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Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rule-breakers, and Changemakers

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  5,666 ratings  ·  164 reviews
Great things don't happen in a vacuum. But creating an environment for creative thinking and innovation can be a daunting challenge. How can you make it happen at your company? The answer may surprise you: gamestorming.

This book includes more than 80 games to help you break down barriers, communicate better, and generate new ideas, insights, and strategies. The authors hav
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Paperback, 266 pages
Published July 23rd 2010 by O'Reilly Media
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Ali Pasha
THE GOOD
Has a laundry list of useful brainstorming patterns.

THE BAD
Book lacks real life examples of when things have worked, have not worked. Lacks any evidence that this work any better than anything else. Difficult to read as it's very dry. Definitely feels like some sections were added as fillers.

RECOMMENDATION
Treat as reference for the patterns.

Nathanael Coyne
"A great plan can't guarantee a great outcome, but it will help lay down the fundamentals from which you can adapt". This quote from the book relating to the "7Ps Framework" applies to the entire book. Try and apply these "games" verbatim and it'll probably feel contrived with too much focus on process and not enough on the outcome. Keep that in mind while you read this book otherwise you'll go through it thinking "I can't play this game with my co-workers, they'll laugh at me!". In fact it's pr ...more
Isadora Wagner
Jun 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: work
Gamestorming is disappointing. In its current version, it reads like management porn, not the Jesus meet Bible thought-provoking game changer it sets out to be. Chapters 1 and 2 are fair, but could go deeper into the theory and science behind games; for example, what makes games work? why does the propensity or instinct to play games seem so universal across races and cultures? what are essential 'game structures' and how can these be applied to the sorts of work scenarios that the authors, Dave ...more
Michael
I really like the concept of this book, but after the introduction it is just a whole bunch of game ideas. And to be honest, many of the "games" are traditional business school exercises, couched in the term "game". To that end, I am somewhat disappointed so far

I finally finished the book, and while I still agree that many of the games are just the same thing, done differently, I believe the authors have done a great job at cataloging many different options for helping individuals, teams, and co
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Leisa
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little cynical about a book with this many 'games' in it, and I don't know many people who would be brave enough to pitch a SWOT analysis as a game but, despite that, I have plenty of dog eared pages with activities I'll definitely be trying in the future. A great resource for anyone who regularly facilitates workshops (or who should be!)
Adrian Howard
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you facilitate workshops & meetings you should read this book. While the compilation of techniques is great, the biggest take away for me on a second reading is the framework and pattern-library-ish approach to that compilation. I'm certainly going to be re-thinking some of the work that I do in that context. Recommended. ...more
Joseph Newell
The best part of Gamestorming for me was the discussions of the principles behind "games." Just as they focus on the opening and closing exercises and how important they are, Gamestorming is most useful when viewed as an opener or a closer. The principles contained inside are useful for anyone looking to bring structure into their activities but left so vague that it is difficult to understand exactly how to put them into practice. They are most useful when taken as a part of the knowledge curve ...more
Atif Shaikh
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great collection of collaborative games, structure could be improved. should have had a scenario based game groupings instead of an inventory style listing. a reference book to master over the years
Marcus Kazmierczak
The book is full of useful and practical information to help businesses from coming up with ideas, exploring options, to shipping products and getting to done.

The main approach of Gamestorming is framing the meetings and exercises as games, with the rules spelled out, for example the number of players, objective of the game, and how the game is played. This is kinda brilliant since it gives a formal structure to a meeting without being too formal, plus it gets all participants informed on goals
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Todd Sattersten
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gamestorming is a book about a problem you didn't know you had and a solution that you've unknowingly used since childhood.

When problems have a clear start point and end point, the steps between A and B are very clear. If you need to get groceries, a check of the pantry, writing a list and a trip to the market gets you to your end goal.

But, what if the end goal isn't clear? What if there are a range of possibilities? We face these sorts of problems every day and often try to use the same A to B
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Sebastian Gebski
My original impression (before I've actually started reading) was - wow, what a great idea - a book about visual communication & ideation, how cool is that? Now I have the answer - far less cool than it could have been. Sadly, the 'games' presented in this book are extremely simple & ... obvious. Just to illustrate this - the most advance of them is the SWOT analysis. Yessss. In other words - a smart individual with a basic ability of abstract / model thinking (like an engineer) won't benefit fr ...more
Fred Rose
This is a terrific book for ideas and techniques for running innovation sessions. I've competed in games like this my whole life, and know from years of coaching and mentoring how useful games can be as a way to structure problems, think about solutions and get people directed. This book has a few short chapters on the meta-strcuture of games and challenges, and theok to skim to see how your own many, many actual games, with details on when to use them and how. Even if you don't do these kinds o ...more
Hussain Al-ahmed
The start of the book is well structured where it explains the concept of gamification at work and how meetings can be more effective if they are more interactive. It also explains the game theory and how to open and close a game.

The second part of the book was rather dull because it shows the games but you can't really apply them while reading. If the book is split to 2 books, it would give better experience to the reader. The first, elaborates more on the concept and the research behind the t
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Derek Neighbors
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very similar to the Agile Retrospectives book by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby. This book has a lot more activities and goes into some more detail on the theory of using games to get people interacting in meaningful ways. Several people around Gangplank have been using the games and are raving about them. I plan on using a few during a consulting engagement coming up. Great stuff.
Michele Ide-smith
Gamestorming is an incredibly useful resource. But the instructions and timing of the games need some adjustment in practise. Like any resource, use the bits that work for you and adapt. We used to run a fortnightly collaboration club at work where we tried out a game and reflected on how and when it would be most useful.
Steven De Landtsheer
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
From time to time, I need to organise sessions with a group of people in which you need to take them to a place that is unclear for themselves and in most of the the cases equally unclear to myself. That is something that people feel really uncomfortable about. One of the ways to get a group of people beyond such a resistance point, is by using what I call a ‘workshop’.
This is the point where this book fits in perfectly. The book explains in the beginning chapters beautifully how the structure o
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Florian
The book starts with a short but great opening about gamestorming and how it is a method for exploration and discovery of unpredictable, breakthrough ideas. The authors give us some pretty inspirational foundational aspects of gamestorming and its importance in the "age of discovery".

The remaining vast majority of the book is a list of games that teams can play to generate, categorize and prioritize new ideas. Some games are interesting but too many are similar to each others. It would have been
...more
Jean-marie Prevost
Nice, well-written book with lots of interesting content.

The book presents a series of "games" that can be done to solve certain issues, such as prioritizing tasks, getting input and feedback from groups, starting or closing discussions, brainstorming and many more.

Sadly, I found it far too "business-oriented" for me. I mostly work alone in a creative field (game development) and a lot of those felt like they were clearly designed for office workers or large groups. I felt it wasn't for "Innovat
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Ashraf Bashir
The book content is very good, containing many meeting facilitation techniques and frameworks. It is a great source of information for anyone in leadership or management. Why not 4 stars? The main reason of scoring it as three is "repetition", the info in the book could be presented in 100-150 pages max., but the author repeated many points all over pages! Also the author didn't classify the games based on strategy and/or goal, so you end up -as a reader- creating indices for the games based on ...more
Krashagi Saini
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this fast-paced moving world, every organisation needs creative ideas for constantly re-inventing and innovating. This book is like a directory that contains tools that foster creativity in a team, helps in team building , collaborating , brain-storming and strategizing in order to achieve desired goals in a specific course of time keeping play at the core of it.
This book gives a fresh perspective about game as play which brings out the essence of our innate childlike attributes that is prese
...more
David
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It contained some interesting methods for brainstorming. I know it was called gamestorming, but almost all the techniques were ones that I have seen used during brainstorming events over the last several decades. Still, it was well written and I haven't seen this many brought together in one book. I do recommend it as a useful resource for anyone thinking about how to get their organization to brainstorm and work through new ideas, urgent issues, or ongoing problems.
Enrique  Martinez
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a comprehensive guide of games for meetings in a company. I’m not quite sure that these games are useful for learning. Because only a few of the games listed have rewards or make direct evaluation of the skills or knowledge of the participants.

I personally use games in my classes, and they work best when they have skin in the game, and the learning is better, the stakes are high, the emotions are arousing. I think a second edition requires more games that puts skin in the game.
Elaine Wherry
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good for planning offsites

A good reference for team brainstorming exercises, especially for offsites. The book begins with a description of what comprises a game. The remainder desttibes 50+ ideas for idea generation, visioning, and planning. The index is great for finding an activity and planning an agenda quickly.
Jürgen Mohr
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Recommended reading for all people who run workshops over and over again

I distract one star because they leave me a little bit confused. In chapter one they are describing the game design. Each game consists of three stages, an opening, exploring, and closing stage. But later on they introduce a list of opening games - but opening is just one stage of a game. How can a game only be an opening game when each game consists of opening, exploring, and closing? They should have named their "games" ac
...more
Vassilena
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This is a great handbook for everyone who organizes team meetings, brainstorming sessions, or any other form of idea generation and problem-solving in a group. My advice: don't borrow, buy it! Do a quick read through to get an idea about the games and then consult it before the start of your meetings to find the perfect game to use.
Eduards Sizovs
This book is essentially a list of games and techniques that a facilitator can use. Nothing groundbreaking, but you may find some interesting ideas here. I personally use some of the techniques, such as dot-voting, during my training.

Also, you might not need to read the full book – all games (and even more) are available on gamestorming.com.
Gisela Margarito
The first part of the book explains throughly all the concepts and why this type of collaborative creative excersises work. The rest of the book is a compilation of "games" that you can use depending on your situation. This book is a good asset to have in your techniques toolbox so you can go back whenever you need.
Rebecca  Karasik
Pretty great for a book with pictures! I really liked some of the ideas in this book, but felt that others weren't that helpful. Overall a very easy way to think about how to solve problems at the jerb.
Blundell
Good reference book, not so much a good read

Some great ideas for meeting exercises. Really awkward to read as an e-book on my phone, but my paper copy is a great reference to take to meetings.
Ghassan Samaha
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We all know that life can not be a game, right?yes..but Games are part of it. And sometimes to understand life more, we have to PLAY, because life can be Fuzzy. And a fuzzy needs the one who undesransnds it. A book that is an amazing reference for gamers.
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