Roll the Dice: A lesson from Las Vegas

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” But in this case, I learned something new that I really want to share–a way to bring Vegas to the office. Sorry, no […]

2013-11Dice“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” But in this case, I learned something new that I really want to share–a way to bring Vegas to the office. Sorry, no meetings with $10-minimum-tables, giant feathery headdresses or complementary “beverage” service. Instead, it’s a new technique to use dice for requirements gathering, issue resolution and more. (Yes, I know, I am a BA nerd!)

I can’t take credit for the idea, though. Sunday night over cocktails at the BBC conference in Las Vegas, I was prepping for my innovation workshops with Julian Sammy, head of research and innovation at IIBA. He gave me a pair of dice. I wanted to use them at the craps table, but quickly realized these were not ordinary dice.

Julian created Core Concept dice. Instead of numbered sides, his dice contained 6 Core Concepts of Business Analysis: Value, Context, Stakeholder, Need, Solution, and Change. (These are the new Core Concepts that will be introduced in the new BABOK v3.)

The dice help you generate ideas and inspire innovation. Individuals or small groups roll the dice and come up with questions or ideas that link the two concepts that appear on the dice. They key is to put the terms into a “domain and context” for the ideas, or in other words the “problem/opportunity” we are working on.

How would this work?
So, here’s a problem, ripped from the headlines: Young people are leaving Facebook in droves. Mark Zuckerberg sits down with his leadership team and they roll the dice. They get “stakeholder” and “context.” What questions or ideas would this generate? Maybe they would identify the characteristics of the average young user and then evaluate Facebook from their perspective. What if they rolled “value” and “change”? This could spark ideas about what young people are looking for, what other tools are they using, what’s drawing them to the other tools?

Changing the dice, another example
Our competitors are gaining market advantage by selling cheaper products. Let’s label our dice with: what, how, why, when, where, who. If you roll “why” and “when,” what ideas will you generate? If you roll “what” and “how,” which solutions come to mind?

More dice ideas
You could work with any 6 terms. Experiment! Use related words. Use unrelated words. Use 12 words, instead of six. Use a combination of nouns on one die and verbs on the other. Let us know (info@ba-squared.com) if you try it! Here are a few words to get you started:

  • why, how, what, who, when, where
  • strength weakness failure success absurd doubt
  • backwards, inside-out, disrupt, upside-down, chaos, peace
  • user, purpose, irritate, calm, ideal, doubt
  • dream, empathy, ocean, chaos, options, evaluate

 

PS- You can find blank dice at teacher supply stores or purchase them online. You could also place the words on slips of paper or playing cards and then randomly choose 2.