Playing the Game

Preparing for the Game

Selecting the customers who will produce the best results is a common theme throughout the book. In this game, it helps to consider how different customers may be affected by time and then select customers who fit different time profiles. For example, if you're interested in how school schedules impact a parent's use of your product, you may want to include parents who send their children to public schools, parents who send their children to private schools, parents who home school their children, and parents who employ tutors or nannies. Each of these schooling options creates different time demands on parents.

This also means that you must focus your efforts on producing calendars that are specific to the question you're asking. If you're asking customers about their child care needs, you might find that a poster of the school year is the most useful representation of time. If you're asking about their use of athletic gear, you need to match the calendars to the sport.

Make certain that you also hang several blank sheets of paper. Although our use of a product or service is influenced by time, it is also influenced by events. By allowing your customers to record and share key events that motivate or adjust their use of your product, you'll gain greater, richer understanding into their underlying needs.

Give each participant a different colored pen so that you can keep track of which customer made what comment on the posters. If you have more than one person from the same company or family participating, consider giving each of them different colored pens so that you can track each person's contributions.

Give customers a simple way to agree with what other customers say they do with your products. My favorite approach for signaling agreement is to let customers place a brightly colored sticker, such as a gold star or a word like "Yeah" or "Excellent," next to something that someone else has written. Stickers keep the mood fun, and the different words that customers choose provide you with additional opportunities to ask them specific questions regarding why they chose that particular word to signify agreement.


  • Calendars in both normal and large print format. Consider the following time formats:

    • Day-by-Hour (all 24)

    • Week-by-Day

    • Monthly

    • Year-by-Month

    • Year-by-Quarter

    • Seasons

    • Holidays

Figure 2.14. Week-by-Day Calendar

Figure 2.15. Monthly Calendar

Market Events and Market Rhythms

Every market is governed by one-time and recurring events. As you prepare for Start Your Day, consider how you can use market events and market rhythms to better understand your customers. To illustrate, several years ago I tried to start a company to promote financial literacy for children and young adults through specially designed parent-controlled financial services. The company never got off the ground, but the research was fascinating. In this case, I found capturing events that signify increasing financial literacy, such as a child's first purchase or a young adult's first job, as "Life Firsts" helpful. The recurring events mapped into the rhythms of American culture that are present every year, but change based on age. There is quite a difference in how a 10-year-old and 16-year-old boy approaches Valentine's day and Halloween. You may be able to leverage this approach in planning for your use of the game: What are the "Product Firsts" that your customers have in relation to your product and the goals that they are trying to accomplish when using your product? What are recurring rhythms that your customers must address? How does your product help or hinder their efforts? The Internet is a treasure trove of calendar-related information, and you should not have a problem finding good inspiration and supporting information for your game.

Figure 2.16. Life FirstsAge of Financial Decisions

Figure 2.17. Partial List of American Holiday rhythms

Innovation Games(c) Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play
Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play
ISBN: 0321437292
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 144
Authors: Luke Hohmann

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