This morning I ran a session in which I took my team through an exercise to explore skills and capabilities that we have as we beginning a massive programme of change in the organisation.

Here’s a few notes on the objectives, the structure and how it went…

The Objectives

The team has recently expanded with a few new hires, and a few folk co-opted in as we launch the Rewire project – a 2 year programme of change to fundamentally rethink our ways of working to shape around how we deliver our services to our customers.

I wanted to get the team to explore where we have strengths and gaps in the skills and capabilities necessary in delivering such a programme, and also have the chance to road test the PlayCards with the group.

The Format

I did a session a few weeks ago with the team for 15 minutes to run through the story behind PlayCards, and a bit about the Play Matrix. In this session we did a quick recap on the Problem/Solution Play Matrix, and then the 13 Skills of the Bricoleur, which form the basis for the PlayCards.

Play Matrix
The Skills of the Bricoleur

This was all in Teams. We then moved into a pre-prepared Miro board where I’d given each participant a shuffled set of 4 cards each. They then moved each of their four cards into a 2×2 matrix, where the dimensions were “A skill I have/Need to develop” and “Comfortable/Uncomfortable to do the activity”.

Over the course of about 10 minutes the cards were all laid out into the 4 quadrants.

We then had a conversation about each of the quadrants, starting with the “Skills I have/comfortable with the activity” and then “Skills I have/Uncomfortable”, “Skills I need to develop/Comfortable” and then finally “Develop/Uncomfortable”.

Workshop output

What did we learn?

At an individual level, there were some observations about skills that individually people felt they needed to develop.

At a group level we identified a number of activities that will feed into the programme of work, and also some questions about how we can build these kinds of skills in the organisation more broadly.

I think that there was also acknowledgement that if we want to inspire others in the organisation to change, we need to be able to clearly demonstrate how we are changing ourselves. Do as I do territory.

The cards themselves seemed to be well received, although as many in the group are my direct reports it’s unwise to forget that that might well have an impact.

Next steps

Would love to run a similar exercise with a team that I don’t manage – give me a shout if you would like to collaborate on that.

If you would like to have a play with the cards themselves then you can find a virtual version at:

I’m planning to launch a physical version of PlayCards later this year.

2 thoughts on “PlayCards Field Notes: a game for teams to explore innovation skills and gaps

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