Create transformative innovation

Gamification for good

Highlights
  • Gamification offers an effective medium for development and experimentation in corporate communications.
  • Gamification creates a high level of engagement with the target message.
  • Rapid development “hackerthons” are effective ways to create innovative approaches to genuine challenges.
  • Rapidly developed prototyping is the first step in an iterative process.

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Big organisations need big ideas when it comes to finding creative ways to engage stakeholders. It’s a challenge faced by not-for-profit World Vision, Australia’s largest charitable group. With a staff of 22,500 working in communities across more than 90 countries, the organisation raises $1.5 billion every year thanks to the generosity of about 400,000 Australians.

Jumping in sun set

Generosity, however, cannot be taken for granted, which means World Vision needs to come up with creative techniques to stay at the forefront of public engagement. It’s a challenge World Vision manager of business technology Andy Barker, took to the Fast Solution Hub at Vantage™, Telstra’s annual landmark business event experience that enables customers to connect, collaborate and create.

“The problem we took to the Fast Solution Hub was ‘How can we rethink our retail space to better engage children and families?’” says World Vision manager of business technology Andy Barker. “We’ve got about 60 retail locations around the country, but you’ve probably seen when somebody’s asking for a donation, people just walk right around!

Telstra’s Fast Solution Hub program drew on the skills and expertise of Telstra tech staff, and technology partners to rapidly design and develop solutions to customer challenges.

Barker needed something that would actually draw people into conversations with World Vision sales representatives in shopping centres. The starting point was to use technology to capture the attention of children, so as to create an opportunity for parents to also engage.

“We ran through a bunch of different ideas on the software and a few different iterations but we ended up with a game at Vantage™,” says Barker. “Using footage of children dancing from a World Vision project in Africa, and Microsoft’s Kinect software, the team created an interactive experience that could place children among their developing world peers to dance along with them.”

World Vision is far from alone in using game-based outreach. More than 70 per cent of Forbes Global 2000 companies are thought to be using gamification for marketing and customer retention. With the proliferation of devices such as smartphones and tablets facilitating games and similar interactive media, there is great scope to inject a little play into the work of customer relations.

Drinking water in village

You’ve probably seen when somebody’s asking for a donation, people just walk right around! So we were looking for something more engaging.

The solution was built within a 16-hour “hackathon” program as part of the event. As well as the gamified experience, the solution also creates personalised Christmas cards, and has formed the basis for further development work between World Vision and Telstra.

“The Fast Solutions Hub program allowed us to channel a start-up culture with innovation and rapid prototyping together with our customers and partners,” says Andrew Ward, Marketing Group Manager – Enterprise Solutions, “I know the experience has really captured the hearts of those involved – working for such great causes, it isn’t hard to see why.”

According to Barker the game was successful in enabling kids to come to grips with the realities of life for those in developing countries and to appreciate some of the difficulties they face in finding clean water.

“The game involved a virtual water pump: up to six kids compete with each other to see who can pump the fastest,” says Barker. “Once five litres of virtual water have been drawn, the pumps dispense facts about water use in the developing world.”

Barker hopes the games will evolve based on feedback during public exposure at the trial sites in two Westfield shopping centres.

“Our plan is to do that over our Christmas delivery period,” Barker says. “Depending on whether we’re successful we’ll look at how we scale this out to all our other retail stands for other campaigns next year.”

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