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Book Review: "Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers"

Henrieta and I always use ‘warm-ups’ (also known as ice breakers) activities in the workshops that we lead. We also make sure that our workshops are interactive, meaning that there is time for sharing and learning from each other, and that there are activities that engage each participant. One of our favorite resources for ideas is the book Gamestorming.

"Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers", written by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo is a wonderful collection of activities that can be used with teams and groups. The activities in this book are designed to foster creativity, create opportunities for collaboration, and inspire fresh ideas.

The chapter on Core Gamestorming Skills is one that I found interesting, I enjoyed the asking questions section where the authors give an overview of opening, examining, experimental, and closing questions. Having good questions can make or break a group discussion. In addition to the basic essentials for building activities the authors have collected over 80 activities that have clear and concise instructions and can be adapted to meet a wide range of needs.

Two of my favorite activities from the book are the Empathy Map where the object is for participants to develop an end user profile utilizing emotional intelligence skills, and the Anti-Problem - an activity to help teams get unstuck by using sticky notes, pipe-cleaners, clay, and more. The game sections in the book are divided into core, opening, exploring, and closing making it easy to find something for a specific need. With the explanation of each game there are also basic visual examples and illustrations to guide the reader.

The book promotes a culture of collaboration and inclusivity. It emphasizes the value of diverse perspectives and encourages active participation from all team members. This enables individuals to feel that they can contribute their unique insights, leading to more innovative outcomes.

I recommend this book to anyone facilitating groups and teams looking for new ways to engage the participants. By blending traditional brainstorming practices with elements of game design, the authors help facilitators enhance communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills within their groups. The games in Gamestorming are easily adaptable with your personal insights and experiences to meet the needs of your specific group.

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