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Book Review: Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo

This isn’t a new book, it came out in 2010 (almost 10 years ago!) but it is one that should be on your shelf if it isn’t already. Gamestorming takes the many ‘activities’ (for lack of a better word) that we use as leaders and facilitators to do collaborative, creative work. What is wonderful is to have a reference with all of the ‘games’ in one place.

There are more than 80 activities – some may be well familiar to you (e.g., SWOT Analysis and Dot Voting) and others may be new to you (e.g., Staple Yourself to Something or Prune the Future). What is so helpful is the authors have provided a structure for each game:

  • Object of play
  • Number of players
  • Duration of play
  • How to play
  • Strategy

The structure makes it easy to find games that meet your team’s needs and outcomes.

The other thing we really appreciate about the book is the model shared for games which is very much in sync with our Getting to Agreement model. The authors posit that each game has three phases: Open, Explore, Close; the visual they provide is “a stubby pencil sharpened on both ends.” In Getting to Agreement these three phases are Generate/Gather Ideas, Organize/Prioritize, Evaluate/Decide. There is the same flow from a point A to point B, which is the goal or objective for that activity.

If you will be facilitating an hour-long meeting or a day-long workshop, take a browse through Gamestorming. It may provide you with some tools to add to your toolkit and add a spark and fun to the work you’re doing with teams.

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