Book Review – Gamestorming by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo

Gamestorming is a book about a problem you didn't know you had and a solution that you've unknowingly used since childhood.

When problems have a clear start point and end point, the steps between A and B are very clear. If you need to get groceries, a check of the pantry, writing a list and a trip to the market gets you to your end goal.

But, what if the end goal isn't clear? What if there are a range of possibilities? We face these sorts of problems every day and often try to use the same A to B approach without much success.

Enter Gamestorming. Authors Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo believe we need to use more play in these difficult to define situations. Games as activities can make apparent a variety of possible paths towards the fuzzy goal. The defined space, simple rules, and unpredictable outcomes of games make them ideal for this sort of work. Stringing together a series of different games moves us closer a solution.

Processes are rule-heavy. They prescribe a narrow range of activities and prohibit everything else. Games, on the other hand, are rule-light. In a game, anything not forbidden is permitted.

The book provides over 80 games that can be used in generate ideas, explore ideas, and decide which idea move us closer. The book also describes the qualities games have so that readers can develop their own games to match the situation. Active readers of the creativity genre will see games inspired by Thinkertoys, Six Thinking Hats and brainwriting as well as the authors' commentary on what makes the versions of these games particularly effective.

The first step is understanding many problems lack a clear path to the solution. The second step is understanding you need to use a different set of tools. Gamestorming helps with both.



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