‘21 DAYS’ TO INNOVATION
Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) in
France has developed “21 Days: The Innovation
Quest,” a new serious game designed to teach
master’s level and executive education students six
dimensions of innovation. The game is inspired by
research that indicates that it takes at least 21 days
of repetitive activity for an individual to establish a
new routine or learn a new skill.
In the game, players are stranded on a virtual island
where they are given 21 tubes and a diary. Each
day, they open a tube containing a scroll inscribed
with that day’s 15-minute mission, which they must
complete using limited resources. Each mission is
designed to teach a key component of innovative
thinking. After 21 days, players will have completed
six hours of training. The game is available in an
online version or as a hard-copy board game, which
looks similar to the Advent calendars used by many
to count down the days until Christmas.;
The board game is meant for executive education
students, explains Hélène Michel, a professor
at GEM who specializes in innovation management
and the development of serious games. Michel
mentions one group of managers at a large insurance
company who have played the game as part
of a group. “After each session, the board game is
given to a new participant, so each game is traveling around the world. As the participants interact
with the game, taking information and giving new
information, they build a community of players
sharing the same view on innovation,” she says. “In
game design, we say, ‘You come for the game, you
stay for the guild!’”
The digital version is meant for graduate-level
students. In December of 2017, for example, 1,000
students in GEM’s master of innovation management
program played the virtual version of the
game. The students received daily email notifications
to complete that day’s task.
Since then, developers have integrated “21
Days” into Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar. When
“21 Days” becomes part of the daily to-do tasks
on each player’s own calendar, “it aims to make
innovation a routine,” Michel emphasizes. The
game acts as a behavioral “nudge,” she adds, that
encourages players to embrace and adopt more
innovative behaviors and mindsets.
The first version of “21 Days” was developed in
the OpenLab Ideas Laboratory, also based in the
city of Grenoble, in collaboration with Low Tech
Lab, a collaborative research project; Suez, a company
that helps organizations manage resources
more sustainably; and GEM’s research Chair for
Public Trust in Health.
Visit 21daysquest.com for more information.
CHANGING MINDS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
If research studies outlining the effects of climate
change won’t move people to save the planet,
maybe a game will. That’s the idea behind World
Climate Simulation, an online game in which
groups of people play the roles of U.N. delegates
negotiating a global climate change agreement.
The research-based simulation, which can last
from 45 minutes to three hours, is intended to help
everyone from high school students to executives
develop critical thinking, systems thinking, communication,
and negotiation skills.
John Sterman, a climate scientist and professor
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s
Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, is a
co-creator of the game. He recently conducted
research on the impact of the simulation with lead
author Juliette Rooney-Varga, associate professor
of environmental sciences at the University of
Massachusetts in Lowell, and seven other co-authors.
According to the study, which appeared in
August 2018 in PLOS ONE, 81 percent of users who
engaged in the role-playing simulation expressed
an increased motivation to combat climate change.
Funded by the National Science Foundation,
the World Climate Simulation has been used in
institutions and organizations in 85 countries.
Learn more and view a 60-minute webinar aboutrunning the simulation.
OPEN SOURCE ON ALEXA
Canvas, an open online learning management
system created by Instructure, has made the code
for its Canvas Skill app for Amazon Alexa open
source. Launched last year, Canvas Skill for Amazon
Alexa enables users to link their Canvas accounts
within the Alexa app so that they can ask Alexa for
details about their courses. Canvas leaders hope
that, by making the code open source, they will
encourage the 350,000 members of their customer
community to design their own applications to
be deployed on Alexa. Such apps might focus on
simplifying tasks such as providing feedback to
learners or checking in on at-risk students.