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We are Lean and Agile offer a number of Lean and Lean StartUp games to help share knowledge in a fun and effective way.

We focus here on Playing Lean 2

We offer a number of options for lean games to teach many aspects of Lean, Kata and Lean Startup

In these fast moving and extremely competitive times, innovation is the life blood of any company but their ideas don’t always succeed. Organisations large and small are using new methods to innovate faster, and they’re finding that the Lean Startup method helps them improve their odds of success.
First described in the best-selling book by Eric Ries, Lean Startup is now a movement that is transforming how new products and services are built.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for new ways to boost innovation in your business, a startup founder who would like to learn from experienced trainers about Lean Startup methodology and how to start a startup, or maybe an individual who would like to change how products are built and sold or working on innovative ideas then Playing Lean Workshop is just the thing for you!

Playing Lean is an educational board game which facilitates learning of the Lean Start-up principles through gamified experience. You get to experience the effect which Lean Startup can have on your business in a fun and competitive way. You get to play a game, have a lot of fun and still call it work!
You will learn Lean Startup fundamentals such as: MVP – Minimum Viable Product, Build-Measure-Learn cycle, How to use Validated Learning, Testing your assumptions and the importance of Experiments, Pivoting and many more.
After the workshop, you have an overview of the method, a handle on the most important concepts and a fully described, personalised experiment to take home and try in your organisation.

Gamification and the Lean Startup methodology (LSM) have become buzzwords in academic literature, entrepreneurship and business practices worldwide.

Please contact us to here about more options for game based learning to suit your organisations needs.

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How Playing Lean employs Gamification Theory

In Playing Lean (PL) Gamification theory is used in a range of ways; storytelling, use of facilitator/instructions, social learning, motivation and reward structures are all elements utilised in PL and inspired from the field of Gamification. PL uses storytelling both as the contextual setting of the game, as a social media case, and by using experiment cards (EC), as well as being represented when facilitators accompany ECs with stories and use own or known business examples to elaborate on topics.

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Karl Kapp (2012) argues that there are four advantages to abstracting reality through gamification, all represented in PL

  • Firstly, it engages players in Lean Startup experiments without having to design the experiments themselves, complexity is reduced and an overview of the Lean Startup arena is provided.

  • Secondly, regarding identifying the cause-effect relationship, in reality it could take months or years before experiencing the effects of feature creep or technical debt, while in Playing Lean it becomes evident after a few turns in the game.

  • Thirdly,the time it takes to play the game varies between two to three hours, thus time consuming elements like sleeping and eating are eliminated, ensuring that the essence of the game (learning, having fun and interacting) is the main focus for the players.

  • The fourth point regards the time spent to learn complicated processes. To start a business and conducting experiments at different stages in the product adoption cycle can be overwhelming and take a long time; Playing Lean simplifies this process and shortens the time span, as well as eliminating the potential disturbing element of risk inherent to starting a business since it is a game.

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How Playing Lean Conveys The Lean StartUp Methodology

The game elements are interlinked with Lean Startup Methodology by design and can be portrayed by eleven key concepts related to Lean Startup Methodology and how the board game conveys those concepts through the gaming experience. These are also used to measure the Lean Startup Methodology learning outcome of the game.

The Lean Startup Methodology as a whole is represented throughout the game in various elements, such as the Experiment Cards, the choices one takes each round, realizing the value of experimenting on customer demands and making a customer sale based on building a product meeting those demands, and experiencing the need to alter the product according to increasing and varied customer demands.

The key concepts covered include:

  • The aspect of the Build – Measure – Learn cycle is addressed by the players drawing an Experiment Card is building an experiment, looking at the face of the Customer Tile is measuring and drawing conclusions about the market on the Innovation Accounting sheet is learning

  • The concept of pivoting is explicitly mentioned in several Experiment Cards. Some players will also have experienced having to change their product a lot during the game

  • This is a pivot ”Get out of the building” is a lesson in the game. Players can’t plan their products in isolation and guess who to sale to, they must ”get out of the building” and do experiments with customers

  • The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is represented on many of the Experiment Cards. It is also implicit in the game mechanics, since players build a small product to hit the market in the beginning. This product must invariably grow towards the end of the game, and is no longer ”minimal”. Furthermore, MVP interviews are also covered in the Experiment Cards

  • Innovation Accounting is represented directly by the tear sheets that players note customer preferences on. Like in real life, if you do this job poorly, then the outcome will be bad

  • The concept of Fast Iteration is covered by the increasing building cost and the remove function on the Company Board’s product building section, rewarding teams that recognise the importance of removing product features due to increasing costs

  • Playing Lean also addresses the aspect of Technical Debt. The price of building a new feature increases (exponentially) with the complexity (number of features) of the product. Keeping the product “Lean” without excess features is a good strategy

  • The concepts of Problem/solution and Product/market fit is explicitly enforced in the game, since you cannot move to the next level (yellow, orange, etc) without getting a customer on the previous (a ‘fit’)

  • Scale-ability and timing is represented by the game board and in building the product on the Company Board. Players should note that the experiments are very different in the red scaling phase than in the green and yellow phases. Game strategy will also be more focused on building the right product quickly, be the first to “cross the chasm”, and avoid Premature Scaling

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