Instant Play Games

These are online, instant play, versions of Innovation Games.


Innovation Games logo


Bang-for-the-Buck

See the post on Tastycupcakes.com and Scott Selhort’s post for more info on how to play.
Objective: Collaboratively rank a project backlog based on estimated value and estimated cost.
How to play: Lightbulbs represents the projects to prioritize. The y-axis is the value of an epic or story and the x-axis is the cost. Players responsible for assessing the value provided by a project focuses on getting the light bulbs in the right place vertically, while players responsible for understanding the costs puts each project in the right place horizontally.
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Cover Story Game

We’ve collaborated with the Gamestorming team on this game, based on work by The Grove.
Objective: Think expansively around an ideal future state for the organization; it’s an exercise in visioning.
How to play: Suspend all disbelief and envision a future state that is so stellar that it landed your organization on the cover of a well-known magazine. See the Gamestorming post for complete details.

Empathy Map Game

The Empathy Map is one of XPLANE’s methods for understanding audiences, including users, customers and other players in any business ecosystem.

Objective: Help you gain insight and understanding for a targeted persona.
How to play: Drag icons from the top left onto your empathy map. Use smiley faces to indicate what would make your persona happy. Use grim faces to indicate what would make your persona concerned. Use frown faces to indicate what would make your persona unhappy.

Event Benefits Game

Prune the Product Tree is a great game for eliciting feedback from customers. This version is adapted for conference/event offerings.
Objective: Identify the kinds of benefits attendees of a conference, event or meeting received during and after the conference.
How to Play: Red Apples are benefits you expected – and got! Rotten Apples are benefits that you expected – but didn’t get. Presents are unexpected benefits that made the conference great.

How-Now-Wow Matrix

We’ve collaborated with the Gamestorming team to bring you this online game.

Objective: Select the best ideas as a group.
How to Play: The game is a 2×2 grid in which the X-axis denotes the originality of the idea and the Y-axis shows the ease of implementation. Now/Blue Ideas – Normal ideas, easy to implement. How/Yellow Ideas – Original ideas, impossible to implement. Wow/Green Ideas – Original ideas, easy to implement. In this game, lightbulbs will represent your ideas.

Plus/Delta Game

We’ve collaborated with the Gamestorming team to bring you this online game.

Objective: Generate constructive feedback.
How to Play: Ask players to reflect on what was positive/repeatable about an activity and capture their thoughts under the “plus” column using “plus” icons. Ask your players to denote what they would change under the “delta” column using the “delta” icons.

Speed Boat

One of the 12 games that started it all. Read why it works here.

Objective: Identify what is wrong with your existing products and services.
How to Play: In this game, you have 25 anchors to share with your fellow players. Anchors represent what is preventing your product or service from being as successful as it could be. The game will help you keep track of just how bad each anchor is.

SWOT Analysis Game

We’ve collaborated with the Gamestorming team to bring you this online game.

Objective: Conduct an online, shared SWOT analysis.
How to play: Rocket ships represent opportunities. The fit person represents strengths. The weak person represents weaknesses. The bomb represents threats.

Pros/Cons Game

We’ve collaborated with the Gamestorming team to bring you this online game.

Objective/How-to-Play: As described by Dave Gray, the Pro/Con list is credited to Benjamin Franklin. In this game, we’ll give you some blue pluses and red minuses so that you and your distributed team can all explore an issue using a centuries old technique with modern tools.

Whole Product Game

This differentiation game was inspired by Ted Levitt’s “Whole Product Strategy”.

Objective: Discover how you can most effectively differentiate your product or service from the competition.
How to play: Light bulbs represent ideas. Simply drag them to one of the four categories: the Generic Product, Expected Product, Augmented Product, and Potential Product.

Impact & Effort Matrix


This version of the famous technique has been popularized by XPLANE.

Objective: Find the most efficient way to reach your goal
How to Play: Drag light bulbs — representing strategies to reach your goal — to the corresponding quadrants on the matrix. Work toward forming as many second quadrant (high-impact/low-effort) ideas as you can.

Actions for Retrospectives


This retrospective game is based on Nick Oostvogel’s Actions Centered.

Objective: Discover how you can improve an event for the future.
How to Play: Drag icons onto the chart and describe them. There is a different icon for each of the 5 categories: Puzzles – question marks; Wishes – stars; Actions – fists; Risks – bombs; Appreciations – happy face.



Circles and Soup



We have collaborated with Diana Larsen to bring you this retrospective analysis game. Read more on how it works here.
Objective: Form high-quality plans by identifying what is within your control.
How to play: Blue squares represent ideas. Drag them to the circles and describe what they signify. The three circles categorize aspects you control, can influence, and must adapt to.

Learning Matrix


This game from Diana Larsen and Esther Derby’s Agile Retrospectives is great for iteration retrospectives. Read more about it here.
Objective: Think of productive improvements for your iteration.
How to Play: There are four icons representing different aspects of your retrospective analysis: frown face – what you didn’t like; happy face – what you liked; light bulb – ideas you should try; bouquet – people you appreciated. Drag icons to the matrix and describe what they represent.

Merrill Covey Matrix

As described in First Things First, this game helps you productively accomplish your tasks.

Objective: Efficiently prioritize your to-do list.
How to play: Organize your tasks based on their urgency and importance. Simply drag the icons (green squares represent priorities, red squares symbolize tasks that should be minimized) to the chart and describe what to-do items they represent.