gamestormingImagine yourself in a meeting: Each point on the agenda is being covered, but there are perhaps only two people doing most of the talking. Others are trying to contribute when the talkers are catching their breath, or basically don’t speak at all. Except for the one that perhaps is presenting, everyone is sitting down taking notes in their notebooks. Have you been here?

I have been in hundreds of meetings like the one described above. Some were good, others not too bad and quite a few made me wonder why I bothered wasting my time being present. How many truly creative meetings have you been in, where you contributed and were positively engaged? Where you left feeling the time was worthwhile and the team achieved a genuine accomplishment?

The book Gamestorming
If you feel like I do, that you really want to change your meetings into engaging, creative and fun sessions, you need to take a look at the book “Gamestorming – a Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers”. Written by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo in 2010, it is a brilliant and fun book.

What will the book do for you?

  • present you with a large selection of methods for brainstorming
  • teach you how to create engaging meeting sessions
  • give you techniques that are easy to understand
  • give you methods that are easy to apply

The authors have collected a wide variety of methods and approaches from innovative professionals that teams and individuals can use to solve a range of complex problems.

This book is meant to help you:

  • break down barriers
  • communicate better
  • generate new ideas, insights and strategies

“Imagination begins with a question” is the foundation of Gamestorming. The book contains more than 80 games or techniques for a variety of different settings and agendas. In addition to having a clear introduction of how to use each game it presents clearly and fun the structure of how the games are configured. Don’t get the idea that this is just play- the book contains methods or games for planning meetings, generating ideas, planning projects and actions, a wide range of problem solving, etc.

Games and Life Scientists
Since this blog is primarily for researchers within life sciences, I will sample a few of the games and demonstrate how you might tailor them for your research meetings. One example is the game called “The Anti-Problem” that can be used when you are stuck and running out of ideas. It challenges you to look at the problem differently from what you normally do. The purpose is to make you think and break out of existing patterns. For example, instead of asking the question: Under what conditions will the kinase phosphorylate the substrate? Ask instead the question: How can we prevent the kinase from phosphorylating the substrate? You will then be challenged to understand the process more thoroughly and from a different angle.

About the Authors
The authors’ backgrounds clearly show their experience with this type of work. Dave Gray is the founder and chairman of XPLANE, a world leading consulting and design firm. Sunni Brown is the owner of BrightSpot Info Design that is specialized in visual thinking. James Macanufo is a consultant at XPLANE and helps technology and government clients develop their vision, strategy and communications plans.

Web Page
A web page has been created where all the games in the book are collected. With this online forum the authors have engaged with a larger community and more games have been added and in addition people leave comments and share their experiences. The webpages also contain several videos and discussions and is most definitely worth visiting.

Please leave a comment below about Gamestorming if you have read it or have other books in this category that you can recommend.