5 tips for starting an innovation project

The conflicts which we focus on in our Game of Conflicts are the ones that hinder innovators from easily solving their innovation challenge. For this reason, Game of conflicts is ideal for teams who start out on an innovation endeavor. In this post we would like to show you how by providing you with 5 tips for starting an innovation journey.

Tip 1: Fast-forward your project

A race car from the game of conflicts card deck

When embarking on an innovation project it makes sense to get a common understanding within the team. What are we really working on, the team might ask itself.

In projects which are based on a design thinking approach many teams do a so called “fast-forward”: they run through their entire design thinking process in one or even half a day. This way they get a clearer understanding of what the problems might be. Usually, the ideas that come out of such an activity are thrown away afterwards, but what stays is the team spirit and the common understanding what the team really wants to work on. With our Game of Conflicts, you can achieve a very similar result within 1,5 – 2 hours.  

Tip 2: Get a common understanding of the problem

A sticky note with a question mark from Game of Conflicts

Let’s imagine you are working on an innovation challenge around making cars more energy efficient. You can start out by asking yourselves: why is there not an easy answer to this question? The simple answer is because there are conflicts of interest that prevent this from happening. For example, by decreasing the weight of the car you could save a lot of energy, but this would probably also decrease the safety of the car. By playing the game of conflicts with your team, you can identify these conflicts in a playful way and prioritize them at the same time. This gives you the opportunity to analyze the problem space in a short and fun activity. Continuing to work based on this analysis will avoid many misunderstandings in the process that follows.

Tip 3: Get to know the perspectives of your teammates

An illustration of a human head and a brain from Game of Conflicts

Especially when working with a new team where team members don’t yet know each other, it is crucial to quickly learn about each other’s perspectives. While playing the Game of Conflicts the team is constantly discussing about their different perspectives towards the problem at hand. The rather technical parameter descriptions which originate in the TRIZ methodology are contrasted with the illustrations in our game. This stimulates the imagination of each team member. The element of play and friendly competition lead to a fun interaction which offers an easy entry into the topic. The teammates can discuss on a content level, but at the same time do not take their discussion too seriously. This provides the perfect atmosphere for team members to get to know each other and easily engage in conversation. You might consider playing the Game of Conflicts in an evening event preceding a workshop after dinner.

Tip 4: Start out optimistically

A person watching fireworks from Game of Conflicts

Innovation has a lot to do with creativity. But optimism is just as important. Innovators are people who strongly believe that they can find a solution to the problem at hand. If they assumed that a solution was impossible, they would certainly not succeed.

Even though Game of Conflicts focusses on the conflicts which might be difficult to solve, it creates the spirit of optimism. The teams who play it usually have the feeling of having structured the vast problem space better and thus feel closer to finding a solution. Combined with the TRIZ matrix and the 40 solution principles you are one step closer to finding an amazing solution.   

Tip 5: Play, play and – Oh yes! – play!

A hobbyhorse from Game of Conflicts
Finally, those who expose themselves to different perspectives, activities, and opinions are more likely to develop cognitive flexibility and to find creative ideas  Especially if your team is composed primarily of analytical thinkers who might not consider themselves creative, a game that requires its players to translate between abstract problems and concrete parameters will spark their creative juices. In order to find creative solutions you want the team to be in a playful state of mind. Our game of conflicts can set that tone for a project.