It pleases me significantly to announce, proclaim, and otherwise acknowledge the availability of Junkyard Games, an “innovation simulation” based on my variously named Found Object Tabletop Olympiad, a.k.a. The Junkyard Sports Tabletop Olympiad, et. al.
Many are the insights one could draw from a comparison of the game, and the simulation based on it. You might, for example, have already noted how the “Found Object” component inherent to the concept of Found Object Tabletop Olympiad has been replaced by a cunning collection of pre-found objects. Interesting. By including three identically cunning collections of intriguing objects, the Junkyard Games simulation controls for chance – what each team accomplishes has nothing to do with the objects it has in its collection, and everything to do with the collective creativity of its members.
The instructions in the simulation (developed by Ron Roberts) differ widely from those of the Found Object Olympiad. Again, they help the experience be much more carefully focused on the performance of the teams. Observers record all the ideas that are generated during the brainstorming sessions, and later all the redesigns that are inspired by the first run-through of each of the games. These observations prove instrumental in helping participants focus on the process of innovation (while the Found Object Olympiad game is focused pretty much on whatever strikes participants as being the most relevant to their particular interests. The detailed instructions for processing the experience that are part of the instructions in Junkyard Games further aid in focusing the experience towards the social dynamics and processes that accompany collaboration and effective innovation.
So what you have in Tabletop Olympiad is an open-ended game that is as funny as it is collaborative, that encourages creativity and playfulness, and creates an experience that can be applied to an understanding of many different social processes. And what you have in Junkyard Games is a subset – a focused, carefully managed experience designed to shed light on the unique dynamics of innovative teams. Each is instructive and fun. Each is a valuable, teambuilding experience. Each makes people laugh. Each is something in which I am proud to have had a part.