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

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,424 Ratings  ·  135 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
...more
Paperback, 266 pages
Published July 23rd 2010 by O'Reilly Media
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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
...more
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.
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
...more
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 be ...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
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.
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
...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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Miguel Ángel Ocaña Silva
Sensaciones encontradas. No era lo que esperaba, unos primeros capítulos interesantes, y luego un compendio de dinámicas muy variopintas recogidas de varios sitios, bien para coger ideas
Violet
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is made for visual thinkers and design facilitators. A toolkit to help teams synthesize, align or create.
Russell Baylis
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design-product
Great book for finding different design exercises to do to unblock thinking. Really important if you run design sprints at your organization.
Gabriel
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelent book

A must-have for anyone who needs to get the most from a team. A full set of tools that can be integrated and adapted to a wide variety of situations.
Rodolfo
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone wanting to spark team creativity, improved collaboration, and have fun should read this.
Boradicus
I am giving this book a tentative rating. Although I have only just begun it, it rather reminds me of a self-help book, chocked full of trite and obvious advice. There is however, a large section detailing actual games, and it could be that I will find something that could spark me. Although I am deferring judgment until I have at least given this portion of the book a chance to redeem its whole, I remain uninspired and dubious. This is not to say that some might not find the concepts portrayed ...more
Graham Herrli
I hesitate to call the things in this book games. Literature on game design often includes the elements of feedback and voluntary participation in the definition of the term game, but participation in this book's "games" would likely be required, and not all of them incorporate a feedback loop. They also often lack other components sometimes included in the definition of game such as being closed systems, being winnable, and using abstraction. Despite these limitations, each activity has a clear ...more
Dani Shuping
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is cross posted from my own blog and I received the book for free from O'Reilly in exchange for writing a review (no that didn't influence it)

The authors design games to help educate and encourage innovation in the workplace and they've found that games really help people understand the concepts. The first section begins with defining what the different types of games are, what the benefits of the types are, and different traits needed within the different types of games. They then provide
...more
Rhnair
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dave does deserve a lot of credit for compiling the possible management activities into a book, which can act as a ready reckoner for some meeting. While I bought the Kindle edition, but I feel this should be bought as a hard copy and kept in the office for referencing.

What I liked was the logical sequencing of the events (with particular focus on opening an closing), the clarity with which the acitivities were laid out and the checkpoints to decide whether the particular event is suited for a
...more
Antonio
Apr 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have a philosophical difference with the core premise of this book, that group creative thinking can and should be enhanced through rigid mechanistic game-playing. While the subject itself is approached with clarity and consistency, I can't do anything but subjectively abhor the book as a whole.

Gamestorming is a collection of team building and group creativity inspiring practices, each tailored around a similarity to some form of game. The purpose of these games are to help with the flow betwe
...more
KungFu Drafter
First off, this is a fine book. It covers several theories and practices of getting teams together and having them hash out creative problems. The first 1/3 of the book covers the theories, some history, and the skill sets necesary to understand and implement these tools.

The remainder of the book is a list of "games" with thoughtful, but brief, outlines concerning use, rules and goals. Really these are some great ideas but I found most of them to be too "touchy feeling" for the engineering indus
...more
Clare
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creativity-ideas
This book is a really great resource to have on your bookshelf. It describes a series of different facilitation techniques/exercises or 'games' that can be used in a range of different organisational settings. While I was familiar with many of the games (or some variant of the games) but it is great to have them described in a single book. It was enjoyable to read the book cover-to-cover, but it's more of a reference book that you'd keep on your self and refer to when facilitating meetings/works ...more
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What do you think? 3 11 Jan 17, 2015 12:47AM  
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“Having a business meeting without artifacts and meaningful space is like meeting blindfolded with your hands behind your back. Yes, you can do it, but why would you want to?” 2 likes
“Es fácil dejar la creatividad a las personas creativas, y decirse a uno mismo: «Lo que pasa es que yo no soy creativo». El hecho es que en una economía compleja, dinámica e intelectualmente competitiva, adoptar esta postura ya no es algo aceptable.” 0 likes
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