Eleven exercises for more efficient, productive, and creative meetings.

In 2010 we published Gamestorming, a human-centered design toolkit that’s kind of like a recipe book for teams who want to increase their productive and creative outputs. The book has been a huge hit, selling over 100,000 copies and translated into more than a dozen languages.

There are 87 exercises in the book (and more on the website), but there are a few that we use all the time. I think of these as “core games” for better meeting design. I’m listing them here in a typical order: Setting goals, generating and sorting ideas, expanding and exploring them, making decisions, and getting feedback.

Set goals.

Plan your meeting with the 7 P’s Framework.

Identify stakeholders and clarify goals with WHODO.

Build empathy for stakeholders with the Empathy Map.

Generate and sort ideas.

Generate ideas with Post-Up.

Sort ideas into high-level categories by Affinity-Mapping them.

Create meaningful categories and information architecture with a Card Sort.

Expand and explore the ideas.

Imagine, design, and test an experience with Bodystorming.

Craft a story, record or design an experience, or clarify a process by making a Storyboard.

Prioritize and rank ideas.

Prioritize ideas and converge on an list of top options by Dot Voting.

Prioritize and agree on a single, ranked list of items by Force-Ranking them.

Get feedback.

Generate constructive feedback and learn how you can do better next time, with Plus Delta.

For your next meeting or offsite, try using these core exercises to improve the agenda and see how much more creative and productive your meetings can be.

For more news, tools and tips, subscribe to the Gamestorming newsletter or XPLANE’s xblog.

Dave Gray is the founder of XPLANE and co-author of Gamestorming.

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