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Client: Albert Heijn

Albert Heijn, a well-known Dutch supermarket chain, is keen to encourage creativity and entrepreneurial spirit within their purchasing team. By improving these traits, it will help them to better react to the incredibly dynamic market they operate within. They asked IJsfontein to come up with a clever but playful solution to help them do just that. We created the so-called ‘Table Games’: a long-term project using both analogue and digital tools to achieve these desired behavioural changes.

The Table Games are a way for employees to escape from their daily routine, and will help them structure the uncharted territory of innovation at the same time. It will encourage employees to show a different side of themselves. Teams are inspired to apply different brainstorming techniques and come up with new ideas, by giving them a challenge. Each challenge takes ten days and has a carefully chosen theme.

No idea is a bad idea.

The challenges are supported by an application that helps the teams with their group dynamic, carrying out research (design thinking), brainstorming, as well as pitching their ideas. At the end of the ten days, all submitted ideas will be shared and the winners will be announced.

During a challenge no idea is a bad idea: rocking the boat is allowed, or even desired. Every idea is potentially a good idea. Teasers, nice-to-knows, facts, photos and questions are shared on a life-size advertising display in the office, in the run up to the challenge.

Taking part in a challenge is voluntary. This is a conscious design choice. By making participation voluntary, you give your employees the power of autonomy, and call on their intrinsic motivation. This is exactly what we were after.


The first 18 months were a great success and resulted in 12 challenges, 505 fantastic ideas and 85 pitches. 90% of the teams took part in more than three challenges. These results are considerable, seen as participation was voluntary. We truly believe that mandatory participation would not have improved the quality or number of ideas, compared to those submitted by 90% of the teams. Teams that voluntarily and enthusiastically thrown themselves at these challenges.

The teams and their managers all confirm that their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit has improved. And, last but not least, the teams also use the Table Games app when there is a need to brainstorm together, even when they are not taking part in a challenge.

Practise what you preach

The Table Games are all about experimenting: coming up with ideas, developing, testing and adapting prototypes. As we strongly believe that you need to practise what you preach, we have decided to start experimenting ourselves, to further test and improve the app if necessary.

We were keen to connect all the tools that were developed in the last two years. To explore how we could best do this, we created an analogue version of the Table Games. By giving each table (team) a bespoke analogue game box, they were led through the complete process of inspiring them, creating ideas and gathering feedback. These analogue boxes are a prototype only, but developed as close to reality as possible. As if you’re taking part in a real challenge. On the basis of the feedback we receive, we will continue to develop and further improve the project. Either digitally or analogue.

Looking for a partner in education?

IJsfontein has vast experience within the education sector, in learning through play and courses for behavioural changes. For more information, please contact us by email: info@ijsfontein.nl, or call us on +31 20 33 00 111.