Playing Games at the Departmental Meeting

27 Jul

Last week I had the opportunity to chair the departmental meeting. This meeting is essentially a chance for staff to catch up with what is going on within the department, with updates from the director and senior management.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the meeting however, is the team exercise/event that occurs after the departmental updates. This usually involves something creative, either an amazing video from YouTube or some sort of group game. Last week, I decided to play a game, one that would be both engaging and appeal to the competitive side of the department.

So I picked up the book Gamestorming by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo and started to scroll through the table of contents. Eventually I settled on the “Challenge Cards” game. The idea of the game is to identify and think through challenges with a product. You have two teams. One team, the “solution” team brainstorms features and strengths of the product. The other team, the “challenge” team brainstorms potential problems with the product. Both teams write their solutions/challenges down on an index card.

The game starts by picking an index card from the “challenge” team pile. The “solution” team must pick a card from their deck that addresses the challenge. If they have the solution they get a point, and if they don’t the “challenge” team gets a point. You continue until you reach a natural conclusion.

For the departmental meeting, I decided that the product should be hosting the Olympic Games. It was a topic that wasn’t work related but was topical and people could relate to (the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games were only 2 years ago). I split the department into two teams (“solution” vs “challenge”) and let the games begin.

The game itself was a lot of fun, and people were really engaged (as well as competitive). However, what I found most fascinating were the range of challenges as well as solutions that the teams identified. It demonstrated to me a depth of critical thinking, as well as creativity sometimes lacking in our regular work related brainstorming meetings.

As such, I hope the playing of the “Challenge Card” game has planted a seed within the department. Perhaps we need to rethink our regular brainstorming meetings and start “gamestorming.”


2 Responses to “Playing Games at the Departmental Meeting”

  1. rch150 July 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    This Challenge Game sounds great – so much better than the old “consensus games” everyone used to use. This so clearly links critical thinking to the workplace that the facilitator would not have to make those connections for the group at all. That always takes away from the learning a little – not a problem in this case – love it!

    • mannis2 July 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Thanks for your comment. You are absolutely right. The facilitator doesn’t have to make those connections, the learners do. In a way, the facilitator gets out of the way so the learning can happen.

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