Innovation Games and Gamestorming goes Vienna

Reflecting on my trip to Vienna…

Stunt pilots

I always considered screaming people in airplanes to be an urban myth, or at least something that dates back to the Wright brothers when planes where flying objects, an experiment and not yet a commodity, I was mistaken. Just before the plane reached Vienna airport we were caught in a heavy storm, although air pockets are very common, they felt more like a beta version of a new roller coaster. People screamed, urban myths vanished.

Self-torture or just addicted to learning?

When companies contact me for an Innovation Games / Gamestorming training such as this one in Vienna, all I need to do is to take the plane, and walk the talk . I have been running this course all over Europe by now and I could probably present the workshop backwards word-by-word in a on-the-spot-made-up language.

Life just can’t get any easier than this! Except that… my brain has a hard time making friends with repetitive work. Without the use of Pomodoros my administration would just pile up to infinity and beyond.

Luckily, Gamestorming is an odd topic, I can give you the one-liner to which everyone nods in agreement, but its a challenge to teach something like collaborative play in such a way that people go from nodding to doing. Teaching how to play games is easy, helping people understand the game mechanics and principles behind it is what takes them to the next level. I can teach you to play a game like Speedboat under 1 minute, but you would not understand the impact of group interaction patterns, and how the human brain constantly tricks you. It’s not about putting a boat and some anchors on a sheet of paper. It’s about understanding and being able to design for innovation which I recently started to refer to as the Art of Ad-hoc Conversations. Games are about moving from point A to B when you don’t exactly know what point B is, it’s about learning to navigate through the complexity, It’s as much about rules as it is about emotions, then I did not even mention the power of meta-models.. Games are designed to unleash the human potential, not much has to do with drawing a boat with anchors on a sheet of paper.

I can teach you to play Speed Boat under 1 minute, in the course we spent 0.5 day on it.

Makes you think… I hope…

Variations, variations, variations, …

In this course I’m both a mentor and a student…

Pick a topic, put 5 people in a room, repeat the exact same scenario with multiple groups, add to that some cultural flavors and different professional backgrounds, and expect not just the result will differ, but the path they choose to navigate from point A to B will differ even more. Now, imagine that for multiple scenarios mostly picked by students themselves, and you get a feel of how it is for me to run this workshop. Be prepared to be surprised!

Like a chess game, you learn the game, the moves, and after a while you start to see the patterns but the real power lies in understanding variations.

Different cultures, different professional background, different room layout, different stuff to play with, … the amount of new patterns I learn on each course is surprising. Routines stop me from learning, routines would stop them from learning.

In this course I’m both a mentor and a student…

There’s no fixed training program when I enter the room, I have a goal and things I want to share. A backlog is created on the wall, student add their expectations, and throughout the length of the course we navigate depending on experience, not just on content but the way the material is delivered and experienced. Will everything be covered? Probably not. Will it be covered the same way I did last time? Probably not.

Collaboration practices are hard, really hard, people that convince you differently just want to sell you a course.

Supporting the local economy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. That sentence doesn’t really work very well for this course does it, all we do is play…

I do try to visit the cities I work in. Meet new people, enjoy foreign kitchen, see new things. I didn’t really check the weather report before I left to Vienna, my mistake!

Vienna in may, when the plane hit the tarmac it was around 14 degrees and heavy rain, I didn’t expected the weather to turn into a +30 degree heat wave for my remaining 3 free days. No shorts, no sandals, only clothes you would wear on a chilly day, so some quick shopping saved the day, although getting everything back in my suitcase was another challenge…

Two suggestions next time you visit Vienna,

Food and drinks at Sofitel Le Loft Restaurant

Culture, Egon Schiele at Museums Kwartier

Let’s my spare you the details how I needed to buy after-sun!!! after my Catamaran trip to Brastislava, wind, water, heat wave… fill in the dots for yourself.

See you next time

Keep an eye on our agenda, before the summer you can still join me in Sweden (here, here), Paris, and Israel. The summer holiday is booked for secret Agileminds plans to change the world, but after that some more traveling…

Take it to the next level

Join us at one of our Gamestorming Training or Gamestorming retreats, where Gamestormers come to play!
Keep an eye on our agenda, in September we got some Lego Serious Play coming to you!

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Categories: Management Innovation


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