Innovation games are potent tools to foster creative thinking and team synergy, all wrapped up in fun and excitement. Check out our list of 10 must-try innovation and creativity games to play with your friends, family, and students!
Why innovation games?
Innovation games are not merely a source of amusement or a break from routine. They’re strategic exercises designed to stimulate creativity, encourage problem-solving, and cultivate a collaborative spirit within teams. When deployed effectively, these games can catalyze groundbreaking ideas and innovative solutions that elevate your business.
Looking for entrepreneurship games? See our list of some of the best entrepreneurship games to play.
Top 10 innovations games to spark creativity in your team
Embark on a journey of exploration and creativity with some of our favorite innovation games. Each one serves a unique purpose, from enhancing communication skills to fostering team synergy, all while injecting a dose of fun into the work environment.
1. Products: The Card Game
Products: The Card Game is a creative odyssey that unleashes your team’s imagination. Pretend you’re in a shark tank and sell your family on your big new idea!
- How to Play: Create genius or hilariously horrible products, then pitch your glorious inventions to friends and family. The game includes 180 Features (blue cards) and 70 Products (white cards) for infinite replayability.
- Benefits: This game sparks innovation and inventiveness by challenging players to create unique and imaginative products. It fosters team synergy, making it perfect for a game night with friends, a class activity with students, an icebreaker to start a business meeting, and more. Includes rules with three unique ways to play, invent, and win.
2. Reverse Charades
Reverse Charades turns the classic game on its head, making teamwork the show’s star. In this entertaining twist, the team acts out a word or phrase while one enthusiastic individual takes the guessing stage.
- How to Play: In a twist on the traditional game, the team acts out a word or phrase while a single person tries to guess it.
- Benefits: This game promotes teamwork and allows everyone, even the quieter team members, to shine in the spotlight and express their creative instincts.
3. Word Association
Word Association is the linguistic playground where creativity knows no bounds. Dive into a world of spontaneous connections and quick thinking as players link words in a rapid-fire exchange. It’s not just a game of vocabulary; it’s a mental sprint where wit and imagination reign supreme.
- How to Play: Start with a random word. Each participant takes turns saying a word associated with the previous one. The game continues until only one participant remains.
- Benefits: This game sharpens mental agility and enhances the ability to communicate succinctly, paving the way for effective collaboration.
4. Improv Hero
Improv Hero is where spontaneity takes the spotlight and creativity steals the show. Dive into the world of unscripted hilarity and quick thinking as players become the heroes of their own impromptu stories.
- How to Play: Split the team into pairs or small groups and assign them a random scenario or prompt. The teams must improvise a scene based on the given scenario.
- Benefits: This game encourages quick thinking and teamwork as participants build upon each other’s ideas to deliver an entertaining performance.
5. Quick Fire-Debate
Quick Fire-Debate is the intellectual battleground where opinions clash, and ideas ignite in a rapid-fire exchange of wit and wisdom. Engage in spirited debates on various topics, challenging your team to think on their feet and articulate their perspectives with finesse.
- How to Play: Select a thought-provoking topic and divide the team into two groups: one supporting the topic and the other opposing it. Engage in a lively 1-minute debate, where participants use their creativity and persuasive skills to make their case.
- Benefits: This game sharpens critical thinking skills and boosts confidence as team members express their arguments with creativity and flair.
Looking for more activities with invention education? Check out PBS’s invention education classroom.
6. Creative Mime
Step into the silent realm of expression with Creative Mime, where imagination takes center stage in a wordless performance. This unique game invites players to communicate and interpret ideas, scenarios, and emotions through mime.
- How to Play: Divide the team into pairs. One person in each pair mimics an object or concept without using any words or sounds. The other person tries to guess what the mime represents.
- Benefits: This game enhances nonverbal communication and fosters a positive team atmosphere.
7. Twisted Charades
Twisted Charades injects a dose of unpredictability and laughter into the classic game, turning your typical charades night upside down. Brace yourselves for unexpected challenges and hilarious twists
- How to Play: Similar to traditional charades, participants must convey abstract concepts, emotions, or entire stories through gestures and expressions.
- Benefits: This game promotes emotional intelligence development and enhances empathy, strengthening team bonds.
8. Puzzle Bonanza
Puzzle Bonanza is not your average mind-bender; it’s an exhilarating journey into the world of brain-teasing challenges and collaborative problem-solving. Dive into a treasure trove of puzzles, each more intricate than the last, and watch your team unravel the mysteries together.
- How to Play: Provide teams with a variety of puzzles. The team that finishes first is the winner.
- Benefits: This game stimulates out-of-the-box thinking and fosters collaborative problem-solving.
Michelangelo is not just a name from art history; it’s a game that invites you to channel your inner artistic virtuoso. Step into the shoes of the legendary Renaissance master and unleash your creativity on a canvas of challenges.
- How to Play: Provide teams with sculpting materials. Challenge them to create sculptures based on given themes or prompts.
- Benefits: This game allows for the tangible manifestation of creativity and celebrates individuality.
10. What’s in the Box?
What’s in the Box? Isn’t just a guessing game; it’s a suspenseful expedition into the unknown. The excitement builds as players use their senses and wits to decipher the mysterious contents of the box.
- How to Play: Fill a box with random objects. One participant selects an item from the box and describes how it can be repurposed or used creatively in a different context.
- Benefits: This game promotes creative problem-solving and divergent thinking, fostering resourcefulness and adaptability.
Innovation activities that are not games but still inspire creativity
While innovation games are a powerful tool for boosting creativity, they’re not the only method. Let’s delve into some creative activities that can inspire your team and foster a culture of innovation.
There are plenty more invention education activities on MIT Lemelson’s website.
1. Creative Problem Solving
How to Do It: Present a challenging problem or scenario to the team and ask them to generate as many creative solutions as possible within a given time.
Benefits: Ignite the spark of innovation as your team collaborates to explore and present inventive solutions, fostering an environment of creative excellence.
2. Collaborative Art
How to Do It: Divide the team into small groups and ask them to create a collaborative artwork together.
Benefits: Promote team synergy and cultivate a culture of creative collaboration as each brushstroke contributes to a masterpiece of collective imagination.
3. Scavenger Hunt
How to Do It: Create a list of unique items for teams to find within a designated area. Teams must present the items in the most creative way possible.
Benefits: Spark inspiration and cultivate innovative thinking as teams showcase their finds in imaginative and unexpected ways.
4. Writing Marathon
How to Do It: Set a time limit and challenge team members to write a short story, poem, or piece of creative writing within that timeframe.
Benefits: Strengthen team bonds through storytelling, fostering a shared sense of unity and unlocking the power of narrative creativity.
5. Collaborative Music Jam
How to Do It: Gather musical instruments or use online platforms for virtual collaboration. Allow each team member to contribute to a collaborative musical piece.
Benefits: Celebrate diversity and cultivate an inclusive and creatively harmonious work environment through the symphony of collective creativity.
6. Cooking Challenge
How to Do It: Set up a cooking challenge where teams must create a dish using a specific set of ingredients.
Benefits: Encourage innovative thinking and resourcefulness as teams whip up culinary creations in the spirit of delicious creativity.
7. Design Your Dream Workspace
How to Do It: Ask team members to envision and design their ideal workspace, creating visual representations of their dream work environment.
Benefits: Inspire creative thinking and foster a shared purpose as each team member designs the blueprint for their imaginative work haven.
8. Creative Journaling
How to Do It: Provide each team member with a journal and encourage them to engage in creative journaling.
Benefits: Encourage self-expression and provide a platform for exploring personal thoughts and emotions, fostering a culture of creativity and introspection.
9. Mind Mapping
How to Do It: Choose a central theme or problem and ask teams to create mind maps to explore creative solutions and connections.
Benefits: Promote visual brainstorming and idea generation, fostering a culture of innovation as teams map out pathways to creative solutions.
10. Vision Board
How to Do It: Encourage team members to create vision boards representing their aspirations and goals.
Benefits: Encourage imagination and provide focus and inspiration for future work as team members craft visual representations of their collective dreams and ambitions.
How to pick the best innovation game (Step-by-step)
Step 1: Understand Your Team’s Dynamics
Before selecting innovation games, assess your team’s dynamics, preferences, and communication styles. Consider factors such as team size, individual personalities, and the level of familiarity among team members.
Step 2: Define Objectives and Learning Outcomes
Clearly outline the objectives you aim to achieve through innovation games. Whether it’s enhancing communication, fostering creativity, or improving problem-solving skills, having specific goals will guide your game selection.
Step 3: Consider Time Constraints
Take into account the available time for the game session. Some innovation games may require more time for setup, explanation, and play. Ensure that the chosen games fit within the time constraints to maintain engagement.
Step 4: Cater to Diverse Preferences
Acknowledge the diversity within your team, including different learning styles and preferences. Opt for a mix of innovation games that cater to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners to ensure everyone can actively participate.
Step 5: Rotate Games for Variety
To prevent monotony, consider rotating innovation games regularly. Variety helps maintain interest and allows team members to experience different approaches to creativity and collaboration. Keep a repertoire of games and introduce new ones periodically.
Step 6: Match Games to Team Goals
Align the chosen games with your team’s overall goals and projects. Select games that mimic or directly relate to the real-world scenario your team is working on. This connection enhances the relevance of the games.
Step 7: Adaptability and Scalability
Choose innovative games easily adapted to different team sizes and settings. This adaptability ensures that the games remain effective in various contexts, whether you have a small team or are conducting a large-scale team-building event.
Step 8: Seek Feedback from Team Members
Encourage open communication by seeking feedback on past innovation games. Understand which games resonated most with team members and why. Use this feedback to refine your selection process and tailor future game choices.
Step 9: Embrace Technology
Incorporate technology-based innovation games for virtual teams or to add a digital element to in-person sessions. Explore virtual collaboration tools, online platforms, and mobile apps that can enhance the gaming experience.
Step 10: Monitor Engagement Levels
During and after each game session, assess the engagement levels of team members. Pay attention to energy, enthusiasm, and collaboration. This feedback can guide adjustments to your game selection for future sessions.
Frequently asked questions
1. What are innovation games, and why are they important?
Innovation games are strategic exercises designed to stimulate creativity, encourage problem-solving, and cultivate a collaborative spirit within teams. They go beyond amusement, acting as potent tools to catalyze groundbreaking ideas and innovative solutions.
2. What’s the purpose of playing innovation games?
The primary purpose of playing innovation games is to foster creative thinking, enhance communication skills, and promote teamwork within a fun and engaging context. These games serve as strategic exercises to inspire fresh ideas and solutions.
See the recommended community innovation starter kits to build your area into an innovation community from MIT.
3. Are innovation games only for entertainment, or do they have strategic benefits?
Innovation games are not merely sources of entertainment; they offer strategic benefits. When deployed effectively, they can lead to the generation of inventive ideas, enhance problem-solving skills, and strengthen collaboration within teams.
4. Can innovation games be used in entrepreneurship contexts?
Absolutely. Innovation games are versatile and can be particularly beneficial in entrepreneurship settings. They encourage out-of-the-box thinking, enhance communication, and promote the development of creative solutions—all essential elements in entrepreneurship.
5. What are some examples of innovation games to spark creativity?
Some examples of innovation games include “Products: The Card Game,” “Reverse Charades,” “Word Association,” “Improv Hero,” and “Quick Fire-Debate.” Each game serves a unique purpose, from boosting communication skills to fostering team synergy.
6. How do I play “Products: The Card Game”?
In “Products: The Card Game,” players create genius or hilariously horrible products and pitch their inventions. The game includes 180 Features (blue cards) and 70 Products (white cards) for infinite replayability. The benefits include sparking innovation, inventiveness, and fostering team synergy.
7. What is the objective of “Reverse Charades”?
“Reverse Charades” turns the classic game on its head by making teamwork the star. In this twist, the team acts out a word or phrase while one person guesses. The game promotes teamwork and allows everyone, even quieter team members, to shine in the spotlight.
8. How does “Word Association” contribute to creativity?
“Word Association” is a linguistic playground where players link words in a rapid-fire exchange, promoting mental agility and enhancing the ability to communicate succinctly. It stimulates creativity through spontaneous connections and quick thinking.
9. What is the role of “Improv Hero” in team dynamics?
“Improv Hero” puts spontaneity in the spotlight as players become the heroes of their own impromptu stories. The game encourages quick thinking and teamwork as participants build upon each other’s ideas to deliver entertaining performances.
10. Are there non-game activities that promote innovation and creativity?
Activities like creative problem-solving, collaborative art, scavenger hunts, writing marathons, collaborative music jams, cooking challenges, designing dream workspaces, creative journaling, mind mapping, and vision boarding are excellent non-game methods to inspire creativity and innovation.
11. How can these non-game activities contribute to team dynamics?
Non-game activities contribute to team dynamics by promoting collaboration, sparking inspiration, and encouraging innovative thinking. These activities enhance communication, strengthen bonds, and foster a culture of creativity within teams.