Novartis is a global healthcare company based in Switzerland that provides solutions to address the evolving needs of patients worldwide.
As part of an ongoing commitment to developing associates and supporting them in their continuous professional and personal growth, Novartis Legal launched a talent development program called “Talent Opportunity`s Performance” (TOP). A key aspect of TOP focused on functional and leadership competencies.
With 108 variations of leadership competencies to address, Novartis needed to build awareness in a way that wasn’t dull or dry to an already skeptical target group of legal professionals. It needed a new way of presenting leadership. Lack of engagement was hurting the business.
To address this challenge, a big statement was required.
The solution? A learning game for Novartis Legal employees to help raise awareness around key leadership competencies. Learning games must strike a delicate balance between being educational and engaging. If a game focuses too much on learning, it becomes artificial and forced. If it’s too much fun, then the opportunity for authentic learning can be diminished.
To create an authentic experience, we needed to embed learning objectives within the game itself. Instead of using an office setting to show leadership skills, we used the context of the Malaria Initiative, a program that Novartis is deeply passionate about. Set in Malawi, you meet Art, a health care worker helping to improve the distribution network of malaria treatments within the country. A little aloof, and not always organized, Art looks to your leadership to help accomplish his goals. While the context changed, the ideas behind leadership didn’t.
Larger learning objectives were transformed into playable levels, while the 108 leadership competencies helped learners evaluate varying degrees of leadership as they came up in the game.
For an extra layer of engagement, mini-games were added between levels. From sorting supplies, to speeding across Lake Malawi for an emergency delivery, learners not only had an enjoyable playing experience — they also learned more about the Malaria Initiative, a program that Novartis continually promotes within their organization. All this, while still trying to swat away those pesky mosquitoes.
The game harnessed the full functionality of the iPhone and provided a gaming experience that lived up to the expectations of a mobile consumer audience. Leaderboards were used to promote a little healthy competition, and a Challenge Mode was introduced for users to boost their score totals by testing their understanding of the leadership competencies.
All in all, “Art’s Adventure” created tremendous excitement for Novartis, and Art has now become a familiar face within the organization.
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