Gamestorming by Gray, Brown and Macanufo has the slugline ‘A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers’ and it lives up to its rather lofty ambitions by providing solid and systemised routines that can be implemented to create an environment for innovation. The book provides a recipe-like guide to a wide (100 or so) variety of exercises and scripts for groups of individuals to employ to open up the flood gates for the free flow of ideas, breaking through impasses and generally making great things happen.
The books starts with many of the standards — affinity diagrams implemented with stickynotes, to imagineering exercises such as forced rankings and storyboarding. The introduction discusses the general theory of how making play is how we can effectively accomplish serious business objectives. The process of moving from A (and identifying where one wants to go) is presented in a number of different ways so as to find the appropriate ways in which people can perceive a process for themselves. The techniques inherent in working with groups effectively in in presenting innovative of quirky exercises are treated thoroughly in order to provide the foundation for effective delivery and execution.
The treatment is as one might imagine light — there are a lot of exercises contained and the authors can only go into a limited amount of detail on each. The variety is quite diverse. The detail is sufficient to get you started and then letting leaders play them out as might suit the occassion. Diagrams are sprinkled throughout that enhance and certainly lighten the presentation. Having used many of these in the past I would wish for more discsussion and possible variations on some to really explore how particular exercises might be most effectively played and what issues might arise and how best to deal with these. The cases presented towards the end of the volume are good on-the ground examples of how games can be chained and combined and give some example of how gamestorming fits into the business environment.
Despite my personal desires for more discussion, I would heartily recommend this book. It is not a linear read, but is it very easily approachable and a very useful tool to add to the manager’s bookshelf.