Process Design: Make it a Game!

Gameboard template by Virginia Montgomery

Many teams deal with organizing complex processes involving many steps — from supply chains to sales processes. Getting everyone in a room to design a game board can be a great visual thinking tool and a way to clarify the steps of a complicated process, define ownership at each stage and help team members remember steps that are new or have changed.

Game boards are a powerful visual thinking tool, and to “gamify”, or turn a process into a game, focuses everyone’s creative energy on how best to achieve the ideal end-state. Having an a clear goal firmly established helps guide the group through a discussion of how to get there. Designing collaboration tools like a game board can also bring up new and creative ideas around potential short cuts and roadblocks.

ImageThink graphic recorder, Virginia Montgomery, has been learning about game board design as part of AlphaChimp’s training program, That Creative Space. Game board exercises are one tool in the graphic facilitation tool box to help groups see how they can achieve a common goal.

Here are the steps to keep in mind when creating your own game board with a team:

  • As a group, decide on a title for this game board
  • Sketch out where the start and end points of the game are, and the basic path connecting them
  • Ask the group to decide on what the “start” looks like and how to label it
  • Ask the group for ideas on how to label and illustrate the final, ideal state or end goal
  • Decide together what each step is involved between starting and ending — use post it notes to brainstorm so you can move these around before drawing the final positions on the board
  • Discuss as a team if there might be  any “detours”, “fast tracks” or “obstacles” that should be included
  • Finally, commit your final steps to the board and add color to help identify common areas or themes (i.e. red squares for hazards or dangers, green for “go”)
Make sure you take a good photo of the final game board so you can share it with each member of the group. It will provide an effective reminder of the visual thinking process that the entire group has designed, and it encourages a playful approach to moving through the steps.
Which processes in your business might benefit from being turned into a game board format? Let us know in the comments!

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