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10 Games To Foster Innovation with Your Team

I believe that projects should be fun.   When projects are fun, people share their best and most innovative ideas.   I am very thankful that my team leader introduced me to the book Gamestorming, a playbook for innovators, rule-breakers and changemakers.     As an agile coach for a software development team, it’s important for our team to learn how to collaborate, support our customers on making judgments about priorities, requirements, and to keep improving the product and the team.   As leaders, how do we encourage innovative thinking that encourages team members to be creative?   If we want creativity, we have to practice this art.    Why don’t we practice this craft of creativity using games?

For a brief introduction to GameStorming by David Gray, check out the following video:

Here are 10 games that I have used with my teams.   For leaders, I hope these games help inspire a spirit of innovation with your teams.

10 Easy Innovation Games

  1. Trading cards - In a learning and innovation environment, it’s important for your players to build rapport with each other.   This is a pretty easy ice breaker game.
  2. Post-up - I really love this device since it helps EVERYONE to contribute. (whether you’re a very vocal person or a quiet thinker)    Post it notes are a simple way of capturing an idea.   This game gives the team silence and space to reflect upon creating new ideas.   Other games can be used to organize those ideas.
  3. Affinity map - In “Post-up”, the primary goal was to capture ideas.  Affinity map encourages your team organize your ideas on a white board or table.  If one idea is very similar to another idea, those ideas should be placed in closer proximity.     This helps you see relationships between ideas.
  4. Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization - For any project team, it’s often useful to consider the question “what should we do that will generate the most value with the smallest amount of complexity?”   This game encourages your project team to arrange ideas on a 2d space.  On one axis, you have complexity.( low to high)   One the other axis, you have value(low value to high value)   By placing ideas on this grid, it’s often easy for your team to spot the next logical steps.
  5. Dot voting - What does your team think we should do?  In this simple game, your team receives 5 dots.   The team places their dot votes next to ideas that they would support.  Voting can also encourage friendly competition.
  6. $100 Test - If we had $100 to spend on the ideas before the team, how would we allocate that money?
  7. Atomize - As we study complex systems, it’s often helpful to decompose large ideas or objects into smaller parts.   For example, as we study cells in biology, this game can be used to help students learn the components of the cell.    If your team is creating something new, this game can help you think about how to break the problem into parts.
  8. 4C’s - As your project team considers creating a new product or service, this game helps your team think about decomposing the problem.
  9. Plus/Delta - This simple game helps the team reflect upon what went really well and what we can improve.   Team reflection and team sponsored improvement can be very powerful.
  10. Actions for retrospectives - This retrospective game is very similar to #9.   In some ways, I like this game more since the team also considers the questions of risk and wishes.    The game also encourages you to make ideas actionable.

You can find more innovation games at the Gamestorming Wiki :


We love to hear from our readers.   What are techniques that help you grow or help grow your team?


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