How do we build a house…in a day? What would a browser be…without an Internet connection? All these seem like an “impossible mission”, right? Still, it’s this type of questioning which has directed the course of mankind’s tremendous progress.
The good news is that it is exactly this type of questions that The “Mission: Impossible” Game intends to answer.
Invented by James Macanufo, the purpose of the game is to challenge constraints related to a product/process or to create something truly new. It is also very effective when it comes to challenge basic assumptions about its design.
Basically, it comes to selecting an idea, a product or process and change one foundational aspect that will make it “impossible” in function or feasibility (for example: how do we create a smartphone that has no battery ?).
Number of players
45 mins to 1 hour
How to play
The first step of The Mission Impossible Game is to reflect on an “impossible mission” by developing a question that engages both emotional and rational parts of the brain.
Thus, a smartphone without batteries would be a technological innovation (ration) and a make-the-world-better-and green proposition (emotional).
- Explain the mission/challenge to the group.
- For the next 30 minutes, working in pairs or small teams, the “special agents” will develop approaches to accomplishing the “impossible”.
In order to succeed, they will develop a set of questions that is specific to the challenge or they may consider these broad questions:
- What are the new benefits of features that might emerge from this “mission”?
- Why is this a typical constraint or requirement? Is it just a common assumption?
- What are the core elements in conflict?
- Can the conflicting elements be eliminated, replaced or altered in some way? How?
- Is there anything that can happen at the beginning or the end of the process to change the parts in conflict?
- Can time, space, materials, motion and even the environment have an effect? Which one?
The « 5 Whys » Technique for problem solving and the strategic questions to make the best of the innovation era might also be inspiring at this stage of the game.
- At the end of the 30 minutes, the teams present their concepts to the entire group.
- Both common and original approaches will be adopted, enabling this way the building of a list with possible solutions to be explored further.
To ensure the success of the entire mission, don’t wait and start today by asking one “simple” question: “How would we do this in a day?” for your company’s slow or overloaded processes or for the products that are languishing and need to be reimagined.