Smaranda Calin's profile

Crossroads - a board game about team interaction

Are you a team player? Or are you more of a lone wolf? Do you believe innovation happens as part of a team? Or do you prefer to contain it to your ivory tower? What is the role of creative tension? How does an individual contribution relate to team dynamics? And what does it all mean for innovation?

Crossroads is a board game developed specifically as a workshop and research tool that explores these questions. The players are provoked to discuss the relationship between themselves, their creative choices and the way it affects the team dynamics and the product that they are building. 2 to 4 team members use specially engineered building blocks to construct a common artifact (always unique) which is meant to represent their innovative product. Depending on their choice of bricks they can work with or against each other. The score then reveals whether they are each lone innovators or team players and provokes a conversation about team dynamics and its effect on the subsequent artifact.
I developed the game together with 5 of my colleagues at SPIRE Research Center especially for the Participatory Innovation Conference in 2011. The design process was a true example of multidisciplinary collaboration and it started with a 2 day gestation period where we were secluded ourselves from the rest of the world and immersed in thinking.
We went through several shapes for the pieces. What we knew was that they had to be different than anything else we had seen before. After some testing sessions, the idea of scoring the pieces differently emerged.
One of the 3 crude prototypes.
The first plastic prototype followed (slightly loose on the edges) and external testing was fast on its way.
We were happy to receive plenty of feedback on the rules - always the most difficult part to nail down. As a result of this test, we decided to add game cards that would interrupt the normal game flow and spice up the experience.
OH, THEY'RE HERE, THEY'RE HERE! 200+ kilos of bricks shipped directly from Latvia, 200 bags shipped from Germany and an endless pile of printouts waiting to be folded. DHL hated us that day! :)
GENTLEMEN, START YOU ENGINES! The games ready for the jumbo workshop at the PINC Conference. It was amazing to see 200 people enjoying an amazing gaming experience and lively discussions all in one giant room. Epic!
Oh yes, it can do that too! Crossroads defies gravity!

Though it works wonders in workshop facilitation, I'm guessing it wasn't the research value that made some of the participants want to take it home. I hear it's a great hit with youngsters :)
Crossroads - a board game about team interaction

Crossroads - a board game about team interaction

Crossroads is a game designed to provoke discussion about team dynamics and its relationship to building innovative products. It was made for the Read More