Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Big E of Big E Toys
“Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, 'I've never seen anyone run like that before.' It's more than just a race, it's a style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative.” – Steve Prefontaine
In one of its most recent innovations, Nike went off the standard innovation grid. Or rather it created it – The Nike Grid that is.
In addition to my regular posts for the Front End of Innovation, I sporadically contribute an occasional post to my own blog sites – including The Future of Board Games (which is obviously related to my work with Big E Toys) and Gonzo Innovation (which is largely about social innovation and other immersive innovation techniques). I mention these other blogs only because Nikegrid.com reminded me of a post from The Future of Board Games entitled Board In The City, which I wrote back in September 2007.
Beginning on October 22, 2010 (and lasting 15 days) Nike turned London into an urban board game by breaking down the city into a grid of 48 postal codes. Runners/Players participating in the game competed with one another and as teams by starting runs at various phone booths throughout the city, dialing a specific number, punching in an ID code, and then following instructions to find the next location. The more phone booths from which a runner checked in, the more points he or she earned.
Specific challenges made the race akin to a scavenger hunt by enabling players to gain extra points, as well as virtual badges for various activities or achievements. In September 2007, it was in the context of a scavenger hunt as part of the Board In The City post that I wrote:
“Scavenger hunts have been around for a long, long time, but still I believe they are a harbinger of things to come. They’re relatively easy to put together and can be quite fun, and no doubt will become increasingly more complex and varied in the years to come. Especially given the technology that exists today – cell phone, camera phones, text messaging, GPS, and more – it seems quite reasonable that such games will get more and more sophisticated with more and more coordination and variation. There is obviously no actual board to speak of. The board is the neighborhood, the mall, or the city. I have to believe at some point, someone, somewhere will actually formalize rules for such a game, complete with technology variations and scoring systems.”
Well done Nike. You’ve found a way to effectively combine exercise, fun, competition, technology, social networking, and more. Participants absolutely loved The Nike Grid.
Prefontaine’s words could just as easily be applied to innovation. “It's more than just a race, it's a style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative.”
Well done indeed.
If you’re interested in hearing more about The Nike Grid from a first-person point of view, read this post from participant James Spalding.
As Rhys Rose writes on the Nike Grid Facebook page - “So Nike, the question on everyone’s lips is when is the next one?”
Friday, October 30, 2009
October 14, 2009, 5:59 pm — Updated: 2:07 pm -->
Colonel Mustard Returns!
By J.D. Biersdorfer
Clue fans bored with Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe can now move beyond the mansion with CLUE: Secrets & Spies, an international espionage edition of the classic detective game. The mission here is not impossible and the new Clue comes with a new real-time tech twist: Hasbro says it is the first board game in the company’s history to use cellphone text-messaging in gameplay.
Agent Mustard, Agent Scarlet and the rest of the colorful Clue characters are now on assignment to thwart C.L.U.E. (Criminal League for Ultimate Espionage) and take down the evil Agent Black. At the beginning of the game, players check in at Hasbro headquarters via text from their own cellphones. As the game proceeds, Hasbro sends six text messages back to move the action along. An ultraviolet decoder, included with the game’s activity cards and other pieces, also reveals information.
CLUE: Secrets & Spies sells for $25 at www.hasbro.com/clue. The text-messaging element is optional and Hasbro is committed to supporting it through December 2011. The cost of the text-messages aren’t included—which could be a clue itself as to why the phone bill is so high for enthusiastic players without unlimited text-message plans.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
PLYMOUTH, MN — May 5, 2009 — As it turns out, our mental and physical well-being is a laughing matter. Big E Toys, the maker of the charades-based party game Stumblebum and other fun and educational products, today announced the addition of a new “Emotional Nutrition” label to its Stumblebum packaging. The Emotional Nutrition label mimics the typical Nutrition Facts label found on most consumer packaged grocery items. But rather than depicting Calories, Fat, Cholesterol and other traditional measurements and ingredients found in food, the Stumblebum Emotional Nutrition label depicts Fun and Laughter.
Studies have shown that humor and laughter can have a profound effect on personal health. “I think people generally understand the importance of humor and laughter in life,” says Chip Engdahl, the Big E of Big E Toys. “What is often missed though is the direct link between humor and personal health. Humor and laughter are essential components to our emotional and physical well-being.”
Especially in tough economic times and a world filled with political uncertainty, people need to find little ways to keep themselves emotionally and mentally healthy. “Although I can’t scientifically prove Stumblebum will add fun and laughter to people’s lives and therefore have a positive effect on their overall well-being, empirically I know it to be true,” says Engdahl. “Stumblebum is downright fun. As the Emotional Nutrition label on the Stumblebum box suggests, people will get their fill of Belly-Busting and Side-Splitting laughs, and other forms of fun. I mean really, what could be better than playing a great board game like Stumblebum and having a few laughs with family or friends?”
In addition to being a great outlet of fun and laughter, Stumblebum provides great value for a family’s entertainment dollar. Unlike a night at the movies, or a dinner out, a board game can be enjoyed over and over again. The fun keeps on going. And unlike other forms of entertainment, board games like Stumblebum are inherently family-oriented and are often multi-generational affairs.About Stumblebum
Stumblebum is a charades game like you’ve never played before. Performers are given physical challenges like “stand on one leg” or “eyes closed” while they act out a short list of words. Get teammates to say the words and you score. If not, your opponent can steal. Designed for ages 8 to adult, each game takes less than half an hour to play and participants are up and playing in just a few minutes. It’s unbelievably simple and fun. Game includes 169 game cards, 2 game dice, a 30-second sand timer, card holder, and game instructions. It’s great for get-togethers of all kinds. “It’s so fun, you may actually fall down laughing™.”
About Big E Toys
Big E Toys is a small toy company specializing in board games. It was started by Chip Engdahl on the simple idea that life should be fun. Products include the games Stumblebum®, Coopetition®, and the card deck Chops®. Big E Toys strives to develop quality games that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of people. For more information, contact Big E Toys at 1.866.411.BIG.E (2443) or visit us at http://www.bigetoys.com/.
Big E Toys
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Up the Down Staircase
February 17, 2009 – 2:44 pm
by Hans Eisenbeis
Two men were chatting outside the Minneapolis public library the other day, discussing the upside of unemployment. “I’m spending more time with my family, and we’re just hanging out —doing old-fashioned stuff like playing board games and cards.” His unmarried friend was incredulous. “Well, you don’t need a ruined economy to do that!”
But it seemed to me the bachelor was missing the point, and the family man was reading my mind: “Losing my job made me rewrite my whole budget, which made me realize that working hard in order to spend hard meant a lot of sacrifices. For what? Less time, more junk, deeper debt.” The bachelor thought a moment, and then said, “Dude, it’s people like you who are making the recession longer and harder for everyone.”
The bachelor might have been correct from a macroeconomic point of view — economists call it the paradox of thrift: The less consumers spend, the longer the recovery. But who could blame the family man for looking out for number one? Consumers of every income level are realizing that getting tougher on the budget has a lot of upside. They get their finances in order, build on a more solid economic foundation for the future and, yes, recommit to core beliefs without the distractions of debt-driven consumerism. Will that delay recovery? Yes. But when recovery comes, we’ll not likely see another Great Recession in our lifetimes.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
What games people buy in the coming month or so I cannot say for certain. In the absense of other information or personal knowledge, people tend to gravitate towards familar and trusted names. And with that said, I thus wouldn't expect any new game to make a significant splash this year. I could be wrong. Like I said, I feel a bit disconnected from the market these days. Perhaps there's a sleeper out there I haven't caught wind of yet.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Spend time with any sort of church youth group and ultimately you'd likely find yourself participating in some sort of scavenger hunt. Such games are fairly straight forward. Teams are given a list of items to collect or activities to perform and then sent out to complete their checklist. If the youth group and subsequent teams in the hunt are a little bit older - say senior high age - perhaps the teams split up and go door-to-door in a few local neighborhoods to collect particular canned goods for the local food shelf. If the kids are a bit younger, maybe they head out to a local mall and go store-to-store performing certain activities.
I participated in many such scavenger hunts when I was younger and have even chaperoned a few in recent years. While doing demos for my game Stumblebum last holiday season at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, I even encountered several groups of kids chaperoned by parents that were participating in a birthday party scavenger hunt. They were to come to the game store at which I was demo'ing Stumblebum and play a quick turn in the game. It was kind of fun to see the groups come by and check an item off their list when they were done.
Such scavenger hunts have been around for a long, long time, but still I believe they are a harbinger of things to come. They're relatively easy to put together and can be quite fun, and no doubt will become increasingly more complex and varied in the years to come. Especially given the technology that exists today - cell phones, camera phones, text messaging, GPS, and more -it seems quite reasonable that such games will get more and more sophisticated with more and more coordination and variation.
There is obviously no actual board to speak of. The board is the neighborhood, the mall, or the city. I have to believe at some point, someone, somewhere will actually formalize rules for such a game, complete with technology variations and scoring systems. Such a game could include checklists specific to certain cities or specific to certain types of groups. Maybe there will be a New York City version, a Chicago, a San Francisco, or Minneapolis version. Or maybe it will simply all be rolled up into a single Scavenger Hunt book.
Hmmm... Note to self...
Copyright 2007, C. Engdahl, Big E Toys. All Rights Reserved.