Game-storming: Think in action to boost creativity

Game storming – The ten essentials by Gray, Brown and Macanufo (click image for downloading PDF)

Games are a perfect mechansim for organizing collaboration, creativity and networking. The structured, scalable and social format allows to deal with complexity, wicked problems and uncertainties in a very flexible and thought-provoking way. The approach builds a real-world system in which insights and opportunities can be generated and strategies can be tested.

Methods and approaches to work with complexity and wicked problems have been germinating since the 1970’s. In the early years of design management the discipline was strongly influenced by system science and the emergence of a design science (e.g. blooming period of design methodologies in Germany, USA and Great Britain). Two main issues were discussed in the Anglo-Saxon literature (e.g. Farr, Rittel), the methodological studies (e.g. HfG Ulm, Christopher Alexander) and theories in business studies:

  • How to develop corporate systems of planning aims?
  • How to solve problems of methodological information processing?

Games in design are derived from this methodologies and have emerged already in 1987. Habraken and Gross

[1] have developed a set of ‘concept design games’, which were used in design commnunities as a research tool in the built environments. The aim of this games was to improve the development of buildings and urban environments.

Over the time games in creativity and design have been addressed regulary. The authors Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo present a collection of different games for creative thinking and innovation in their book “Game storming – A playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers”. This book should have a place on the desk of every design manager who facilitates creativity and innovation workshops. Additionally a growing number of games can be found in the wiki of their website:

[1] Habraken H J and Gross M D: Concept design Games (Book 1 and 2). A report submitted to the National Science Foundation Engineering Directorate, Design Methodology Program. Department of Architecture, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139. 1987.