Cover Story is a game about pure imagination. The purpose is to think expansively around an ideal future state for the organization; it’s an exercise in visioning. The object of the game is to suspend all disbelief and envision a future state that is so stellar that it landed your organization on the cover of a well-known magazine
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To envision the organization's future
Before the meeting, draw out large-scale templates that include the categories. Your template doesn’t need to look exactly like this one; you can be creative with the central image and the layout. Just be sure to keep the categories intact. The number of templates you create depends on the size of the group. At the most, allow four to six people to work on one template together.
1. Explain the object of the game to the players and define each category on the template:
- “Cover” tells the BIG story of their success.
- “Headlines” convey the substance of the cover story.
- “Sidebars” reveal interesting facets of the cover story.
- “Quotes” can be from anyone as long as they’re related to the story.
- “Brainstorm” is for documenting initial ideas for the cover story.
- “Images” are for supporting the content with illustrations.
2. Break the players into groups of four to six and make sure there are markers and one template for each group. Tell the players that to populate the template they can either select a scribe or write and draw on it together.
3. Ask the players to imagine the best-case scenario for their company and to take that scenario one step further. Request that they spend five quiet minutes imagining their own stories before they work together to agree on one. Give the groups 30–45 minutes to generate this “story of the year” and represent it on their template.
4. Reconvene the breakout groups and ask for volunteers to present their visions first. Give each group 5–10 minutes to share what they imagined was written in the story and the supporting elements.
5. Note any common vision themes and areas of agreement. Ask for observations, insights, and concerns about the future state.