Unleashing Creativity and Collaboration: Exploring Gamestorming Techniques for Business | Play to Innovate!


Unleashing Creativity and Collaboration: Exploring Gamestorming Techniques for Business | Play to Innovate!

Gamestorming: Igniting Creativity and Collaboration

Gamestorming is a dynamic approach and interactive approach to problem-solving and brainstorming that leverages the power of games and play to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration within teams. It encourages creativity, collaboration, and active participation from all participants

By incorporating gamestorming techniques into your business processes, you can ignite fresh perspectives, break down barriers, and generate breakthrough ideas. In this article, we will delve into the world of gamestorming and explore some popular techniques along with practical examples.

Popular and most famous techniques of Gamestorming

There are various types of gamestorming techniques that can be used in different contexts.

Here are some of the most famous Gamestorming techniques along with detailed examples and step-by-step instructions on how to do them:

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual brainstorming technique that allows individuals or teams to visually organize ideas, concepts, and relationships. It involves creating a central idea or theme and branching out to related subtopics or thoughts. For example, in a product development session, you can use mind mapping to explore various features, user needs, and potential improvements. By visually connecting ideas, you can identify patterns, uncover new insights, and stimulate creativity.

Here’s how to do it:
  • Start with a central topic or problem in the center of a whiteboard or paper.
  • Encourage participants to brainstorm related ideas and write them down as branches or nodes radiating from the central topic.
  • Expand each branch by adding sub-ideas or details connected to the main idea.
  • Use lines, colors, and symbols to illustrate relationships between ideas and create a visually engaging mind map.

Example: When developing a new product, create a mind map with the product’s core features as the central topic. Each branch can represent different aspects such as design, functionality, target market, and marketing strategies. This technique helps explore various dimensions of the product and uncover new insights.

Role-Playing / Rolestorming

Role-playing involves assuming different roles or perspectives to understand various viewpoints and explore potential solutions. For instance, in a customer service training session, participants can role-play as customers and service representatives to simulate different scenarios and practice effective communication and problem-solving. Role-playing helps build empathy, improves communication skills, and enhances teamwork.

As an example, team members can role-play as customers and employees to better understand customer experience and identify areas for improvement.

Rolestorming is a technique that involves participants assuming different roles to generate ideas from different perspectives.

Here’s how to do it:
  • Define a problem or challenge that needs creative solutions.
  • Assign each participant a role related to the problem. For example, someone can play the role of a customer, a competitor, or a key stakeholder.
  • Participants should think and speak from the perspective of their assigned role, generating ideas and insights based on that viewpoint.
  • Encourage open discussion and collaboration among participants, allowing them to build on each other’s ideas.

Example: In a marketing strategy session, team members can assume the roles of different target market segments. They brainstorm ideas for reaching each segment effectively, considering their unique preferences, needs, and challenges. This technique helps the team think more empathetically and come up with tailored marketing approaches.

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Speed Boat

Speed Boat is a gamestorming activity that identifies obstacles or challenges hindering progress or success. Participants imagine their project or business as a boat and write down the factors weighing it down (the anchors) and the factors propelling it forward (the engines). By collectively identifying and addressing the anchors, teams can find solutions to overcome barriers and enhance project success.

Speed Boat is a Gamestorming technique that helps identify obstacles or challenges that hinder the progress or success of a project, idea, or team.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Set up the activity: Draw a large boat shape on a whiteboard or flipchart paper, leaving enough space for participants to write on it. Label the boat as the project or idea that needs to move forward.
  2. Explain the concept: Introduce the Speed Boat analogy to the participants. Just like a boat that moves through the water, their project or idea needs to sail smoothly towards its destination. However, there may be obstacles that slow it down or threaten its progress. The goal of the activity is to identify and address those obstacles.
  3. Generate obstacles: Ask participants to individually write down the obstacles or challenges that they perceive as hindering the project’s progress. These can be anything that slows down or hampers the project’s success, such as resource constraints, lack of communication, or external factors. Each participant writes their obstacles on sticky notes or directly on the boat drawing.
  4. Share and discuss: As a group, invite participants to stick their obstacles on the boat and briefly explain each one. Facilitate a discussion around each obstacle, allowing others to provide insights, ask questions, or suggest potential solutions.
  5. Prioritize and address: Once all the obstacles are shared, facilitate a group discussion to prioritize them based on their impact or urgency. Identify the most critical obstacles that need immediate attention and brainstorm potential solutions or strategies to overcome them.

Example: Let’s say you’re leading a project team tasked with launching a new product. During the Speed Boat activity, participants identify obstacles such as limited budget, delayed delivery of essential components, and lack of market research. These obstacles are placed on the boat, and the group discusses each one, exploring the underlying issues and potential solutions. Through the discussion, the team may prioritize addressing the budget constraint by seeking alternative funding sources, finding cost-saving measures, or revisiting the project scope. The Speed Boat activity helps uncover potential challenges and engages the team in problem-solving, ensuring a smoother journey towards project success.

Speed Boat enables teams to identify and address obstacles proactively, fostering a collaborative environment where everyone’s input is valued. It encourages open and honest communication about challenges, leading to more effective problem-solving and decision-making. By visualizing the obstacles on the boat, the activity creates a shared understanding and sense of ownership among team members, promoting accountability and a collective commitment to overcoming hurdles.

3-12-3 Brainwriting

3-12-3 Brainwriting is a technique that encourages rapid idea generation in a structured format. Each participant writes down three ideas in three minutes, then passes their sheet to another person who builds on those ideas for another three minutes. This process continues for several rounds, fostering a diverse range of ideas. It promotes equal participation, minimizes dominant voices, and maximizes creativity through the combination and evolution of ideas.

One example of brainwriting is the “6-3-5 Brainwriting” method, where six participants write three ideas each on a sheet of paper in five minutes. The papers are then passed around for further input.

3-12-3 Brainwriting is a Gamestorming technique that facilitates generating a large number of ideas in a structured and collaborative manner.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Set up the activity: Gather a group of participants and provide them with blank sheets of paper or index cards. Each sheet should have three sections, labeled “3,” “12,” and “3” respectively.
  2. Round 1 (3 minutes): In the first round, each participant individually writes down three ideas or solutions related to the given problem or topic in the “3” section of their sheet. Encourage participants to be concise and focused on generating unique ideas.
  3. Pass and build (12 minutes): After the initial three minutes, participants pass their sheets to the person next to them. The next participant reviews the ideas written in the “3” section and, based on those, expands or builds upon each idea by adding more details or variations in the “12” section. The process continues as each participant receives a new sheet from a different person, building on the ideas they see in the “3” and “12” sections.
  4. Round 2 (3 minutes): Once the 12 minutes have passed, participants review the ideas in the “12” section of the sheet they currently have and select three ideas that stand out to them. They write down these three chosen ideas in the final “3” section of the sheet.
  5. Collect and share: Collect all the sheets and compile the ideas from each participant. Share and discuss the ideas as a group, highlighting the most promising or interesting ones.

Example: Imagine you’re conducting a brainstorming session to generate ideas for improving customer service in a retail setting. Each participant would receive a sheet and have three minutes to write down three initial ideas related to customer service in the “3” section. After the three minutes, they pass their sheets to the person next to them, who has 12 minutes to build upon the initial ideas in the “12” section. This process continues until everyone has contributed to multiple sheets. In the final three minutes, participants review the ideas they currently have and select three standout ideas to write in the last “3” section. The sheets are collected, and the ideas are shared and discussed as a group to identify potential solutions or actions to improve customer service.

3-12-3 Brainwriting allows for rapid idea generation and encourages participants to build upon and refine each other’s ideas. It promotes a collaborative and iterative approach to problem-solving, leveraging the collective creativity and expertise of the group. By providing structured rounds and iterations, this technique ensures a diverse range of ideas are generated and considered, fostering innovation and driving meaningful discussions.

Product Box

The Product Box game challenges participants to design the packaging for a new product. They create a physical or digital box that showcases the features, benefits, and unique selling points of the product. This activity stimulates creativity, helps refine product messaging, and encourages a customer-centric approach by considering the product’s value proposition and market appeal.

Product Box is a Gamestorming technique that helps visualize and communicate the key elements of a product or service.

Here’s how to do it:
  1. Prepare a large box: Find a sizable box that can represent the physical space of the product or service you want to focus on.
  2. Identify key elements: Determine the essential aspects or features of your product or service that you want to highlight. These could include functionalities, benefits, target audience, or unique selling points.
  3. Gather materials: Collect various materials such as colored papers, markers, sticky notes, and any other craft supplies that can be used to represent the different elements of the product.
  4. Design the box: Use the materials to create visual representations of the identified elements on the box. You can cut out shapes, write labels, draw diagrams, or use symbols to represent each element.
  5. Arrange the elements: Place the visual representations inside the box in a way that showcases the connections and relationships between the different elements. You can use sticky notes or adhesive materials to attach them securely.
  6. Present and discuss: Once the product box is complete, share it with the team or stakeholders. Walk them through the different elements and explain their significance. Encourage discussions and feedback to gather insights and perspectives.

Example: Let’s say you’re developing a new mobile app. To use the Product Box technique, you would find a large box and gather materials such as colored papers, markers, and sticky notes. Identify key elements of your app, such as user interface, features, target audience, and benefits. Design visual representations of these elements on the box, using colors, shapes, and labels. Arrange them inside the box, showcasing the app’s functionalities, user flow, and unique selling points. Present the product box to your team, explaining each element and eliciting their feedback on the overall concept.

The Product Box technique provides a tangible and visual representation of a product or service, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and engage with its key aspects. It fosters collaboration, creativity, and alignment among team members, allowing them to collectively explore and refine the product’s value proposition. By using Product Box in your ideation and development processes, you can effectively communicate your product vision and facilitate meaningful discussions.

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Concept Fan

The Concept Fan technique helps generate a wide range of ideas related to a specific concept or topic.

Here’s how to do it:
  • Write down the central concept or topic in the center of a whiteboard or paper.
  • Encourage participants to brainstorm ideas related to the concept and write them as branches or fans radiating from the center.
  • Each participant can add their own ideas or build upon existing ones.
  • Expand each branch by adding sub-ideas or details to further explore the concept.

Example: If you’re brainstorming ideas to enhance customer engagement, the central concept could be “customer experience.” Each branch of the concept fan can represent different aspects such as personalized interactions, seamless onboarding, proactive support, and loyalty programs. This technique helps generate a comprehensive set of ideas related to the concept.

Worst Possible Idea

The Worst Possible Idea technique encourages participants to think outside the box by intentionally suggesting ideas that are unconventional or seemingly impossible.

Here’s how to do it:
  • State the problem or challenge to be addressed.
  • Ask each participant to come up with the worst possible idea to solve the problem.
  • Emphasize that no judgment or criticism should be made during this phase.
  • Once everyone has shared their worst ideas, encourage the group to identify any potential insights or creative sparks hidden within those ideas.

Example: In a brainstorming session to improve employee productivity, participants could suggest “eliminating all deadlines” or “allowing unlimited vacation days” as the worst possible ideas. This technique helps challenge traditional thinking and opens up new possibilities.


Storyboarding is a visual technique where participants create a sequence of drawings or images to represent a process, concept, or story. It helps in developing and communicating ideas visually. For instance, a team working on a new product can create a storyboard to visualize the user journey and identify potential improvements.

Storyboarding is a visual technique that helps outline and refine ideas or processes.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Define the objective of the storyboard, such as explaining a concept, illustrating a user journey, or mapping out a process.
  • Create a series of panels or frames on a whiteboard or paper.
  • Fill each panel with sketches, visuals, or written descriptions to represent key elements or steps.
  • Arrange the panels in a logical sequence, ensuring a clear flow of information or actions.

Example: When designing a new website, use storyboarding to outline the user journey. Each panel can represent a page or screen, with visuals and brief descriptions illustrating the flow and interactions. This technique helps identify potential usability issues and refine the user experience.

The SWOT Analysis Game

The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis game involves conducting a structured analysis of a business or project. Participants identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with a specific context. They can use sticky notes or cards to write down their observations and discuss them as a group.

Here’s how to do it:
  • Divide a whiteboard or flipchart into four quadrants labeled Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT).
  • Ask participants to contribute ideas or factors for each category, focusing on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with the topic.
  • Discuss and analyze each factor, considering how they impact the project or situation.

Example: In a strategic planning session, conduct a SWOT Analysis to assess a company’s position in the market. Participants identify the company’s strengths, such as a strong brand and talented workforce, weaknesses like outdated technology, opportunities such as emerging markets, and threats like increasing competition. The analysis helps inform future decision-making.

Crazy Eights

A fast-paced exercise where participants sketch out multiple ideas within a limited timeframe, fostering rapid ideation and encouraging diverse thinking.

Crazy Eights is a popular Gamestorming technique that encourages rapid idea generation and exploration.

Here’s how to do it:
  1. Gather a group of participants: Bring together a diverse group of individuals who can contribute different perspectives and ideas.
  2. Distribute blank index cards: Give each participant a stack of blank index cards or small pieces of paper.
  3. Set a time limit: Determine a specific time limit for each round, usually around five minutes.
  4. Generate ideas: Instruct participants to quickly write down as many ideas as possible related to a specific challenge or topic. Each idea should be written on a separate card.
  5. Pass cards: When the time is up, participants pass their stack of cards to the person on their left or right.
  6. Build on ideas: The new recipient of the cards reviews the ideas written by the previous person and uses them as inspiration to generate new ideas. They can modify, combine, or expand upon the existing ideas.
  7. Repeat rounds: Repeat the process for several rounds, with participants continually building on the ideas of others.
  8. Share and discuss: After the final round, gather all the cards and share them with the group. Discuss the ideas, identify patterns or themes, and explore potential solutions or next steps.

Example: Let’s say you’re running a brainstorming session to generate marketing ideas for a new product. Each participant receives a stack of blank index cards. The first round begins, and everyone writes down as many marketing ideas as possible within the given time. Once the time is up, they pass their cards to the person next to them. In the subsequent rounds, participants build upon the ideas they received, adding their own creative twists and variations. After several rounds, you collect all the cards, and the group discusses the ideas, selecting the most promising ones to pursue further.

Crazy Eights is a fun and fast-paced technique that encourages participants to think quickly and explore a wide range of ideas. It stimulates creativity, collaboration, and the generation of innovative solutions. By incorporating Crazy Eights into your brainstorming sessions, you can spark new insights and uncover unique possibilities for your business.

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SCAMPER: SCAMPER is an acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, Eliminate, and Reverse

It is a technique that helps generate new ideas by applying these different thought prompts to an existing product, service, or process. Here’s how to do it:

  • Choose a specific product, service, or process as the focus.
  • Go through each prompt (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, Eliminate, Reverse) and brainstorm ideas by applying that prompt to the focus.
  • Encourage participants to think creatively and come up with unique possibilities.

Example: If you’re looking to improve an existing product, participants can apply SCAMPER prompts. For example, they may suggest substituting a material with a more sustainable alternative, combining two features to create a new functionality, adapting the product for a different target audience, or eliminating unnecessary components to streamline the design.

The Empathy Map

The Empathy Map technique helps teams gain a deeper understanding of their target audience or customers.

This technique helps teams develop a deeper understanding of their customers or users by exploring their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and experiences.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Set up the activity: Create a large Empathy Map template on a whiteboard, flipchart paper, or digital collaboration tool. The template consists of four quadrants labeled “Says,” “Thinks,” “Feels,” and “Does.” Leave enough space within each quadrant for participants to write or draw their observations.
  2. Define the target persona: Identify the specific customer or user persona you want to understand better. This persona represents the intended audience or the person you’re designing a product or service for.
  3. Fill in the quadrants: As a group, start by filling in the “Says” quadrant. Discuss and write down the things the target persona says, such as their expressed needs, desires, or pain points.
  4. Move to the “Thinks” quadrant: Shift the focus to the internal thoughts and perspectives of the target persona. Discuss and capture their thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, or goals.
  5. Explore the “Feels” quadrant: Delve into the emotional aspect of the target persona. Discuss and identify the emotions they might experience in different situations related to your product or service. Consider their frustrations, motivations, fears, or joys.
  6. Capture the “Does” quadrant: Lastly, discuss and record the observable behaviors or actions of the target persona. What do they do in specific situations? How do they interact with products or services similar to yours?
  7. Analyze and synthesize: Once the Empathy Map is filled with observations and insights, review the information as a group. Look for patterns, commonalities, or key insights that emerge from the different quadrants. Discuss the implications of these findings for your product or service design.

Example: Imagine you’re developing a mobile app for fitness enthusiasts. During the Empathy Map activity, the team identifies that the target persona “Says” they struggle to track their progress accurately, “Thinks” that a personalized training program would be helpful, “Feels” motivated when they achieve their fitness goals, and “Does” exercise regularly but lacks accountability. These insights provide a deeper understanding of the user’s needs, motivations, and pain points, helping the team design features and functionalities that address these aspects effectively.

The Empathy Map allows teams to step into the shoes of their customers or users, fostering empathy and generating insights that drive customer-centric solutions. By exploring the different dimensions of the target persona’s experiences, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, teams gain a holistic understanding of their users’ needs and can design products and services that truly resonate with them.

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Dot Voting

Dot Voting is a Gamestorming technique used to prioritize ideas, make decisions, or reach a consensus within a group. It provides a simple and visual way for participants to allocate their votes and indicate their preferences.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Generate ideas: Begin by generating a list of ideas or options that need to be prioritized or evaluated. These can be solutions to a problem, potential features for a product, or any other set of choices.
  2. Set up the voting process: Create a visual display of the ideas, such as a whiteboard, poster, or sticky notes on a wall. Assign a specific number of dots or stickers to each participant. For example, you can give each person three dots to distribute.
  3. Vote on the ideas: Instruct participants to place their dots next to the ideas they prefer or find most valuable. They can distribute their dots in any way they choose, such as placing multiple dots on one idea or spreading them across different ideas.
  4. Tally the votes: Once all participants have cast their votes, count the number of dots received by each idea. This provides a quantitative measure of the group’s preferences and helps identify the most popular or favored ideas.
  5. Discuss the results: Review the voting results as a group. Discuss the ideas that received the most votes and those that received fewer votes. This discussion can help uncover insights, clarify the reasoning behind certain choices, and facilitate decision-making.
  6. Take action: Based on the voting results and the group discussion, determine the next steps. You may choose to prioritize the ideas with the highest number of votes, explore further the ideas with potential but fewer votes, or take a combination of approaches depending on the context and goals.

Example: Imagine a team is brainstorming ideas for a new marketing campaign. After generating a list of potential campaign strategies, they use Dot Voting to determine which ideas should be given priority. Each team member receives three dots and places them next to the ideas they believe will be most effective. The team then tallies the votes and identifies the top three ideas based on the highest number of dots. They further discuss these ideas, considering their feasibility, impact, and alignment with their marketing objectives, before deciding on the final campaign strategy.

Dot Voting provides a democratic and inclusive approach to decision-making. It allows every participant to have a say and visually represents the collective preferences of the group. By using Dot Voting, teams can effectively prioritize options, identify consensus, and focus their efforts on the ideas that have received the most support from the group.

Conclusion: Gamestorming techniques provide an engaging and collaborative framework for unlocking creativity, enhancing problem-solving capabilities, and fostering innovation within business teams. By incorporating activities such as mind mapping, role-playing, speed boat, brainwriting, and product box, organizations can create an environment that encourages active participation, sparks fresh ideas, and drives meaningful outcomes. Embrace the power of gamestorming to tap into the collective intelligence of your team and pave the way for success in today’s competitive business landscape.

Photo credit: QuinceCreative via Pixabay

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