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Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play
by Luke Hohmann

Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
September 2006
192 pages

Reviewed by Marc Peabody, October 2006
  (8 of 10)

Meeting customers' needs is at the heart of every business. The businesses that thrive strive to uncover the less than obvious needs while resisting the temptation to bloat their products with unnecessary features.

Guess what? You won't develop great products by simply throwing a bunch of business analysts together and telling them to change the world. A great product addresses what customers need, so talk to the customers. Problem there is the customers often don't fully understand their needs, or at least they might not understand how to prioritize their needs. A little guidance is in order.

Luke Hohmann's Innovation Games introduces 12 games to play with customers so they will make decisions that reveal "true, hidden needs and desires." The book outlines how to facilitate a large event utilizing a few of the games but I think that, for most people, will prove just as effective (and more practical) on a smaller scale.

The book segregates itself into two sections. The second part blueprints the dozen games individually and the first part talks about everything surrounding preparations. The author is very thorough in how to prepare, perhaps to help us avoid bad experiences. I would have been more interested in learning through others' mistakes than through drawn out details on preparatory drudgeries, but that's really the biggest anchor I see on the "Speed Boat".

The games are actually pretty good ideas and I hope this book will inspire more like it. If you're like me and want to have Passionate Users, I recommend engaging in Innovation Games - it will help you to better understand your customers' needs.

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