My Innovation Games Project Box experience

I was lucky enough to attend an Innovation Games workshop facilitated by Luke Hohmann at SDEC12. If you get a chance to attend a workshop facilitated by Luke Hohmann, I encourage you to jump at the chance. I learned as much about facilitating workshops and sessions as I did about Innovation Games. It was fascinating and impressive seeing the attention to detail that Luke gave to every facet of the session. Everything in the session was well-prepared and all the activities reinforced the principles and concepts taught.

I especially appreciated the insights Luke gave into the psychology behind serious games and the methods behind them.

Product Box

In the workshop we were able to try out the Product Box game. We used the idea of Google’s Internet-enabled glasses as a case study for the workshop. We had three separate teams that each designed their product boxes collaboratively and then presented them to everyone else to ‘sell’ them on what they felt was important.  The insights and innovations that were captured from that session were very powerful and impressive.

After the session I was very interested in trying the Product Box game in a real situation.

Project Box

I am currently on a major systems integration project and I thought it would be interesting to use the Product Box game and combine it with the Remember the Future game to hold a retrospective on the current project. We had about 15 attendees that all were on the project in different roles. I spent quite a while trying to frame the question that I thought would allow for the most open thinking and ideas related to the project. I eventually settled on:

“Imagine we have completed the project and it was a huge success. The company is now trying to re-sell the solution we developed. Imagine that the solution could be sold on a store shelf. Design the box that would communicate the strengths and functionality of the product”

The Results



Just like we saw in the workshop, the ideas that were presented we truly original and delivered some insights that were unexpected. Here are a list of some of the capabilities the teams thought were important:

  • Business Rule Based
  • No Assembly Required
  • Made in Canada Solution
  • Low Monthly Fee
  • Low Risk
  • Industry Standard
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Compatible with SAP
  • Easy Integration
  • Cost Effective
  • Standard Interfaces
  • Increased Automation

While some of these items were expected, I was surprised by some of them and also by the items that weren’t there. There was no mention of cost at all. One observation that Luke was that cost usually isn’t one of the first things people focus on, it is usually just about the functionality and capability.


Everyone that attended thoroughly enjoyed the session and they felt they benefited from the ideas generated. Everyone also agreed that this activity would be great to do with the business users at the start of every project to confirm/validate the business requirements and the relative importance of those business requirements. I can’t wait for the opportunity to use the Project Box game as part of a Project Charter meeting. I think it would generate excitement, enthusiasm, ideas, and a shared vision as part of a project charter.

When is the last time a Project Charter Meeting could say that?



Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

One thought on “My Innovation Games Project Box experience”

  1. This sounds like an amazing idea to try out with people within a project, and the stakeholders. The games itself probably make people feel more at ease with contributing their views and let a lot of discussion flow without being scared of others critising them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: