy. The box should have the key marketing slogans that you find interesting.

• When finished, pretend that you’re a skeptical prospect and ask your customer to use their box to sell your product to you

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Speed Boat


How to Play • Draw a boat on a whiteboard or sheet.

You’d like the boat to really move fast. Unfortunately, the boat has a few anchors holding it back. The boat is your system, and the features that your customers don’t like are its anchors.

• They write what they don’t like on an anchor. They can also estimate how much faster the boat would go when that anchor was cut. Estimates of speed are really estimates of pain.


• Find out what they don’t like about your product

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Prune Product Tree


How to Play

• Start by drawing a very large tree. Thick limbs represent major areas of functionality within your system. The edge of the tree – its outermost branches – represent the features available in the current release.

• Write potential new features on several index cards.

• Place desired features around the tree. Observe how the tree gets structured – does one branch get the bulk of the growth? Does an underutilized aspect become stronger?


• Build a product, vision, … according to your plans

• New Ideas, Problem Solving, Planning, Unraveling Complexity

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Remember the Future


How to Play• Open ended vs. Future event that has already occurred

What should the system do • What will the system have done = Future event that has

already occurred • Based on several studies in the field of Cognitive Psychology

Mentally generate a sequence of events that caused this event to have occurred

Goal• Understanding how you get

to a goal• Backwards

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Problem to solve


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Common Issue

• How to address the health and wellness of your employees• Reduce costs

• Improve work productivity

• Positively impact society


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Prune the Product Tree

• First, break into 3 groups

• Draw a tree

• Populate the tree from roots to fruit with all the elements of employee health and wellness


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Prune the tree

• Discuss what is at each part of the tree:• What are the essentials in the roots?

• The supportive trunk?

• The major and minor branches?

• The leaves?

• The fruit?

• Prune it so you have the most important for that tree to thrive

• Discuss, debate and decide


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Remember the Future

• You have the Tree, well pruned

• You can make this happen in 3 years

• What is the Health and Wellness Story that you have built

• Remember how you get there

• Map out a 3 year timeline

• Going Backwards, remember the major moments

• How did it feel when?


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Remember The Future Backwards


Define the Future

Remember how we got there!

Obstacles we overcame

Partners we formed

2 Years 1 Year 6 Months

Major Milestones

3 Months

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FINAL THOUGHTSSustaining Change


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Playing Games Works

• We know it sounds weird, at first: Playing games to do work.

• Research shows that human beings have been hard-wired to express themselves and interact with each other through play.


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Playing Innovation Games® helps you…

• Understand your customers’ needs

• Deliver the right features

• Make better strategy decisions

• Increase empathy for your customers’ experience

• Improve the effectiveness of sales and services

• Identify the most effective marketing messages and sellable features

• Uncover breakthrough opportunities

• And have serious fun doing serious work!


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• The toughest part of innovation is accurately predicting what customers want, need or will pay for.

• Even if you ask them, your customers probably can’t explain to you what they truly want.

• And the typical brainstorming sessions, surveys or focus groups just don’t produce actionable results.


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Play frees the mind

• That’s where Innovation Games comes to the rescue. Playing Innovation Games® like Speed Boat, Prune the Product Tree or Product Box with your customers enables you to tap into your customers’ needs and desires through the magic of game play.


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• 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.

• Hardest part: 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 game mechanics underlying Innovation Games like Remember the Future cuts through the tedium and enables you to find the bright ideas, the breakthroughs.


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• It’s not enough to know what features your customers want; you need to know which features are essential and which ones can be tabled until the next phase.

• Innovation Games like Prune The Tree makes setting priorities, trading off options, really ensuring that your team is focusing on the right features at the right time.


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• Playing games equals real work.

• Innovation Games aren’t practice, aren’t simulations, but how leading companies are doing real work every day.• Discovering new trends

• Shaping and managing workloads

• Prioritizing new features or projects

• There’s a game to improve and enlighten every phase of work.


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How can we Ignite Change?

• Recognize that your brain hates change

• You have to do something to push beyond the “habit-trail” where you are most comfortable.

• Innovate! Play!

• Empower your teams to play often, solve problems through interactive games and build Idea Banks where new solutions can emerge at the intersections.


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It will become how you see the world

• Instead of it being a “thing” you do sometimes.

• It will be the way you “see” all the time.

• You will begin to look at the intersections of ideas.

• You will turn to play to find solutions to small and big problems, inside and outside the box.

• You will listen differently, listening for dots.


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We would like to express our appreciation for Innovation Games® and Agile Minds for the use of their graphics, photos and game concepts. The approach was developed by SAMC as part of our certification process.

This copy of our presentation today was created to help you take these tools and apply them to your own company. The goal is to discover your company’s own innovative Culture--with new ideas, new market space, new customers and new demand. Please let us know how your exploring goes. We like to help others with case studies. Perhaps you will become a success story we can share as well.

Send us your story to: [email protected] would love to continue our discussions. Feel free to Skype us andrea.j.simon or connect however you like.

Simon Associates Management Consultants

1905 Hunter Brook Road

Yorktown Heights, NY 10598


[email protected]