There always comes a time in our personal and professional lives when we need to ask ourselves the question: What’s possible here? Sure we could just hold a regular old brainstorming session but Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo have given us a new playbook. Something they call Gamestorming that will get us ready to answer that question and leave us inspired to achieve greatness.
The Gamestorming Framework
You need to know how to structure the gamestorming process. The game comes in three stages:
- Opening. This is where all of the big ideas should come out, and the critical thinking should be left behind. There are no wrong answers, create as many possibilities as possible.
- Exploring. This is the stage where you start to look for connections between ideas, and try to see old things in new ways. You are looking at this stage to see how your various ideas might play out.
- Closing. This is the stage where you start to reduce the set of possibilities you’ve created and narrow down on a course of action. Here you eliminate your choices down to the ones you can realistically implement.
Now that you know the framework, it’s time to learn some other essentials of the process.
- Closing and Opening. Be aware of some things as you open and close your games: don’t open and close at the same time as they require a completely different mindset. Also, remember to close everything that you open. Don’t let your energy dissipate because you’ve left open ideas that were suggested by the group.
- Firestarter. You need to spark the imagination of the group. The best way to do this is to ask some questions and get the energy moving
- Node Generation. In order to make connections between ideas, we need the ideas themselves. If the fire starting question were “what do we need from the grocery store?”, our nodes would be the items we need from the store.
- Sketching and Model Making. Being able to make connections between your ideas is important. You should be able to visually represent your ideas, think visually. Selection. You’ll eventually need to select the ideas you are going to pursue. Having a mechanism and making this a game within a game is important. One way to do this is to let participants vote with sticky notes put beside their preferred options
Playing Your First Game
You are now set up with everything you need to understand about how gamestorming works for you. There are hundreds of ways to play and many of them are covered in the book itself. Here are two example games you can use.
This game uses plenty of sticky notes. You start by posting a question on the board, then everyone in the group will write down as many ideas as possible with one idea per sticky note. After a certain amount of time everyone will post their sticky notes on the board. Then, you’ll sort the ideas into categories and then focus on tackling the categories most important to you.
Now that you've sorted the most relevant categories, you have to figure out which ones to pursue. Have everyone rank the ideas and from these ranks give every idea a score. Now you know which ideas the group sees as the most valuable.
If done properly, these games will help you transform your organization. Run some of these games at your next planning event or strategy session. Not only will your team thank you for adding some spice into what is usually a boring affair, you’ll unlock their creativity and generate some amazing ideas