Innovation Generator

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Scott Sehlhorst, President of Tyner Blain LLC, developed this game for players to come up with the necessary components of innovation: invention and value.

Timing: 1 hour
Ingredients:

  • Online access

Players (5..8 recommended):

  • Product Manager / Product Owner
  • Development Team

Directions:

You can instantly play Innovation Generator online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image will be used as the “game board.” The chart is organized into three columns.

1. Customers’/Prospective Customers’ Problems
2. Invention/Value
3. Innovation

You will see light bulb and sticky note icons in the upper left corner. The light bulbs represent inventions and the sticky notes symbolize all other ideas in the three columns.

To begin, players think of problems that customers within your market may have. To add the ideas, simply drag sticky notes to the chart and describe what they represent. Next, work as a group to choose about five inventions (represented by the light bulbs) your company has or could create. Ask your players to explore the values these inventions have — other than their current purposes — and to post their ideas around the inventions in the second column. Think of how these values can resolve the problems noted in the first section. Doing so ensures that your team’s innovations focus on meeting your stakeholders’ needs.

Finally, add sticky notes to the third column to describe new innovations you can create by combining the second column inventions with their values. Focus on innovations that address the notes from column one. This will ensure that the exercise leaves you with useful information that responds to customers’ needs.

Players can edit the placement and description of each icon, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move.

Key Points:

Using creative thinking to uncover various ways to apply a product inspires teams to develop new applications for inventions and form solutions that address stakeholders’ needs. And by identifying customer problems first, all ideas will be geared toward helping those who hold the key to your success. Whether creating new inventions or reusing past ones, Innovation Generation is perfect for teams to brainstorm ways to help customers and stay ahead of the competition.

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