What’s the Answer? (gamestorming)

BioStar is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions. We are members of thecommunity and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at BioStar that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those questions and answers here in this thread. You can ask questions in this thread, or you can always join in at BioStar.

This week’s highlight is the hottest question/discussion of the last week or so which was about “gamestorming”. I’m not much of a fan of gimmicky productivity and/or team-building tools. And the whole gamification stuff strikes me as largely appealing to young males. But if this is the hot topic, so be it. You should have a look and see what that direction is.

News: Gamestorming for bioinformatics 

I am creating a collection of “gamestorming” techniques that can be applied to bioinformatics and research groups.

The word “gamestorming” is used to describe a series of techniques used to make group meetings more interesting and productive. Most of these techniques make use of whiteboards, post-its and drawings as a way to document the meeting. The word itself comes from a book published recently, “Gamestorming” by Gray, Brown and Macanufo, but some techniques are very old.

I think that it is common knowledge that most group meetings in the academic world are very boring and unproductive, so it may be useful to see if somebody has tried to apply gamestorming to real research life. I know that a group in Uniprot uses it for improving the web interface, and they are quite happy with it. My proposal is to use this discussion on Biostar to collect examples of gamestorming in bioinformatics: so, if you know any other technique, or if you have tried something similar in your group, please post about it here.

Note: I’ve described some techniques on a post in my blog, but I suggest to answer here on biostar.

Giovanni M Dall’Olio

It drove more chatter than most questions, so people are definitely interested. Have a look at the discussion, which is designed to be a place to collect the examples and ideas and may grow over time.

4 thoughts on “What’s the Answer? (gamestorming)

  1. Dave Gray

    Hi Mary,

    I’m one of the co-authors of Gamestorming. Like you, I am not a fan of gimmicky productivity and/or team-building tools. Nor am I a proponent of gamification. I do however think that making knowledge more visual and explicit is a powerful amplifier that makes information more explicit, understandable and shareable.

    Most meetings lack shared information spaces that are shared, persistent, and configurable by all participants. Gamestorming is about changing that.

  2. Luke Hohmann

    Mary -
    You’re correct: team-building techniques can be gimmicky. And games are NOT gamification. However, solving problems like portfolio prioritization, product roadmapping, and process improvement through carefully designed, collaborative games creates breakthroughs for teams. And you don’t need gimmicks or badges to do it!


    Luke Hohmann
    CEO, The Innovation Games® Company
    Author of Innovation Games®: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play
    http://www.innovationgames.com: The seriously fun way to do serious work — seriously.
    Follow me on twitter at lukehohmann

  3. Mary Post author

    Well, maybe we don’t agree on the definition. According to the definitions I’ve seen, it means something like this:

    “use of gameplay mechanics for non-game applications”


    “The art and science of using game mechanics in non-game businesses to increase efficiency, customer loyalty and engagement.”

    Are you saying that Gamestorming is different from that? I’m not sure I understand the distinction. Please explain why this is not the same as those definitions.

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