Playing with Purpose- “Remembering the Future”

I recently attended a meeting where we started the meeting by playing a game called “Remembering the Future.” The objective of the game was to think ahead one year into the future, and ask ourselves “We had an incredibly successful year in our organization. What were some of the highlights that we accomplished over the last year?” We had to make our statements with verbiage such as:

  •    “I remember when we…”
  •    “I think we had our biggest impact when we…”
  •    “I couldn’t believe the response we had when we…”
  •    “I really enjoyed…”

Though the concept of the game is easy enough, the results were fascinating, as we discussed a myriad of things that we had done. Some were entertaining, like “I really enjoyed the three day offsite meeting we had in Hawaii.” Others were accomplishments from an individual, or as a group. The most fascinating aspect of it was that it brought out a lot of ideas that expanded our thinking and our possibilities of how we envisioned a successful year with regards to a specific project.

This game is like a focused brainstorming, without using the ‘brainstorming’ word. I’ve been through a number of lackluster brainstorming activities that weren’t lead correctly, where ideas were stifled due to judgmental comments, etc. (the antithesis of the value of brainstorming).  In this game exercise, there was none of that, because we talked like it had already happened, and it’s more difficult to pass judgement on something that already happened, than on a new idea.

I’ve found myself using this game in many aspects of personal and professional life now. Here are a few examples:

* Business strategy planning at the beginning of the year
* Starting a new marketing/PR campaign
* Defining a new partnership
* Creating personal goals & New Years resolutions

During the game, make sure somebody is scribing the ideas, or better yet, record the event. When the game is done, search for nuggets that can be acted upon and planned around. This becomes a fundamental starting point to the strategic planning for the year, or whatever time period is chosen.

The idea from this game came from, where there are a number of innovative approaches to having fun while solving problems or planning.

Life isn’t all about work, but when you can mix work and play together, it’s amazing how fun planning for the future can be.