10 amazing ways to use a product box at work!

Written by , in category Agile & Scrum

26 August 2013

Last week was my first Certified Innovation Games for Customer Understanding training out of many to come and what struck me the most from the 2 very interactive and fun days is the broad employability of the games. I was aware of a lot of different uses of the games and used them myself in a lot of different domains, to solve problems or generate insights into different complex problems, but attendees still surprised me with other options. Let me give you an example based on the Product Box Innovation Game®. The game is designed to generate insights, together with your customers, related to your product and how it would solve their problems, but after performing a session the participants immediately saw a lot of other options for the game. These are the answers I got when asking the same question: “What can I do with a product box?” to the attendees in the course:

  • Getting (1) new idea’s on your product or service (obvious as the game was designed to do so).
  • Generating a (2) vision for a totally new product or service by co-creating it with the customer. A nice side effect of using this kind of game to actively collaborate with your customer might lead to your first paying customers for it.
  • But also generating a (3) vision for your company is an option. By including all layers in the company you really get a shared vision in the company, without the need to push vision through the organization with some expensive change program.
  • They also came up with generating a (4) vision for people that need to work as a team. Often a group of people are formed to accomplish a certain goal or objective and it is hard to get them to really work as a team. By generating a shared vision for the team (name, attributes, working habits…) the people generate a secondary goal and more intrinsic motivation to work together, which kickstarts the teamwork.
  • Thinking of vision, discovering requirements, discovering passion, the attendees also came up with the idea to use the Product Box Innovation Game® to (5) train or mentor sales people. While building a product box together, the sales people will generate a deeper understanding of its applications and implications, and at the same time generate good stories or even metaphors to use in their (6) sales pitches.
  • We could even use the process of a Product Box Innovation Game® to (7) interview candidates for a job opening, or even sub-contractors. By asking people to make a box about themselves, you immediately learn a lot about their personality and not only with the end result but also by observing the way they deal with the assignment. It would be a great way to evaluate creativity, engagement, key qualities, internal motivations, and even knowledge.
  • Even we stretch out the above a bit, we could also use the technique to allow people to describe their own roles, with or without the stakeholders of that role. A lot of organizations are in a continuous phase of reorganizations (a good thing) and need to clear out how old roles change and new roles need to be fulfilled. Using the Product Box Innovation Game® one could (8) make role descriptions in a very interactive and collaborative way. Having this done with everybody in the role and the stakeholders makes it immediately applicable within the organization and no other change management efforts are required, saving a lot of time and money.
  • Within software development, we see that iterative development is becoming mainstream and in this kind of environment products are built in short iterations. Each iteration has a certain value delivered, and using a product box built by the team and its product owner might be a great way to (9) introduce the new value to its stakeholders. As in many organizations it is not the iteration deliverable that is sent to customers, but a collection of iteration deliverables (either multiple teams, multiple iterations…). You could also use the product box as a way to (10) build up the final release notes.

different domains where to use the product box innovation games

different domains where to use the product box innovation games


This might seem a lot to you, but I’m pretty sure that the attendees of the course got enough information and experience during the 2-day training to apply the technique to all of the above mentioned problem domains. Another thing I’m sure of is that those are not even close to all the possibilities of the game and many more have been tried, used and experimented with! It would be nice, great actually, if you would comment on this post with your different way of applying the game or for that matter idea on how it might be useful.

As you already know, we love to co-learn!

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