Random word dice game

I wrote about the application of de Bono’s random word entry to business model innovation here. It’s a great tool, but it can be a bit daunting for newbies, so I thought I’d try to provide some support reusing the story cube game and some directions. A bit like a second look at SCAMPER dice but using random words. This is probably the last post I’ll write on dice games for business model innovation, but I’m not sure the SCAMPER dice really hit the mark so here is a second attempt at applying story cubes to business model innovation.

The Dice

6 white dice, each with images in a whiteboard friendly colour e.g. red, green, blue, brown, pink, black. Images should clearly and simply represent a random word. Here is an example

Red Dice: bananas, car, anchor, chair, clock, water

Blue Dice: envelope, telephone, boat, lollypop, hat, spanner

The Explosion

From a facilitator’s perspective, the tricky part with random word entry seems to be in helping your participants think up a good set of attributes for their chosen word. Take bananas for instance. Stopping at ‘yellow’ and ‘you eat them’ will not be as useful as using more descriptive attributes like ‘packed in crates’, ‘have a best before date’, ‘grow their own packaging’, and ‘shipped to a destination’. I find it really useful to spend a bit of time on this. Here’s a small mind cloud used to capture your random word attributes.


Now you’re ready to apply your random words to your creative thinking challenge. Using some of the lateral starting points generated in your explosion stage, the final step is to make connections with your challenge. Here’s an example:

  • Challenge: create an unforgettable  hotel experience
  • Random word attribute: bananas … grow their own wrappers, packed in crates
  • Connection: hotels with living walls (check this out), or an outer skin
  • Connection: sleeping capsules instead of rooms (like this), or sound proofed rooms (I was thinking about the straw bananas are packed in)

I’ve also used group mind maps to explore and develop these lines of thought


I recommend you read up on de Bono’s tools for yourself. I also hope you find a way of applying them to your own problems and challenges in an interesting and fun way. The idea behind this post was to develop something around the application of these terrific tools that might help out from a facilitators perspective. I also really like tactile games and the story cubes in particular. If the tool seems worthwhile, maybe I should crowd fund a sample production run on kickstarter. Drop me a line if you think I should.


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