How Cheating Led to a Creative Breakthrough

Josh Linkner
May 28, 2018

Josh Linkner

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, NY Times bestselling author and venture capitalist.

The game of Monopoly, a legendary cash cow for Hasbro, has remained relevant and compelling for over 100 years by evolving with the times. Since the first game became a hit in 1903, the company has released specialty editions including Pokemon Edition, Mega Monopoly, Electronic Banking, Star Wars, the Simpsons, and Monopoly Millionaire. With so much success and so many versions, where could the company possible go next?

A years-old customer insight was the clue. Realizing that over 50% of players cheat while playing, the creative wizards at Hasbro locked their sights on a bold idea: a Cheater's Edition of the legendary game.


Set to launch this summer, players will enjoy an irresistible experience. Game designers studied the 15 most popular cheats, such as moving the wrong number of spots on a dice roll, robbing money from the bank, and stealing another player's hotel. Fun and funny new cheats were also added, ranging from price gouging to identity theft. The game takes on a whole new dimension, as participants not only tackle traditional challenges but also try to sneak a deviant move past fellow players without apprehension. Two years of creative design has helped launch a game that's poised to be more fun, faster, and sure to generate uncontrollable laughter.

Hasbro artists asked two critical questions to unlock their creative breakthrough:

1. What is something customers do, want, or feel that is non-traditional or unexpected?
2. What rules would we need to break in order to deliver on those customer desires, in a bold and profoundly different manner?

While most of us aren't lucky enough to work in the Hasbro game design lab, we can apply a similar approach to our own business efforts. These critical questions can be applied to any industry, field, or craft. If we remove the traditional barriers that restrict our thinking, we liberate progress.

The new Cheater's Edition will undoubtedly be a raging success, further endearing millions of fans to the Monopoly brand. Instead of resting on their laurels, the company continues to reinvent itself, pushing the creative boundaries and delivering relevant and compelling value to their customers. Let's follow their lead by reimagining the products, services, and experiences we offer, wandering into unfamiliar territory to enable sustainable success.

And you don't even have to pull a fast one to get there.

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