StrategicPlay had some highlights in 2009: The community building event in Saudi Arabia with 350 students from the new King Abduallah University (and lots of LEGO Mindstorms and LEGO Serious Play). Then we held our first training in India (on Complex Selling & Sales Strategy). But THE highlight in 2009 was Jens Hoffmann as keynote speaker and moderator of the "Best Minds Meet" event in Merano in May 2009.

Selected smart and courageous entrepreneurs and managers from South Tyrol, Southern Germany and Austria met here. Inspired by key lectures by distinguished experts, they discussed the key topics of sales, human resources and product development in moderated workshops. From this, they jointly developed new insights and knowledge.

Jens' focus at Best Mind Meets was the topic of product development in volatile times. How do companies develop successful products and services? Especially in times when the market environment is constantly changing, times when buyers turn over every penny three times. Times like today, when the current economic crisis is sweeping away business models and companies that were previously thought to be stable.

The presentation elaborated the following core theses:

  1. Successful product and service innovation takes place in a network of customers and partners.
  2. Success does not come from individual products but from ecosystems of products and services
  3. Successful companies systematically create a culture of innovation

If these theses are taken seriously, it is necessary for classical management to leave its comfort zone and deal directly with the customer and his needs and consistently translate them into products and services that sustainably improve the customer's life or even support him in finding new meaning in it.

The workshop then confronted the participants with LEGO material, which was unfamiliar to them. In a StrategicPlay workshop, success concepts of each participating company were systematically extracted in the form of stories, which they visualised through lovingly designed Lego models. In this way, the participants succeeded in finding a common language, critically questioning their own product development based on the contributions of the other participants and coming to completely new insights and approaches to solutions.

The results were edited by experienced journalists and published as a book (including DVD) together with a documentary film. If you would like to take a first look at the book, you can do so here! Starting on page 14, you will find a summary of Jens' presentation "Out of the comfort zone".

A first short review of the book can also be found on Stefan Hagen's pm-blog.