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Innovation Games® Applied: Remember the Future for Planning Success

Innovation Games are a set of techniques created by Luke Hohmann. They are excellent tools to have in your facilitation toolbox. You can use them for many project activities and to create project artefacts too. This is the fifth in a series of posts about how I have used and adapted some of these techniques with projects and teams. In this post we'll take a look at how to use Remember the Future for planning project success.

I have sometimes seen this given the horrendous portmanteau “futurespective” – what a Frankenword! Remember the Future relies on using a framing question in the future perfect form – “It's 6 months from now: What will the team have done to make the project a success?” The future perfect generates a richer thought process than simple past or subjunctive. It helps if the team work back from a fixed date. You can get people to generate ideas and dedupe. Then get them to present their thinking by working back from the future date to the present moment. If the team miss anything as they work backwards, they can add to it as they go. It never ceases to amaze me how often a team gets an “Oh – we forgot this!” moment when working backwards in this fashion. It's a wonderful thing. Use this technique to generate stories, do task extraction, or to help a team overcome challenging problems.

There are more Innovation Games out there – which do you use? How do you use them? What hacks have you made to the original games, and how did that work for you?

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