is about serious work: how the world's leading companies model, prototype, and simulate to innovate. Increasingly, prototypes are the key platforms and models are the core media for managing risk and creating value. They allow for cost-effective creativity, encourage profitable improvisation, and inspire organizations to collaborate in unexpected ways. Serious Play
is a crisply written handbook for product, process and project leaders who are determined to manage their innovation initiatives successfully.
As digital technologies for modeling and simulation offer more value for less money, they provoke fundamental challenges to organizational culture and design. MIT research associate Michael Schrage asserts that conventional wisdom surrounding innovation gets turned inside out: What innovative companies choose not to model often proves more important than what they do. Contrary to the popular assumption that innovative teams generate innovative prototypes, in fact innovative prototypes generate innovative teams. How innovators play with their models and simulations invariably matters far more than what they actually plan. In fact, Schrage shows why innovative firms cannot seriously plan unless they seriously play.
Drawing upon a range of companies as diverse as Walt Disney, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, General Electric, IBM, IDEO, Microsoft, Royal Dutch Shell, DaimlerChrysler and American Airlines, Schrage identifies the common patterns and practices that distinguish productive prototyping cultures from pathological ones. He explores the intimate connection between how leading innovators model reality and how they actually manage it. He examines prototyping failures as rigorously as he explains prototyping successes.
The essential message of Serious Play is that tomorrow's innovations will increasingly be the byproduct of how companies and their customers behave-and misbehave-around this new generation of models, prototypes, and simulations. The distinction between serious play and serious work dissolves as technology gives innovators ever-increasing opportunities to simulate and prototype their ideas. As the media for modeling radically change, so will the organizations that use them.
With real-world examples and engaging anecdotes, Schrage argues that the future of prototyping is the future of innovation. A User's Guide included in the book helps readers quickly take away the innovation practices profiled throughout. A landmark book by one of the most perceptive voices in the field of innovation, Serious Play will lay serious claim to the hearts and minds of forward-looking business managers.