Innovation Games in Brazil – Creative Placemaking

Is it possible to generate social impact in community/organization through playing?

A big YES is what the methodology of Innovation Games has to say.

Twenty-five youngsters of a region called Silva Jardim, close to Rio de Janeiro-Brazil came together to spend five days playing with collaborative methodologies while solving four challenges defined by local actors of the region. The challenges were all related to Placemaking – making their communities  a livable place to live while attracting visitors. The participants wanted to find ways in which the preservation of the local nature is guaranteed while promoting some entrepreneurship in the region.

In order to make communities a livable places while being attractive for visitors it is fundamental to involve those who belong to these places. It is important that they come together and align on needs and interests.  The Innovation Games provides the fun and the engagement needed through a process of many steps in which participants get engaged, understand the complex reality in which they live, raise some ideas and insights, prototype actions and search for supporters.

The phases of the Innovation Games are similar to the design thinking phases in which you start by understanding the system; from there you create possible ideas that are connected to the context studied; and finally you prototype the product/service/experience in order to make it more concrete. All the phases work with different types of games to engage participants into the challenge with more creativity and innovative mindset.

The work started by defining with local stakeholders what are the biggest demands of the region. From there we translated into four challenges. The participants were divided into groups to work with the challenges while also learning how to become changemakers, combining entrepreneurial skills with capabilities to work together with their communities.

The five days activities were focused on the process of people working together to address what matters to them. The participants stayed together at Fazenda dos Cordeiros (Cordeiros Farm) –  and through play, dialogue, reflections and asking powerful questions they prototyped some possible ideas for action.

At the end they prepared a final pitch to present their ideas to investors in order to get support  to continue with the vision and ideas they had.

The participants presented their final pitch at Casa Firjan, an innovative house from the Federation of Industries in Rio, in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. We had one winner group but all of them ended up with great ideas and some even had invitations for further presentation in order to get financial support.

The ultimate goal of the Innovation Games is to engage the community together to tap into their collective intelligence in order to come up with innovative ideas never considered before. The long term the goal is to build capacity with communities to address what most matters to them.


Click here to see some pictures