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The power of experience

Have you ever had to describe your favourite holiday destination to a friend, but struggled to do it justice?

Sure, you can share videos of Niagara Falls with your bestie and tell them how awe-inspiring and incredible it was – they nod and say ‘wow, looks amazing…’, and then you say “yeah it was, but you really need to have been there to understand…”

A lived experience is an incredibly powerful one, and when trying to understand emotions, environments and complex processes the only way to truly ‘get’ them is to have experienced them yourself.

To tell a story, or to live a story.

We’ve recently been exploring this concept and looking into how it can really take employee engagement up a gear.

We’ve already spoken about the power of storytelling in internal communications, but what if you’re not just able to tell a story, but transport someone into being the main character in a story of their own making? The result goes beyond storytelling and into a lived experience.

Oh, to be a kid again…

A wonderful example of this can be found in Duplo’s recent video.

LEGO DUPLO: parents turn into toddlers

We turned parents into toddlers (spoiler: they made a HUGE mess 😂 ). But what they discovered changed the way they see their children…

Posted by LEGO DUPLO on Friday, 10 November 2017

 

Using Augmented reality and some fancy oven mitts, the brickmaker used technology to regress recent parents back to toddler age. These adults tried to build, paint, put on an apron, and found everything much more difficult to do, as the technology had made them experience doing things like a toddler again.

After their experience, each parent was left with a compelling sense of empathy for their children and the challenges they face on a daily basis. As one parent put it, “I think I will be more patient with my son from now on” – a new level of empathy and understanding inspired by their lived experience. And while it was just an example of what it feels like to be a toddler, the experience went a long way in helping these adults understand the challenges others may face.

How can this support internal communications?

One of our favourite clients recently approached us with a challenge. Growth was a key topic of discussion within their upcoming business performance conversations, but growth is complicated, multi-faceted, and at times, quite random. So, how could we help their people appreciate the importance and complexities of business growth, so they could have meaningful conversations about the topic with their managers?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could make them all the CEO of their own businesses, and task them with growing it through their own understanding of business development and strategic leadership… imagine what they’d learn by having to make these decisions and seeing the outcome of the business themselves?

A game of growth

We explored how we could bring this to life, through an online game about growth that the employees would actually play a part in; making key decisions as they took on a small financial organisation through 18 months of focused growth… or not!

With just three weeks to develop the game ready for the client’s Leadership Conference, we mapped out a narrative and flow, so that as part of the game the players would make key decisions about their business each quarter, and this would have a real impact on how their business performed. Think of it a bit like those ‘choose your own adventure’ stories that you read as a kid, but with less wizards and witches, and more strategic leadership.
We also threw a little resource management in there, and a ‘disaster round’, so that the players would also experience the random, often harsh realities of business when key resources weren’t invested in the right places.

With some great design and visuals that convey how well, or not, the players are doing, we’ve created a fun but educational experience for colleagues that gives them an interactive experience and a report that they can take into their business performance discussions to share their experience of growth and what it means with their managers.

What’s also great is that all the user journeys are mapped and each player is given a leadership profile. Over time we will be able to see the makeup of the business, and the dominant/passive leadership types that exist across the company, providing us with some very useful data for learning and development!

Growing the game of growth

With the game created so quickly, we had to ensure we had a really strong core experience for colleagues to interact with, in the time that we had to build it. For version two, we’ve already seen an opportunity for more complex and rich story structures, more detailed leadership mapping types, and a host of other elements. These will not only make the game more fun and interesting to play, but also more closely reflect the turbulent and complex nature of growth in a business context, allowing for even richer conversations during Performance Review season.

 

How can experiences and gamification help you?

What can these concepts do to really help your people understand the businesses they work for?

Maybe you’d like a game to help your people gain a better understanding of how your products are designed, made, and distributed? Or help them understand why procurement processes are as complex as they are? Or to experience why innovation, customer service, and business development are essential for business success?

We’re excited to be able to combine communications and technology to bring these experiences to life for employees, and we’re always on the lookout for our next challenge!