Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play

Luke Hohmann  
Total pages
August 2006
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Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play
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Table of Contents

About the Author    xix

Foreword    xxi

Preface    xxiii

Acknowledgments    xxix

Part One: The Why and the How of Innovation Games    1

Part Two: The Games    47

Prune the Product Tree    48

Remember the Future    56

Spider Web    62

Product Box    68

Buy a Feature    76

Start Your Day    84

Show and Tell    92

Me and My Shadow    96

Give Them a Hot Tub    102

The Apprentice    106

20/20 Vision    110

Speed Boat    118

Part Three: Tools and Templates    127

Conclusion    151

Index    153

Back Cover

Innovation Through Understandingsm


The toughest part of innovation? Accurately predicting what customers want, need, and will pay for. Even if you ask them, they often can’t explain what they want. Now, there’s a breakthrough solution: Innovation Games. Drawing on his software product strategy and product management consulting experience, Luke Hohmann has created twelve games that help you uncover your customers’ true, hidden needs and desires.


You’ll learn what each game will accomplish, why it works, and how to play it with customers. Then, Hohmann shows how to integrate the results into your product development processes, helping you focus your efforts, reduce your costs, accelerate time to market, and deliver the right solutions, right from the start.

  • Learn how your customers define success
  • Discover what customers don’t like about your offerings
  • Uncover unspoken needs and breakthrough opportunities
  • Understand where your offerings fit into your customers’ operations
  • Clarify exactly how and when customers will use your product or service
  • Deliver the right new features, and make better strategy decisions
  • Increase empathy for the customers’ experience within your organization
  • Improve the effectiveness of the sales and service organizations
  • Identify your most effective marketing messages and sellable features

Innovation Games will be indispensable for anyone who wants to drive more successful, customer-focused product development: product and R&D managers, CTOs and development leaders, marketers, and senior business executives alike.


Luke Hohmann is the founder and CEO of Enthiosys, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based software product strategy and management consulting firm. Luke is also the author of Beyond Software Architecture: Creating and Sustaining Winning Solutions and Journey of the Software Professional: A Sociology of Software Development. Luke graduated magna cum laude with a B.S.E. in computer engineering and an M.S.E in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. While at Michigan he studied cognitive psychology and organizational behavior in addition to data structures and artificial intelligence. He is a former National Junior Pairs Figure Skating Champion and American College of Sports Medicine certified aerobics instructor. A member of the PDMA, ACM, and IEEE, in his spare time he enjoys roughhousing with his four kids, his wife’s cooking, and long runs in the Santa Cruz mountains (because he really does enjoy his wife’s cooking).