Serious gaming is about practicing activities under realistic circumstances in a safe setting. Recent research confirms what we already knew at CQM from our long training experience: serious gaming increases training effectiveness and is perceived to be more fun .
For over 30 years now, CQM consultants have been helping multinational companies underpin their R&D decisions for products ranging from keg beer tappers to wafer steppers. Over the years we have developed a highly effective way of working and gained valuable insights through our involvement in development processes over such a long period. Typically, the steps that have proven most critical in R&D decisions are:
- Defining and sharpening the R&D decision to be taken
- Applying the appropriate statistical model/analysis to the decision/question
- Conducting the analysis using the tools available (e.g. Minitab, JMP, etc.)
- Interpreting the outcomes and communicating back to stakeholders
Training and developing our customers’ engineers on the basis of our insights from real-life development processes has always been central to our philosophy. In fact, CQM has been effectively been using serious gaming concepts in training and awareness sessions for many years now, applying real-life situations simulated as training exercises. Examples include:
- To raise awareness of the SPC approach, managers and operators are placed in a simulated production process with responsibilities to control the process using SPC practices.
- To confront them with obstructive convictions in terms of experimentation, and to help them learn how to experiment efficiently, engineers face simulated ‘real-life’ processes for the design and interpretation of experiments (e.g. DoE training)
- Simulations of complex logistics processes for ‘real-life improvement applications’ of the DMAIC Six Sigma approach. Teams compete to achieve the best improvements applying the trained methodologies in a simulated real-life situation.
In such situations, the goal is to unlock the potential of quantitative methods in decision-making. To make this happen, each of steps A to D is equally important. Because the most advanced statistical techniques can never compensate for a fuzzy R&D question or poor communication with stakeholders.
From feedback on our training sessions, we know that participants recognize their real-life work situation, and are challenged to apply and experiment with the new methodologies. The learning curve is steepened by building in real-life circumstances that trigger pitfalls, not only technically but also in behaviour. Which is why we usually work with the support of partners with expertise in human dynamics. A recent example of such a collaboration resulted in a serious robot innovation game (see The Art of Engineering: addressing behavior, content and culture in a serious game setting. http://www.dfss.nl/the-art-of-engineering/#sthash.aFWE7Tkp.dpuf).
We would be very interested to hear your opinion on this area, and the opportunities you see in your organization to unlock the power of quantitative methods using serious gaming. What for you are typical situations? Which obstructions need to be overcome? What are the organizational interests and stakeholders that will have to be managed? Working with our partners, CQM can create the training environment that will be most effective for your people and their circumstances.
We believe in the power of quantitative methods. Are you ready to enable your employees to apply them?
 Oprins, E., M. Bakhuys-Roozeboom, and G. Visschedijk , Effectiviteit van serious gaming in het onderwijs, TNO report.