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Innovation Games Celebrates Ten Years with Summit in Santa Clara

by Todd Charron on Jan 23, 2013 |

Innovation Games®, founded by Luke Hohmann, have been using games and play to solve serious organizational issues for ten years now.

To celebrate, they're putting on a Summit this week in Santa Clara, CA where those who have been using Innovation Games® in their work will be gathering to share their stories and learn from each other.

In addition to Luke Hohmann speaking on Ten Years of Innovation Games, the event will also feature Alexander Osterwalder, one of the authors of the book Business Model Generation, speaking on Strategy as Play and Tom Grant, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research will tell the participants how It's Time to Change the Rules of Work.

InfoQ had the chance to ask Luke a few questions prior to the event and here is what he had to say,

InfoQ: What is the Innovation Games Summit?

Luke Hohmann: The Innovation Games Summit is a global meeting of people who are using Innovation Games to create, market, and sell products and services. Sponsored by forward-thinking organizations, we'll have presentations from companies like NetApp, Cisco, Adobe, Serena Software, John Deere and Kaiser Permenente, on topics ranging from sales and market research to Agile product development.

InfoQ: Why did you decide to put the Summit together?

Luke Hohmann: For 10 years, we’ve been changing the way the world does work, helping organizations large and small put their ideas to action through Innovation Games. We thought it was time to celebrate our decade of success, discuss plans for the future, and have fun learning and sharing with people who are quite literally changing the world.

Another reason we're holding the Summit [this] week is that Every Voice Engaged, our non-profit foundation devoted to improving civic engagement through our games, is going to be producing our largest ever Budget Games session for the City of San Jose, CA on Jan 26th. By holding the Summit before the conference we were able to recruit a large and extraordinarily talented group of Certified Facilitators who will be providing pro-bono facilitation services to the citizens of San Jose.

InfoQ: What can people expect from the Summit?

Luke Hohmann: There are three primary things attendees can expect. First, they can expect presentations on how games are actually used in large organizations. For example, Rackspace is giving a presentation on how Rackspace has adopted Innovation Games across their company, while NetApp and Serena Software are giving presentations on how games are used in sales. Second, they can expect forward-thinking presentations from consultants like Michele Sliger who will be discussing how to use Innovation Games to create corporate strategy. Third, they can expect a lot of play and a lot of surprises, including a great opportunity to collaborate with our development team on some breakthrough designs they're creating for the next major release of Innovation Games Online.

InfoQ: Alexander Osterwalder is giving a keynote at the event. What makes him a natural fit for the conference?

Luke Hohmann: A Certified Innovation Games Facilitator, Alexander is a pioneer in the use of visually compelling frameworks that enable organizations to make complex problems. As the creator of the Business Model Canvas, Alexander has helped hundreds of thousands of people make better business decisions. We're very honored that Alexander is joining us this week.

InfoQ: You're launching a certification program along with the Summit. Tell us a bit more about that.

Luke Hohmann: We're really excited about this program! In September of 2012, we had a Customer Advisory Board meeting with our largest customers, including Cisco, Adobe, Reed Elsevier, Rackspace, Avaya, Alacatel-Lucent, vsp, and the City of San Jose (representing our philanthropic foundation Every Voice Engaged). Our customers told us that they are using the games in increasingly sophisticated ways, with dozens to hundreds of players in events produced around the world. Players of these games include employees, customers, and strategic partners.

To accommodate the growing use of the games, our customers have asked us to create a Certification program that will help them identify the best Facilitators, and, over time, the best Players for their game. To ensure we were creating a program that is based on sound principles of performance, we partnered with the Serious Games Design program at Michigan State University. The result is a very exciting program in which proven experience in facilitating and producing games earns you a higher ranking. This ranking, in turn, will be used by our customers to help them accomplish their goals. There is a lot more detail about the program that we'll be releasing at the conference and on our web site.

InfoQ: For those who can't attend in person, is there way to learn more about what's going on at the conference and where they can learn more about the certification program?

Luke Hohmann: We're very happy that InfoQ will be at the conference, and we recommend that people who want to learn more about the conference visit InfoQ as results are posted. For real time updates, our conference hashtag is #igsummit. The Certified Facilitator Program hashtag is #CIGF. And the hashtag for Innovation Games is #innovgames. We'll be encouraging attendees to tweet and post items in real time.

Stay tuned for more coverage from InfoQ on the Innovation Games® Summit.

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