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The GAME of Innovation

Gamify Challenges, Level Up Your Team, and Play to Win

Author: David Cutler

Contributions: Lance LaDuke

Illustrations: Patti Dobrowolski

Design: Cara Belloso


The GAME of Innovation (McGraw Hill Professional; projected publication November 2021) is a VISUAL book that helps individuals and organizations of all stripes crack life’s complex puzzles. After examining common problem-solving pitfalls (chapter 0), it unveils a flexible, step-by-step approach to building powerhouse processes, working effectively with teams, and innovating the remarkable.


Part A – Gamify Challenges

Chapters 1 - 4

What if you approached organizational challenges as if they were GAMEs of profound consequences? Why not treat them with the discipline, tactics, and resolve of a skilled Olympian? Which problem will you confront? Who forms the team? What will they do? How is victory defined? Take great pains to build meaningful problem-solving processes. This section details four central GAME elements applicable to any dilemma:





What framework?

What conditions? 

What tools?

What process?


Part B – Color Your Perspective

Chapters 5 - 9

Problem-solving is a team sport. Yet even the most devoted puzzlers can lose focus and get off track. Learn a powerful approach to aligning your community and boosting productivity. Five colored lenses—GREEN (Gather), PURPLE (Propose), BLUE (Boost), RED (Rip), and ORANGE (Own)—ensure that everyone is on the same page at a given time. Chapters detail techniques for investigation, ideation, feedback, and committing to one choice at the expense of

a thousand others.

Part C – Play to Win

Chapters 10 - 12

The design of a problem-solving GAME is critical, but only part of the puzzle. Just as important are your people. How are they led? How do they engage? What’s the culture? Shaping both the experience and outcomes, the final section focuses on facilitating effectively, cultivating happy teams, and arriving at the remarkable.


Table of Contents



Got Innovation???

Chapter 0

Problems, Pitfalls, and Play
Why are problems so hard to solve?
  • It’s All Problems

  • 12 Puzzling Pitfalls

  • The GAME of Innovation

Part A – Gamify Challenges


Chapter 1

What framework?
  • Challenge

  • Constraints/Criteria


Chapter 2

What conditions?
  • Puzzlers

  • Period

  • Place


Chapter 3

What tools?
  • Gatherables

  • Gear

  • Gameboards

Chapter 4

What process?
  • Sorts

  • Structure

  • Samples

Part B – Color Your Perspective

Chapter 5

Improve Your Vision
What perspective?
  • Problem-Solving Blindfolded

  • Great Gaming Glasses

Chapter 6

What can be learned?
  • Hunt for Clues

  • LEARN Before Solving

  • Interpret the Data


Chapter 7

What can be imagined?
  • Brainstorming Rules

  • 10 Creative Catalysts

  • Prototyping Innovation

Chapter 8

Blue/Boost & Red/Rip
What works? What's wrong?
  • The Challenge of Feedback

  • 6 Approaches to Critique

Chapter 9

What decision?
  • The Hardest Decision Of All

  • 9 Techniques to Choose From


Part C – Play to Win


Chapter 10

What does it take to lead?
  • The Facilitation Gig

  • 16 Facilitation Techniques

Chapter 11

Happy Teams
What does it take to collaborate?
  • Team Tenets

  • Prickly Personalities

  • Champion Collaboration

Chapter 12

Getting to WOW​
What does it take to win?
  • Dreams First
  • Powerhouse Pitches
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