Microsoft word - 61_duin_ice_2009_thetakeover_02.doc

Heiko Duin, Jannicke Baalsrud Hauge, Klaus-Dieter Thoben, Robert Bierwolf BIBA, Hochschulring 20, D-28359 Bremen, Germany Abstract
The generation of breakthrough ideas in the context of disruptive innovation is often driven by accident or othercoincidences. Methodological support is low for this ‘fuzzy front-end’ of the innovation process. This paper showshow the analysis of idea generation methods leads to the concept of a disruptive idea generation game which can beused to stimulate the creativity of participants in the innovation process. The basic concept of the game is to disrupttraditional idea generation methods like brainstorming by a radical change of the overall perspective. This change isaccomplished by introducing to the participants the fact that another enterprise has taken over the own company andcurrent products and services need to fit within that new portfolio. Keywords
Serious Gaming, Disruptive Idea Generation, Innovation Process, Collaborative Innovation The idea generation – or ideation – process is the starting point of each innovation process beforeit concludes into one of the well known stage-gate processes. This part is often called the ‘fuzzyfront-end’ of innovation [Reid and de Brentani 2004] and lacks systematic methodologicalsupport. The European Integrated Project Laboranova develops an Internet-based toolsetsupporting the collaborative generation, management and evaluation of ideas [Duin et al 2008].
Creativity techniques play an important role in ideation embedded in innovation processes. Forinstance, [Schlosser et al 2008] used Creativity Workshops to identify innovative requirements inthe context of a software development project. Another approach to support ideation is theapplication of disruptive serious games like refQuest [Duin, Baalsrud Hauge 2008]. This papercontinues this work and presents the concept of another disruptive game named TheTakeover.
Disruptive Innovation and Breakthrough Ideas The term ‘disruptive innovation’ describes an innovation that is highly discontinuous or ofrevolutionary nature [Thomond, Lettice 2002], which is the opposite of an evolutionary orincremental innovation. The latter type of innovation improves the performance of establishedproducts, services or business models. This is necessary to maintain shares of the mainstreammarkets. On the opposite, radical innovations introduce future technologies or services and aremainly addressed by entrepreneurial activities. They first address a niche market and slowlymove to a mainstream market but then disrupting technology, structure, main players, etc. in thatmarket. A good example are flat screens which first have been used as laptop displays, then asmonitors and nowadays as TV screens. This innovation potential was already anticipated byVeryzer [1998].
There are many processes, methods and tools supporting the incremental innovation process, butthere is no proven approach to manage disruptive innovations. Creativity techniques likebrainstorming support the process of generating many and diverse ideas, but starting with a givenproblem (or frame) ideas are often related to that specific topic. The main challenge in creatingradical new innovations can be characterised as a corporate level ‘mindset’ problem. Manyindividual and relational barriers to radical innovation reflect this and can be categorised asmental barriers [Møller et al 2006].
The ideation phase of an innovation process does not follow a planned standardised way. Often,breakthrough innovations are the result of accidents or other coincidences [Schneider 2006].
Therefore, disruptions in the ideation phase should not be considered as a disturbing factor,instead they might be used in a constructive way to support idea generation. Wolf et al propose a‘Power of Disruption’ workshop to identify and positively use disruptive elements in companyspecific innovation processes [Wolf et al 2007]. Other approaches like the approach behind theIdeGen++ software [Savolainen 1990] use the stimulation of ‘creative accidents’ byrepresentation transformation and the side-meanings of that representation. These examples giveevidence to the assumption that disruption can support brainstorming in the context of ideationprocesses with the objective to generate breakthrough ideas. Therefore, such kind of disturbancesembedded in creativity techniques support the generation of breakthrough ideas for disruptiveinnovation.
There are only a few innovation games available on the market. According to Hohmann [2006]innovation games can be fun ways to collaborate with customers and to better understand theirneeds. However, the games presented by Hohmann so far are not computerised games and theyneed to be played co-located.
There are many known genres of computer games ranging from action games via role playinggames to strategy games. Serious games describe a group of games which are designed not onlyto satisfy entertainment goals of the players, but also to address serious aspects like education ortraining of skills [Kankaanranta, Neittaanmäki 2009]. Generally, all games can be divided intothe groups of collaborative and non-collaborative games [Zagal et al 2006]. The first groupdescribes games where the players play against each other with the objective of winning thegame. The second group consists of games where the players have to cooperate in order to solvea quest or to master an adventure. Having fun is much more important than winning. In such agame, the situation is relaxed and the players can really start to play in the sense of the greatGerman author and philosopher Schiller, who said, “Man is Only Human When at Play” (seeFriedrich Schiller’s “Aesthetical Education of Man” [Schiller 1801]).
The lead question for the development of an innovation game to support idea generation is: Whathappens in the cognition of the involved people when they create a breakthrough idea and whatare the supporting group processes? The objective of the gaming environment is to generate sucha situation which fosters the idea generation. A good computer game is specifically useful,because it provides fun and therefore motivates the player. And finally, a game provides a saveenvironment, where the players are out of the real world. There is no pressure to be successfullike in the real world.
Gaming in this sense means to enter into another situation where fun and enjoyment is atforeground. This could lead to quite relaxed players who are then in a situation where thecognition can work more freely, overcoming mental barriers and supporting the creativity ofdeveloping breakthrough ideas. Because many people consider gaming as engaging andenjoyable, games are specifically useful to create such a relaxed mood in a group of players.
The research approach was a process consisting of four steps as shown in Figure 1. The foursteps were: analysis of the state-of-the-art concerning theories and methods, selection of aspecific method, translation of the method into a storyboard and a general concept, and finallythe technical implementation as a serious game.
Analysis of
Selection of
Figure 1: Research Approach for Game Concept Development and Implementation During the analysis of the state-of-the-art formal idea generation methods have been analysedwhich could be classified either as intuitive or logical methods. The logical methods applysystematic decomposition and analysis of the problem relying strongly on technical databasesand the direct use of science and engineering principles. Examples of this kind of methodsinclude TRIZ and Forward Steps. Intuitive methods on the other hand use mechanisms to breakwhat is believed to be mental blocks. They can further be subdivided into germinal,transformational, progressive, organisational and hybrid methods. Table 1 provides an overviewon idea generation methods based on [Møller et al 2007]. The main focus was put on the rightside of that table because these methods are designed to use or to stimulate the creativity of itsusers.
Logical Methods
Intuitive Methods
 Random Stimuli PMI Method (PMI = Plus, Minus, Interesting) 6-3-5 Method C-Sketch Gallery Method Affinity Method Storyboarding Fishbone Diagrams Six Thinking Hats Synectics Table 1: Overview on Logical and Intuitive Idea Generation Methods The application of idea generation methods in groups still includes some challenges, e.g.
Production Blocking can occur in brainstorming sessions when participants have to wait
for each other. This is the main reason for productivity loss in such set-ups. Some ideasare simple forgotten during the time others present their ideas.
Social Loafing is also a known reason for productivity loss in groups. Members of the
group limit their contributions to a minimum. They are not engaged just wanting to take a‘free ride’. The opposite of social loafing is social recognition.
Evaluation Apprehension occurs when members of the group have the fear that other
people’s evaluation influences the social rewards one would expect. Members refuse toexpress their ideas because they think the ideas are unpopular, political incorrect or justpoorly developed.
On the other hand the set-up of ideation processes within groups has also positive effects, e.g.
Task Orientation. The focussing on a task (developing ideas) instead of e.g. on
socialisation aspects supports productivity. This means, that participants even when theyare engaged in the game, should be clear that they are still doing a task where the qualityof the outcome is more important than the level of fun they have.
Separation of a Task. The sub-division of tasks into sub-tasks also improves
Cognitive Stimulation and Synergy is positively influenced by social interactions
which are stimulated by multi-player games.
Observational Learning supports productivity. Group members learn from each other
imitating best practices seen by others.
Social Recognition. The recognition of good ideas by others stimulates the group
members to produce more. This is comparable with the known high score lists fromcomputer games.
Challenges as well as the supporting factors need to be addressed when designing the concept ofthe innovation game.
The analysis of the idea generation methods mentioned above including the challenges and thepositive effects of group settings did not result in the simple selection of one method to betranslated into a game. Furthermore, some principles of the methods (e.g. perspective change)are combined with the challenges of ideation and integrated into so-called game frames. Thisprocess was guided by a formal method or model; it was done within a group setting ofresearchers involved in the game development. The objective was to create a set of game frameswhich are as much distinctive as possible. The result is a set of four different game frames  Perspective Change: The Takeover. This frame supports a perspective change. Players
of the game are forced to look beyond existing perspectives with the objective to provokeidea generation. The embedding story of that frame is the takeover of the own companyby a larger one. In this situation the participating players have to reframe the productportfolio, production processes, etc. to comply with the new requirements of the newowner. An example of a creativity technique is the “Six Thinking Hats” where theparticipants have to change their perspective to look at a given problem from a differentangle.
Transformation: Idea Evolution. An idea is running through several steps of mutation
following an evolution process. The result is a refined idea. An example of a creativitytechnique is the 6-3-5 method where six participants are delivering three ideas each fiveminutes. The participants are encouraged to base further idea generation on others’ ideasfor inspiration and evolution, thus stimulating the creative process. After six rounds in 30minutes the whole group has generated a total of 108 ideas.
Exploration: Reframing the Question. The general objective of this frame is to provide
a structure for the ideation process by stepwise reframing the problem under consideration. A good example of a creativity technique for this frame is the Synecticsmethod, where the problem is reframed by consequently searching for associated andopposite terms related to the problem under consideration.
Large Group: Idea Swarm. In this frame many people are involved in creating,
assessing and further development of ideas. Players are rewarded, when their own ideasare carried forward by others. A good example of a creativity technique of this group isthe well known brainstorming where one of the main goals is to generate as many ideasas possible.
Frome these game frames, the first one is subject of this paper. Another disruptive innovationgame – named refQuest – is based on the frame ‘Reframing the Question’ and is to be developedusing elements from Gordon’s Synectics method [Baalsrud Hauge et al 2008]. The mainobjective of refQuest is to structure the ideation process by reframing the question.
Based on the selected frame ‘The Takeover’ a general concept including a simple story board isdeveloped. The reason for having a storyboard first before deriving the general game playingconcept is the detection of requirements and the further translation into specifications andimplementation. Developing a game, which is based on aspects of creativity methods, is not thatstraight forward like the development of a business application where the application simply hasto fulfil well known requirements based on a should-be business process defined by end-users.
Within the development of a game based on the “The Takeover” game frame there are no realend-users, and therefore, a storyboard is used to invent fictional end-users who interact with thegame. The storyboard then is used to derive the general game concept.
The result of this step is shown in the next chapter.
Within this step the single elements of the storyboard and the general concept are translated intorequirements which need to be fulfilled by the final game. For each requirement, a specificationand an implementation proposal is worked out. Sample results of this step are shown in the nextchapter.
The game TheTakeover is designed to be an eye-opening facilitated brainstorming game.
Participants are forced to change their perspective on their company, the market opportunitiesand innovation when their company is the victim of a fictional takeover and players have tocreate new ideas for products and markets relevant for their new owners. This narrative createsperspective change and introduces radical new innovation perspectives. TheTakeover is an idealway to start a new innovation process and/or educate employees about strategic innovationperspectives. The game should take 2-4 hours to play.
The game to be developed is not a competitive game but a collaborative game as described by[Zagal et al 2006]. The players work together in a framed approach. While being an interruptionin a traditional ideation process (e.g. brainstorming, see Figure 2) another objective of theconcept of the TheTakeover game is also to include elements of disruptiveness to foster creativitywithin the participating players. Being involved in the game should stimulate the players tocreate breakthrough ideas and solutions concerning the game frame. The steps of the gameplayare shown in Figure 2. The gaming aspect of TheTakeover is realised by awarding points to theplayers (resulting in personal scores) depending on the evaluation and ranking of their own ideas.
Presentation of
Grouping of
Evaluation of
Disruptive Events
Figure 2: The Gameplay Concept of TheTakeover The first step in the gameplay concept is the preparation of the fictional takeover. One of theplayers (or the facilitator) selects a fictional enterprise which is taking over the own company.
Then all group members are informed about the products and services of the new enterprise theyare now belonging to. One or two key products or services should be supported by the owncompanies key competencies. To demonstrate this basic idea consider – as an example – a toyshop which wants to generate ideas to enhance the buying experience and hence to stimulate anincrease in the turnover of the shop. After a group of employees performes a brainstorming onsome concepts, the moderator decides to play TheTakeover. As the facilitator he has prepared anarrative in which the toy shop is taken over by a do-it-yourself superstore. The employees arefaced with the problem to use the toy shop core competencies to transfer toy selling experienceto that superstore. Such a disruption then may result in new ideas which can be transformed to beused in the toy shop again.
In the next step the players select an innovation method which means that they put a specificperspective on the problem. They can e.g. take a technological view or an economical view. Theselected perspective is used by the next step which is a brainstorming session.
Within the brainstorming session of TheTakeover each of the players works on the developmentof their own ideas. They enter their ideas into ideation documents, which are monitored by thegame facilitator who has the option to make the brainstorming process more interesting byinterrupting it to propose thinking into other directions. This is done by the creation and settingof events. From the perspective of a player, an event occurs more or less randomly. Each eventcontains some kind of action command, e.g. all players have to rethink their ideas includinganother perspective. These action commands can also include the request to specific players toclosely exchange on their ideas with the objective of mutual inspiration. The setting of eventsand therefore the disruption in the brainstorming needs to be done by an experienced facilitator.
Otherwise he is narrowing the perspective into a specific direction instead of opening it.
In the next step the single ideas generated in the brainstorming step are grouped (aggregated) intoidea groups by the members of the team. The subject – or heading – of the groups can be definedby the players. Groups can also be subdivided into sub-groups. The members can create anddocument as many groups as they want and they can have as many nested sub-groups levels asnecessary.
During the last step, the ideas are evaluated group by group. This is done by each memberranking each idea within each group of ideas. The game logic calculates an average of the rank of each idea and based on the position of the single ideas each player gets points. Finally, to savethe outcome of the gaming session, one of the players or the facilitator transfers the newlygenerated ideas into an idea repository or some other kind of information storage.
The steps of choosing the innovation method, brainstorming and the grouping of ideas can berepeated for a number of times with the objective to increase the number of ideas and create amore complete view by iterating several perspectives.
Concept / Requirement
Implementation Proposal
by players by setting actions; afacilitator may use events totrigger perspective changes important to move easily be-tween the process steps forwardand backward; but it needs adefined start and end.
Table 2: Examples of Translation of Concepts to Specification and Implementation Proposals The derived concept including the general set-up of the innovation process like working in agroup, facilitation by a moderator, etc. is the basis for generating requirements for the gameimplementation. Table 2 shows some examples of derived requirements based on an analysis ofthe gameplay concept including a rough specification and an implementation proposal.
In order to speed up the implementation process it is worth to use a gaming engine whichsupports the described concepts. Therefore, the technical implementation of the game TheTakeover is planned to use the same gaming engine as used for the refQuest game [Duin,Baalsrud Hauge 2008]. The core of the underlying model is a business process defined for eachorganisation in the game. The process model consists of process steps, which might be executedserially or in parallel. Each process step is of specific type: either a document needs to be filledout or an action needs to be taken. The players are organised in departments mapped onto theorganisations in the game. A facilitator is monitoring the game progress and he can intervene bysetting events. Each completion of a process step updates a set of indicators consisting of time,costs, and quality.
As this engine is under control of the authors, it allows the enhancement of the capabilities of theunderlying gaming engine based on new TheTakeover gaming concepts. The followingextensions to the gaming engine needs to be done in order to implement TheTakeover:  As the gameplay concept foresees multiple executions of a series of process steps – i.e.
the iteration of the steps Choosing of Innovation Method, Brainstorming and Grouping ofIdeas – the players need to have the option to jump back in the chain of process steps.
This will be realised by asking a player after the completion of a specific step whether hewants to continue to the next step or jumping back to specific step. If he wants to do thelatter, he selects the respective step from a list of steps.
 A scoring mechanism needs to be implemented besides the updating of the costs, quality and time indicators. The scores of the players are connected with the ranking of theirideas. Generally, this means that the content of some game documents need to be relatedto some player scores.
 The disruptive elements within the game are realised by events which are set by the facilitator but which occur randomly when seen from the players’ perspective. Theseevents can provide any text, graphics and/or multimedia data, but currently they are stillwithout any consequences. These consequences may be any additional update of theperformance indicators or the jumping back or forth in the process chain or even anincrease of the virtual budgets of the involved player groups.
 To support participating players as much as possible the work with common tools like text editors, spreadsheets or drawing programs the game should integrate an easy to usedocument management system. This would allow the exchange of any kind of documentsbetween the players hence increasing the collaboration intensity between them.
TheTakeover is going to be a multiplayer online game supporting a distributed team in anideation process as part of an innovation process. The game frame is based on perspectivechanges introduced by a fictional takeover of the own company by another one. Disruptiveelements support brainstorming to facilitate the development of new breakthrough ideas.
Future work includes the finalization of the gameplay concept, implementation, testing andevaluation of the game in Living-Labs contexts. The concept is still in a generic phase, furtherrequirements will be detected when concrete narratives are being implemented. As the conceptof TheTakeover has been derived by a specific development process, it is expected that theapplication of that game will be a strong aid in the creation of breakthrough ideas. Nevertheless,the upcoming evaluations will provide an answer towards this hypothesis.
This work has been partly funded by the European Commission through the Project Laboranova under contract No.
IST-FP6-035262. The authors wish to acknowledge the Commission for their support. We also wish to acknowledgeour gratitude and appreciation to all the Laboranova project partners – especially the partner being involved in SP3 –for their contributions during the development of various ideas and concepts presented in this paper.
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