BrainBank: Scategories

This afternoon I was at my mentor’s baby shower in New York. At baby showers, many games are played. One game we played was Scategories: Baby Version. To play Scategories, every player receives the same list of categories. Someone rolls a dice whose faces have different letters of the alphabet. Whatever letter the dice rolls on is the letter of each response to every category on the list you receive. The object of the game is to come up with as many responses that no one else  has before the time runs out. The trick to winning the game is having creative answers.

What constitutes a creative answer? For example, today one of the categories was baby food and the letter was ‘S.’ Most people wrote down squash or spinach, so their answers cancelled out one another’s. I, on the the other hand, wrote smashed spaghetti. Does a person go to the store and buy smashed spaghetti? No. But, babies do eat smashed adult food. Spaghetti is adult food. Spaghetti begins with an S. And so does smashed. Double S= bonus points. And no worry of someone else having my answer.

Creative answers make Scategories so much fun to play. Some answers are not expected and the justification makes for a fun conversation. However, there is a difference between creative answers and stretches. There have been countless times when people tried to justify answers that just don’t work.

It is interesting to see how people use their imagination to justify their answers. People break boundaries, ignore reality, and do not limit themselves in order to get a point. The competition and the pressure to not lose will push someone’s mind. I am a really structured and realistic thinker, but when I play games, my imagination runs wild. I also think strategically which allows my thinking process to differ in order to find the best solution. This can be applied in a design situation or a problem solving situation. Just like a person will find ways to get around rules in order to win knowing that half the time their attempt will be dismissed, the same thing should be applied with design. Although I know that when I throw out a stretch answer it will probably be denied, I still try anyways. There has been many events though when these stretch answers have been accepted. If I never would have written them and put them out there because I thought it wouldn’t work, I would not have received those points. Those points can cost you a game.

If I treat real life situations like a game and put out ideas that may not be the obvious answer to a solution but works, who knows where it will lead me.


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