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Party Invitations

Posted on Mar 19th, 2010 by Nate Bolt
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This was originally posted on the GoGamestorm blog on August 16, 2010. We’ve used this activity in several client brainstorming meetings with much success! Give it a whirl and report back on your results! Objective of play: Improve the onboarding process of a product or service. Number of players: 5-30 Duration of play: 30-60 minutes How to play:

  1. Everyone is handed a piece of paper and a marker.
  2. Participants are asked to imagine that the product/service being designed is a party or event and to create an invitation.
  3. Invitations should be as detailed and realistic as possible — they might include an inviting statement (“Join us for…”), what to bring, what the host (company) will provide, time, dress code, directions, RSVP info, and any other information guests might need to enjoy the party. It could also be done in the form of a Who, What, Where, When, Why invitation.
  4. Participants are encouraged to refine their invitations in multiple iterations. Allow at least 10-15 minutes for invitation writing.
  5. Once everyone has completed their invitations, the facilitator calls for ideas on each element of an invitation in turn:
    1. What did you call the party?
    2. Did anybody have a dress code?
    3. What did you say about refreshments?
    4. What do guests need to bring?
    5. What is the party actually for?
    6. How will guests get there?
  6. Next, participants read through their invitations in turn. The facilitator takes notes and posts the themes on a white board.
  7. After everyone has presented, participants jointly narrow and refine the ideas, keeping in mind things like:
    1. What metaphors have emerged? How might they contribute to ideas for the onboarding experience?
    2. Which elements are crucial to the invitation?
    3. Which ideas represent the right feel for the brand and offering?
  8. Finally, the facilitator engages the group in sketching or another idea generation process to implement the refined invitation as a draft of the onboarding process.

An example party invitation.

Strategy: This is essentially a metaphor-generation game that allows participants to imagine how they want to engage their audience. Detail is good, and players who go whole-hog with imagining their party as anything from a white-tie gala to a potluck are likely to be successful as long as they carry it through. Interesting discussions will ensue when participants go for different versions — are we a come as you are party or do we have a festive dress code? Must you RSVP or can you just show up? Why invitations? At Bolt Peters, we often think of successful technology products as being more than just friendly. They are literally inviting — asking their audience to use them, rewarding them when they do, and asking again for higher levels of use and engagement. When deploying a conversion funnel, especially for gradual engagement, an enticing and escalating invitation is a critical piece of the puzzle.

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