Collaboration Framework Spotlight: Product Box to Science Fair.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but fexibility is the progenitor of new collaboration frameworks, especially in in-person forums. Even with our long experience with live events and logistics, occasionally things go awry. Shipments are late or supplies we thought we definitely needed are sold out and unavailable. When faced with logistical snafus, Collaboration Architects excel as transforming problems into solutions.

Product Box to Science Fair
Protegra’s Terry Bunio transformed Product Box to Science Fair by using Tri-fold posters.

Protegra’s Terry Bunio writes on the Protegra company blog about just such an issue and how he was able to transform missing Product Box supplies into a new collaboration framework he calls, “Science Fair,” for an Agile Winnipeg User Group meeting.

Science Fair

The birth of Science Fair came from missing supplies (and the creative use of others.) For Product Box, we use white literature mailers, commonly found in most office supply stores in the U.S. Outside of the 50 states, however, we have to be flexible as they are often out of stock. As Terry writes, “I was hoping that the lack of white cereal-sized boxes was only temporary at Staples. Nope. They were nowhere to be found.”

Staples did have a selection of tri-fold display boards, the kind used by kids all over the world in science fairs. And Terry found a large selection of “animal stickers.” Using the supplies that were available, Terry had his teams create science fair “posters,” instead of Product Boxes, selling their bosses on the value of Agile.

product box takeout
Restaurant Takeout boxes are another common substitution when the typical white boxes can’t be found.

Terry writes that the new framework garned some unexpected benefits, including:
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  • More real estate or physical space for buiding out your argument.
  • Additional metaphor for talking about the problems, created through the use of animal stickers and the science fair concept.


Have you had to adapt or change or create a new Innovation Game collaboration framework out of necessity? We’d love to hear about it.


Conteneo Leaders to Speak at PMI 2015 Symposium

Luke Hohmann, CEO & Founder of Conteneo, and Laura Richardson, VP of Business Development, will be speaking at the PMI Silicon Valley chapter’s 2015 Symposium held at the Santa Clara Convention Center on October 5-6, 2015. This year’s theme is “Learning Organization And Thought Leadership” and features keynotes, themed presentations and unconference discussions.

Afternoon Keynote: Monday, Oct. 5

Luke’s keynote, “How to Prioritize a Project Portfolio” will be on Monday, October 5. He’ll speak to LhohmannPlantoReplanthose leaders who are frustrated by the limits of ROI analysis and the lack of collaboration that makes traditional approaches to portfolio prioritization an exercise in frustration. Created from more than a decade of experience working with Fortune 500 and other progressive organizations, the process Luke will describe in this keynote will reveal how leaders can harness the amazing power of collaborative frameworks and serious games to prioritize their organization’s project portfolio. The result is anEpic Win: a project portfolio prioritized to both business objectives and customer needs with an organization motivated to implement the same.


Breakout Session: Monday, Oct. 5

Laura Richard’s presentation will be “Technical & Wicked Solution Strategies for Agilists,” also on richardson_laura1-150x150Monday, Oct. 5.  Laura will discuss how the kinds of problems organizations are facing have changed as agile has matured from a process practiced by relatively small, co-located teams tackling mostly IT projects. Today, organizations are using agile to tackle many different kinds of problems in business as well as in the public sphere. Laura will highlight a series of enduring problems that agilists are supremely suited to tackle: Some of these problems are technical (like prioritizing your backlog, or a city budget). Others are wicked (like what to do when our software is late –which still happens in Agile! — or how to solve the California drought crisis).

Based on Conteneo’s groundbreaking work with leading non-profits Every Voice Engaged Foundation and The Kettering Foundation, Laura’s session will review both technical and wicked problems along with solution strategies for solving them. She will provide case studies, concrete examples and templates that are useful for business and public sector problems, with particular focus on how a team from Conteneo helped the Los Altos School District engage citizens in a wicked problem related to student enrollment growth.

Deb Colden, a Conteneo Qualified Instructor and Certified Collaboration Architect, will also be speaking at the Symposium on “Designing Great Value Propositions for Real Customers.”

More information on sessions and registration on the PMI Silicon Valley chapter website.



Agile 2015 Keynote: Awesome Superproblems

On August 3, Luke Hohmann, Conteneo CEO and Acting Executive Director for the Every Voice Engaged Foundation,  presented the main stage keynote “Awesome Superproblems at Agile 2015 in Washington, DC. Luke’s keynote detailed how agile collaborative techniques and practices are being used to tackle wicked problems beyond building software. The problems being tackled are bigger than any one person can solve and exacerbated by inaction — thus the title “Awesome Superproblems”. Luke describes how making  progress on solving these Awesome Superproblems is enabling us to find new patterns that can be applied to solve classes of similar problems. And are being used around the world.

We hope you will watch the video and discover  how the collaborative, social and serious games born from the agile community have blossomed into multidimensional frameworks that agilists are using around the world to solve awesome superproblems without any special superpowers except a willingness to try.

Want to get involved? Check out Every Voice Engaged for more details.


Featured image taken by Doc List at Agile 2015.