Gamestorming in the mountains of Rasnov

Written by , in category Engaging Workshops & Meetings

30 July 2012

A little over a week ago I was in Rasnov, Romania, to facilitate the first gamestorming retreat over there. You know how it was 26 degrees in Belgium? Well, that was cold in comparison to the 36 we had over there. Most of the participants didn’t really seem to have any issue with this. I on the other hand was sweating as soon as I sat down at the breakfast table.

Just to get to know each other and open the day we started by creating a personal identity card. On this card we tried to visualize to the best of our abilities and using all the (fluffy) material that we could find on the tables who we are and what are our real passions. What are the things that drive us in life and work? And the group created some masterpieces as you can see below.

Just to get things started and to get an overview of what people were looking and hoping for during the day, we gathered the expectations on the wall behind me. And to create a little bit of order in that chaos, we played affinity map with 3 categories because I like the number 3. The group had to divide all the expectation post-its into the 3 unnamed categories, so instead of relating each post-it with the category, they got to relate it to the other post-its. The group also needed to do this in complete silence. This way everyone needs to read each post-it in order to get a high level overview of each expectation without going into the nitty-gritty details of each of them. And we did a nice before and after picture for you.

Our main theme for the day was to find ways to improve the agile community in Romania. This was a perfect example of a fluffy goal towards which we could work using gamestorming. In order to be able to improve anything you need three very important things: point A – where are we now? point B – where do we want to go? the journey – how the hell are we going to get there? In order to get a common understanding of where the agileworks Romania is right now, we started off with a poster session about the current state of the community. The group was split into three teams: Team 1, Team A and Team I. Each team received a poster on the wall and a table full of markers, stickers and even more fluffy stuff to use on their posters. You can see the result of this first brainstorming here.

Alright, we got our point A, now it was time to define our fluffy goal B. And what better way to design a fluffy goal than with fluffy stuff? That’s right, we got out all our cardboard boxes, colored markers, magazines and even more fluffy stuff to create product boxes for our ideal agileworks community. Using everything they could find on the table, each team started to create their version of the ideal community. And there was a lot of stuff available for them to use.

We started this game just before lunch so I knew we were not going to get it finished. It was time to come up with a short closing game, to help us to go to lunch without dropping our energy. I came up with something I didn’t read about before when it comes to gamestorming but it’s something that is pretty common in a lot of games nowadays. So I asked everyone to write down 1 really positive thing about each of their team members in the format of an achievement. This really was ideal to keep the positive energy flowing and yet close the morning session so that we could go to lunch. After lunch each team got a little bit of time to finish up their box and present it. And look what extraordinary things they came up with:

So point B was also designed, and now it was time for the uncertain journey. How to get from A to B when there is no clear road ahead. You take small steps and re-evaluate after each small step. But since we, as human beings, are so damn bad at predicting the future, we decided to approach this road differently. We were going to predict the past, which is a lot easier for us to cope with. Time to play remember the future and track back from B to A to discover what the most important milestones were (are going to be).

And how can we link these milestones to actions? Well, we can combine them with something that gives us a nice graphic overview of the different aspects of the business model behind the community. And what better graph to use for this than the business model canvas? There is no better, that’s right. So it was time to get out the A0 posters and start relating things like customer segments, value propositions and key activities to our milestones.

And it was time to close off the day. It had been a long and hard day, filled with lots of fun work and heaps of learning for everyone in the group, myself included of course. That’s the whole idea of Co-Learning. One final closing game to round it up. And for that I picked something from my past. Everyone got to pick 1 other person in the entire group. Both partners would pick a game that we had done during the day and promised to their partner that they would try it out on a short term. Both partners also promised to each other they would keep in touch and report back with the results. I leave you with this cool quote that one of the teams used on their product box. Stay tuned for more gamestorming posts and news in the near future!

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