Do you want to innovate smarter — not just faster? Extend your agile/learn practices with tools for creating high-retention products.

Here’s something I hear a lot:

“What’s the difference between game thinking & lean/agile methods?“

Lean /Agile methods are great, and most of my clients use them to ship products. But those methods don’t give you a complete solution for creating products that your customers want and need.

Let’s dive in…

The Lean/Agile approach is founded on two key ideas that work together.

And in Game Thinking we embrace — and extend — these ideas.

Idea #1: Rapid Iteration


Have you ever played Rock Band? You know… that rhythm-action party game that turned your social gatherings into musical jam sessions…

Well, that musical magic didn’t happen by accident. The team behind that massive hit spent months testing and refining an early prototype with a small group of expert players who were (guess what)… NOT our target market!

I want to tell you. …


Earlier this year, I tried out the Levels CGM product. I wanted to learn how my body responds to what I put in my mouth. And you know what?


We’ve all had to develop and tweak our coping strategies this past year. Not surprisingly, apps that help us de-stress have surged in popularity.

During the pandemic, the meditation app Calm won over millions (including me) with its simple design, soothing celebrity voices, and super-pleasurable daily meditation habit.

If you want to build retention with a less-is-more UX strategy & smart habit-stacking — this app is worth a deeper look.


Recently, a design leader in our Digital Health coaching group shared a powerful story about leadership – one that’s extra-relevant this week.

Shortly after the January 6th insurrection, everyone at her startup gathered for a company-wide meeting that’d been previously scheduled. And…

to her surprise, the CEO failed to address what had just happened. He didn’t acknowledge or mention the traumatizing situation that was distressing and distracting her team.

And as a natural result of this sequence of events, many employees wondered… why?

Was he oblivious? Complicit? Or something worse?

That created a vacuum.

By not taking a stance on…


Happy New Year! As we head into 2021, I want to share a personal story that I hope sparks some community-building inspiration for you.

If this past year has taught us anything, it’s how much we all depend on our communities — and what happens when those connections get disrupted.

This year, we’ve had to rethink and rebuild our social connections, & move them online. We zoomed with our colleagues — with our families…. our friends… even with farm animals.


We all know that customer empathy helps us build and sell successful products.

But doing it well can be tricky — especially when you’re emotionally invested in what you’re creating. Too often, we look for signals that support our assumptions — rather than narrowing our focus and engaging deeply with EXACTLY the right people.

Innovation expert Bob Moesta understands this better than almost anyone — and he’s got some power-tools to share. Lucky for us, Bob is a Game Thinking Academy VIP Coach — and last month, he delivered a mind-blowing extended session for our members 🤯

We’re about to…


Our next session of Game Thinking Certification is coming up soon, so I wanted to tell you why I teach this program, and how it came to be.

This video is the first in a series. In the next few videos, I’ll share details about our curriculum and format — and spotlight our Certification graduates.

For the past two decades, I’ve worked with game companies, tech startups and global brands to build and ship innovative products. I was part of the early design team for The Sims, Rock Band, Covet Fashion, Happify, Ultima Online, Netflix, and eBay.

I saw…


Today is August 31st 2020. Here in the US, Coronavirus is still spreading & killing thousands every week — and we watch the party in power blatantly flout their own guidance and declare that it’s over.

Instead of returning to school, our kids are learning from home — while families struggle daily to manage a changing situation, and educators are bullied into putting themselves in harms way.

Unemployment is skyrocketing, especially among the most vulnerable –while the stock market is propped up by short-term economic tactics that will cause long-term harm.

We’re heading into Fall 2020 with fear & uncertainty…


This week, the Kpop band BTS released Dynamite, a joyful mix of disco-flavored funk with their signature smooth vocals and KILLER dance moves.

Dynamite broke Youtube records and delighted fans worldwide. This morning, one of my students asked me “So what’s the deal with BTS? They keep showing up in my Recommended…”

There is SO MUCH to say about this immensely talented group. For now, I’ll let their music speak for itself. Have a listen to Dynamite — the song that broke the Youtube record for most likes in 24 hours.

They also released a “B-side” video remix which…

Amy Jo Kim

Game designer, startup coach, author, entrepreneur gamethinking.io

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