Board game teaches organizations how to innovate

By Roderick Benns

“When they play the game, they start with a business problem of their own that they would like to solve."

Dennis Geelen, owner of a local consulting firm based in Lindsay, has created a new ‘innovation board game’ as a way of helping to teach organizations how to be innovative.

Geelen, principal of Zero In, helps educate individuals on leadership, innovation, and change management. The Zero In – Innovation Board Game is designed to be an engaging, fun, and informative way of helping to teach organizations of any size in any sector how to innovate.

“While playing the game, players learn the tactics and principles required to solve business problems in a creative and innovative fashion,” says Geelen.

“When they play the game, they actually start with a business problem of their own that they would like to solve, and the game helps them go through the process of findings innovative solutions.”

Geelen came up with the concept of the game as a better way to engage with organizations.

In fact the game was his own ‘innovative’ way of solving a business problem he once had.

“I have since found it much easier to engage with new organizations when I tell them I have a game to play that helps them learn about innovation and solve some of their business problems,” Geelen says.

Since he used the very principles to create it that the game teaches, it’s always an ongoing process.

“The game is going through the various facets of innovation itself to be created, tweaked, and improved each time I play it with another organization,” he explains.

Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team

Geelen worked with the Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team over two days recently. The first day was spent talking about why organizations need to innovate, what stops them, and what are the basic principles of innovation.

“We went over some interesting examples from other businesses and sectors to help reinforce some of the topics.”

On the second day the game was played everyone was relaxed and just had fun.

“They even came up with a low cost, simple solution to a problem they were trying to solve,” Geelen notes. “We’re going to try a proof of concept to see if it would work.”

City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team Executive Director Mike Perry says “innovation is key in health care.”

“We have to keep finding ways to best meet patients’ health needs and be as efficient as possible. Change is everywhere – especially these days – but, for our team, innovation is about learning and testing new ideas and approaches to enhance patient care.”

“Dennis gave us a lot of food for thought in a short time,” says Perry. “His board game approach is innovation in and of itself; it sure beat two hours of PowerPoint and will stick with us.”

To find out more contact Geelen at 705-821-1201 or through his website at

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