Gamestorming – An energetic way to design strategy and change

Imagine if you had a work practice or technique available, that could help accelerate the pace of change, while engaging people, fostering collaboration and innovation, and energizing them about the future of their work?

Such a technique exists. It’s called Gamestorming..

This is an evolution of visual thinking, a technique originally used in 1970’s Silicon Valley in such organisations as Xerox and Intel, to solve complex engineering and innovation problems.

These visualisation techniques or ‘serious games’ have been thoughtfully collated in a playbook. Dave Gray (Xplane Inc.US) and his co-authors named the collection ‘Gamestorming’ (a play on brainstorming and games) to help organisations to solve a variety of complex problems. Essentially this is a collection of practices and methods forproblem solving, creative thinking and strategy, that have been used and cross-pollinated for years, by external consultants and internally in organisations.

Because Gamestorming is both a playbook and an approach, it can be applied to a wide variety of organisation challenges: Input, diagnosis, problem identification, solution design, strategy design, ideation, planning and execution. Participants enter a model space where rules and goals apply and the approach is structured. As with all board, schoolyard or online games, there are time and space boundaries, players, rules, artefacts and outcomes.

Problem solving requires navigating an unknown journey to an unknown destination. The basic premise is that you’re dealing with ‘fuzzy goals’. Gamestorming is about taking a non-linear journey from A to B (when you don’t know what B looks like), using structured ‘games’ within a workshop, to drive innovative thinking, creativity, energy and engagement.

Dozens of games exist – the choice varies according to the desired outcome. Sequencing of games has a cumulative effect, encouraging new thinking while ensuring meaningful outcomes. Workshops can address all types of corporate change challenges; strategy alignment, team development, growth agendas or creating 'to-be' states. Trained facilitators will design the sequence to achieve the desired outcome.

Gamestorming is essentially low-tech – it’s about people, paper and the process. It’s about workshops that are collaborative, dynamic and paced. It encourages people to co-design change energetically and unlock solutions. As I raced from one end of a room to the other in a 'bodystorming' exercise at my recent facilitator training, I experienced that energy first hand!

To quote Gamestorming originator Dave Gray, “the paradox of discovery is that you can find things that you’re not looking for, but if you don’t look, you won’t find anything”.

About The Author

Derval is Founder and Director of StratAdept. As a senior executive in industry, she has held business development and commercial roles in financial services and technology. She has 30+ years' experience delivering strategy and transformation initiatives in financial services, healthcare/life sciences and technology in the US, UK and Europe.


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