Innovation Games Includes twelve games that help you uncover your customers' true, hidden needs and desires. This work helps you learn what each game will accomplish, why it works, and how to play it with customers. It then shows how to integrate the results into your product development processes, helping you focus your efforts and reduce your costs. Full description
This is a really readable and practical book. It covers a number of games to run with customers to help you understand how to make your products better. Many of them are also suitable to use with internal teams, especially as a pre-cursor to customer sessions.I'll definitely be trying some of them out. Here are the games and a quick summary. The book also includes lots of detailed advice about planning, setting up, running and analysing the data you collect at these games.
1. Prune the Product TreThis is a really readable and practical book. It covers a number of games to run with customers to help you understand how to make your products better. Many of them are also suitable to use with internal teams, especially as a pre-cursor to customer sessions.I'll definitely be trying some of them out. Here are the games and a quick summary. The book also includes lots of detailed advice about planning, setting up, running and analysing the data you collect at these games.
1. Prune the Product Tree Put up a huge picture of a tree and cards shaped like leaves for your product features. Use this to reflect on where your product is at and where it is going. Closer in to the trunk is earlier in the product life. The roots are things like industry links, strategic relationships, core infrastructure. Great for a new perspective on planning your product roadmap taking in many points of view.
2. Remember the Future This sounds similar to Amazon's technique of writing the press release for a new product before they start developing it. You ask your customers to look into the future and see what the product has done for them at that time. It helps get specific detailed feedback about possible future directions. Participants work alone or in groups and then present to the wider group for discussion. This is a very loosely organised game, I'd like to try it with small groups first to see how the presentation and collation of ideas would work.
3. Spider Web Draw up a web and put cards on it to represent related elements in the ecosystem that your product exists in. Again this is quite a wide open area, but the idea is to open up new possibilities for innovation by combining elements of that ecosystem in different ways. They suggest presenting 2 to 4 types of relationships you want to explore
4. Product Box This is a familiar concept for agile teams, but in this case it is played with customers who then 'sell' the product in short presentations. You may even award a prize for the first box. The idea of having a well decorated and interesting looking box is much better than the way I have played it before. I like also that they bring in real boxes of real products for inspiration. Whereas with an agile team you are playing this to ensure everyone shares the vision of what the product should do and why, with this exercise you seeking to uncover as yet unmet needs.
5. Buy a Feature This game sounds really useful for both internal teams and with customers. It would take some practice with small teams first I think. There is lots of information about how to price your features, how much money to give out and so on. The key concept is that customers don't have enough money to buy important features on their own, they have to work together and negotiate for what is most important. The conversations they have at this time would reveal a lot about the importance of different features and why they are important.
6. Start Your Day The idea of this game is to talk about how your product is used in different contexts, different times of the day, week, year and so on. Large calendars and time planners are used to stick ideas up on which are then discussed.
7. Show and Tell Customers bring example artefacts that your product produces and show them to the group. This leverages the desire everyone has to do a good job, show they are doing a good job and then they will happen to show how your product helps them do that.
8. Me and My Shadow Made famous by Intuit as "Follow me home" this is about observing customers using your products in their home environment.
9. Give them a Hot Tub It would be great to see a video of this game in action because it sounds a little strange. You put out a set of possible product features and pepper them with outrageous features that you make up. Each feature is then either accepted, transformed to something more useful or rejected. It is explained it works because of the cognitive dissonance created by the outrageous feature that you naturally work to remove.
10. The Apprentice This game has your development team going and actually performing the job that your product does. This will increase empathy for the development team of the users and give them countless insights into what is important to ensure the product actually does the job. This is potentially really easy to implement, depending on your environment - so what's stopping you! Go ahead!
11. 20 / 20 Vision This is a method of requirements prioritisation by comparing each requirement 1 by 1. You start with 1, then take the next and decide if it is higher or lower, and continue. Some modifications to consider include grouping in MOSCOW (must, could, should) groups and then comparing within each group.
12. Speed Boat This is a method for collecting negative feedback in a non-confrontational and fun way. You draw a big speed boat, put that on the wall and attach cards with issues as anchors - they are slowing down our speedboat. The issues can be differentiated in importance by the size of the anchor, the position and other things. We naturally don't like to deliver crtiicism, especially face to face, so this game provides a way to do it while giving some disassociation - it's not 'you' that's the problem - it's the boat is getting slowed down. This sounds like a great technique to use in all sorts of situations.