Innovation is important for every company. It ensures that you are ahead in the market and that you make the life of your customer a little better. There are all kinds of techniques and tools to stimulate innovation. One of these tools for innovation will probably not be the first to come to mind: serious games. Why? Innovation requires creativity, and serious games are an ideal tool to stimulate the creative mind. In addition, games can also help in the adoption of new innovation. In this article, we explain how this works.

Innovation is not a function, project, or job. It is a way of thinking. It can be difficult to encourage innovation among your employees or your target audience, for example. People might say that it won’t work anyway, or that they don’t see the added value. People must be willing to think outside the box and be given the space to do so. A quote from Albert Einstein describes this well: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”. Innovating in between while doing your job does not work. Innovating at your office probably won’t either. So how does it work?

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

– Albert Einstein

Games can help to innovate and to get all the important stakeholders involved in an innovation process. Whether that is the management, the employees, or the target group for the innovation. There are several reasons why games are effective for innovation. An article by Cutter Consortium on serious games for innovation explains this.

The article describes serious games as a “magic circle” in which players temporarily set aside their normal behavior in interactions to accurately share what they really care about. This allows innovators to clearly assess whether the innovation is doing what it is supposed to do. Serious games come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a long game time is needed to achieve the desired effect, and for other purposes, short levels are a better option. However, according to Cutter Consortium, all serious games have the same important factors. Serious games are:

  1. Unique: the games contain a clear structure and storyline, but players can step into a different world than usual for a moment.

  2. Result-oriented: serious games have clear objectives and results can be measured well. In this way, it can be checked whether the game delivers the desired result.

  3. Time-bound: the amount of time to develop an innovation is often limited. Games have a specific starting and ending point where players can contribute to a fast and successful innovation.

  4. Accessible: serious games are accessible to everyone. They can be played anywhere and everyone has an equal say.

  5. Engaging: serious games are fun! They are able to captivate longer than, say, a brainstorming session about an innovation. For the same reason, it is also possible to get more people involved in the innovation process at the same time.

An example of a serious game to stimulate innovation is Lean Scene Investigation (LSI). Innovations always starts with an objective. Yet it can be quite difficult to come up with a good objective. In the LSI game, formed groups in different rounds carry out actions to finally formulate a clear objective. During the game, there are numerous interactions between the players. In a fun way, it becomes clear where the players agree or disagree.  In an open conversation, all participants are involved and all aspects of the objective are highlighted.


Want to know more about serious games and how they can help for your innovation project? Please contact Tim Laning for an informal meeting: