Playing Lean Australia 2016 Header


Sometime around January or February 2016 Miro Hegedić introduced me to Tore Rasmussen, one of the guys behind Playing Lean. Given my background and interests, Lean Start-up wasn’t really on my map, but all that changed after meeting with Tore. Since then, it just kept on rolling, and today we are working together on several projects.

For the uninitiated, Playing Lean is an educational board game which facilitates learning of the Lean Start-up principles through gamified experience. Playing Lean is aligned with Ash Maurya’s Running Lean, and he is involved with the development of the game. He endorses it as an educational tool for the Lean Start-up. Tore has written more about how Playing Lean conveys Lean Start-up.

In May 2016 I became a Certified Playing Lean Facilitator, and in agreement with Tore and Simen, I started to plan a promotional Australian road-trip. The idea was to cover all major cities over the course of one month.

And here are the results:

  • 30 days,
  • 4 state capitals (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide),
  • national capital (Canberra),
  • 2603 kilometres by bus,
  • 145 people played the game, and
  • 297 people directly exposed to the game.

Read more about my experiences below, right after mandatory infographic!

Graphical summary



Brisbane, Queensland

Brisbane was the starting point of the Playing Lean Australia 2016 road-trip. There I met with Paul and Joeri of BIGJUMP and Lean Business Strategies, two great guys who work with start-ups, enterprises and government. If you are based in Queensland be sure to check out BIGJUMP website and their Meetup Lean Business Strategies.



There were many attendees, with varying backgrounds, from seasoned veterans to young and ambitious start-up founders. What was, and is, most important to me is that everybody learned more about Lean Start-up and how to use it to advance their own agendas. All that while playing a game. 🙂



I would like to thank:

  • Paul Davies and Joeri (Yuri) Timmermans for being great guys,
  • Pitcher Partners, River City Labs, The Edge, and Microsoft Innovation Centre for hosting us,
  • Sami Jarvela and his team for PopConcrete factory tour,
  • John Cleary and Nicola Martin for some in-depth feedback,
  • everybody who attended and gave their feedback,
  • Ryan Neal and Long Roos for showing me their game – check it out on Kickstarter.


Sydney, New South Wales

In Sydney all Playing Lean events were at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Michael Crouch Innovation Centre, a platform for nurturing student innovation and making strong two-way connections with business. Being and innovation hub which has “set out to bring together cross-disciplinary teams to help solve real world problems”, with aim to “incubate purposeful projects and programs that empowers our community of makers, hackers, speakers, thinkers, doers, mentors, experts and of course beginners”, made them an ideal fit for Playing Lean events.

We organised Playing Lean sessions for both faculty and students. While students were very inquisitive and focused on learning different aspects of Lean Start-up, faculty started the game off with benevolent open source approach. That didn’t last long, as first sale fired up competitiveness, leading to one of the most brutal games I’ve ever witnessed.



I would like to thank:


Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

My stay at Canberra has been very short, but I still managed to do some sight-seeing with Playing Lean under my arm. That might not have been the best decision I made since I had to fight off some huge white birds several times. For some reason they wanted to steal the bag with Playing Lean board game. Oh, the mysteries of life.

Playing Lean in Canberra


Melbourne, Victoria

There was a lot of action in Melbourne and I kicked off with an over-sized Playing Lean event hosted at Nintex, organised by Stephanie Bysouth and Chris Chan of Agile Coaching Circles Melbourne. Although it was a big group it was quite enjoyable since everybody was experienced in agile methods and also had a great sense of humour. One of the teams decided to build their own Fortress of Solitude in order to protect their market reports. It didn’t help them.



Besides playing, I also got to attend live pod-cast episode of Future Squared with Steve Glaveski and Ash Maurya. It was great and you can check it out here Episode #63: Ash Maurya on Scaling Lean. Some of the topics discussed were:

  • His new book, Scaling Lean, and how it differs from Running Lean
  • How to 10x your company while staying lean
  • Using the lean canvas in large organisations
  • Examples of how large companies have effectively implemented lean product development
  • What metrics corporate innovators should use instead of NPV and IRR
  • Why regulation is no excuse not to go lean and in fact is more reason to do so

Also make sure to take a look at other Future Squared episodes, there is some really useful content there.



The fun didn’t stop there! I met two crazy guys — Max Lynam and Athula Bogoda — from Melbourne Silicon Beach who were thrilled to hear about a game that teaches Lean Startup principles. They invited me to deliver a pitch as part of their “Silicon Beach 90 second pitches” at MSB Drinks & Pitch Night . The rules were simple – you have 90 seconds to pitch your product, service, start-up, whatever. I decided to approach it with question mark and Conan quote. You can see the results below, between 18:00 and 22:00.




I would like to thank:


Adelaide, South Australia

Last stop of the Playing Lean Australia Road-trip was Adelaide. Beautiful picturesque place, a bit slower than Melbourne and Sydney, was perfect to close this 30-day long adventure. Alister Lee and Rose Alwyn helped me organise a Playing Lean event at St Mark’s College . There were students from local universities, as well as local entrepreneurs, and plenty of healthy discussions. All in all, it was a great finish of my road-trip.


Playing Lean at St Mark's College (Source)
Playing Lean at St Mark’s College (Source)


I would like to thank:


Closing remarks

Setting up such a massive undertaking while heavily constrained in regards to resources was quite a task. It was challenging, but also very rewarding experience. I got to meet a lot of amazing people, had great discussions, learned a lot, seen a lot, and enjoyed Australia’s amazing nature and wildlife.

Thank you all.

Playing Lean Australia, Zealandia and East Asia

Contact me for Playing Lean lectures, explanations, and workshops.