I would like to thank whoever it was that printed out a book review and left it on the shared printer a few weeks back. All it took was a quick glance and my attention was caught by the phrase “making meetings more effective” – this is something I could do with. Amazon obliged and within a couple of days I had a copy of the book on my desk.
A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
What does the book offer? Essentially it’s a collection of activities that can be used to help groups of people think and communicate effectively about specific topics of importance. Some of them were familiar to me from management training courses – the dreaded post-it and flip-chart-art school of creative thinking; others were things that I have done at some point but not recognised as a re-usable technique; the vast majority were new ideas.
To make this a bit more tangible for anyone reading, some of the “games” that you have probably come across are Lightning Talks (aka Pecha Kucha), Elevator Pitch, and SWOT Analysis. You might not be so familiar with Dot Voting, Speedboat, or The 5 Whys.
Was it worth reading? Definitely, and I would recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in a position of leading a group of people in thinking about how to approach a particular problem, opportunity, or other topic. It isn’t a book that I will add to my “turning points” list (books that have caused a profound change in my understanding of myself or the world around me), but it is a book that has given me a range of new tools / techniques / ideas that can be brought to bear in a wide variety of situations.
Some this was brought to bear in a sysdev team meeting. We used a series of three games to develop a set of strategic developments that would be worth pursuing (from our own perspective). In just 40 minutes we collaboratively agreed on 7 key developments. Since then, five have already seen action, and the remaining two are on the cards to be fitted in when time allows. One person at the meeting commented that we had “…acheived more in 40 minutes than [another group] had acheived in a whole day”. Storming!