• 1 hour

Players (5..8 recommended)

  • Project team (manager, director, developers, designers, programmers, etc.)
  • Neutral facilitator recommended


  • Internet access
  • A past project to reflect on

The goal of this game, introduced by Diana Larsen, is to efficiently form high-quality plans through retrospective analysis by recognizing factors that are within the team’s control. Before identifying what you want to improve, you must first be clear on the dimensions you can regulate and what you need to adapt to. Clicking on the link to the right will take you to an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com. Here, the image will be used as the “game board,” which consists of three concentric circles. Each circle represents a different element of your project:

  • Inner circle: “Team Controls” – what your team can directly manage
  • Middle circle: “Team Influences” –persuasive actions that your team can take to move ahead
  • Outer circle: “The Soup” – elements that cannot be changed. This term — explained further by James Shore – refers to the environments we work in and have adapted to. Ideas from the other 2 circles can identify ways to respond to the barriers floating in our “soup.”

You will find an icon of blue squares at the upper left corner of the board. Each square symbolizes an idea, which players describe and drag onto the respective circle.

All edits of square placements and descriptions made by the players can be seen in real time. Communicate throughout the game using the integrated chat facility to get a better understanding of each move.

Key Points
Negative self-evaluating activities often end up emotional and unproductive. Take advantage of this game’s visual organization and extensive collaboration to avoid the blame and hopelessness that cover up ideas for future improvement. By identifying factors your team can control, influence, or cannot change, you can collectively discover how to respond to and overcome various situations. Play Circles and Soup to recognize what you can do to avoid barriers and gain insight on what actions will most effectively enhance your project.

5 thoughts on “Circles and Soup”

  1. Hmmm, that’s strange, Deborah. You should see a search bar at the very top of every page as well as on the main page above the latest games.
    Let me know if it isn’t there for you and I will look into it.

    Very glad you love the site.

    Play on!


  2. Hi Folks!

    Love this site, refer folks to it often, But now I come here myself and see NO SEARCH? How can this be, in a resource repository? Am I just missing something?

    I suspect that Luke Hohmann has put his version of Impact-Effort Grid here… but how to find it? No way am I wading through categories again, I have tried that before…


  3. Thank you for the kind comments, but Diana Larsen gets all the credit for this game. I was very fortunate to work with Diana on the Board of the Agile Alliance, so I was fortunate enough to experience her tremendous facilitation skills in action. Diana is also an Innovation Games Trained Facilitator (IGTF).

    I’m thinking about another edition of the book. Right now, I’m having a bit more fun creating instant play games. Thanks again for the kind comments, and do let us know if you have any ideas for a game.

  4. Thanks for this new game Luke !
    BTW Do you plan to publish a new edition of your great Innovation Games book with all these new games ?

Comments are closed.