In the summer of 2020 we initiated an ambitious game project with the intention to develop a serious game about unconscious bias. We wanted to make an experience that creates awareness on what biases are and how they work. This game could work as an intervention in programmes or activities about diversity & inclusion for organisations that want to start a conversation with their employees and customers on this topic.
In order to do this we connected with a group of wonderful partners that acted as launching customers. They embarked on this journey with us with the intention to co-create this game. It was a challenging but valuable experience and we are grateful that this group of partners undertook this journey with us not knowing where it would lead to.
‘Blindspot – an experience about unconscious bias’ is a game in which we aim to trigger the players own biases by engaging them in a set of challenges as part of a compelling storyline. This should act as a conversation starter on how these biases are present in daily life.
In all fairness, the current version of this game does not deliver on these goals. Although we are proud on the fact that we put this game out there and grateful for the trust our launching partners place in the intervention as it is, we feel like this is not the result we aim for.
First of all our ambition to put so much into the game (amount of biases and information) has resulted in complexity and information overload that diminishes the user experience and learning effect. Secondly the desired effect to actually trigger players own unconscious biases through a generic, digital and scalable intervention like this proved to be too far reach in the way that we pursued in the current game.
We believe that this topic is far too important to leave it to this attempt. We also believe that a game can still be a powerful intervention that helps organisations to raise awareness on unconscious bias. That is why Fresh Forces decided to initiate a new project for a new pivot of this game with the intention to create a more impactful version that we currently offer.
And we slightly changed our approach in order to learn from the first project. The most important change is the actual gameplay approach. We have done a lot of research on what can increase the learning effect of this game in a safe and playful intervention. This lead to a series of design principles that lay the foundation for this new game. Most importantly instead of hiding the biases hoping that they would be triggered in the game, we now put them on the foreground very explicitly. We will go into these principles in our next blog.
It took us a while to get our head around this and pivot a few first versions of the new design in order the experiment with new mechanics to find this new approach. This resulted in a bit more radio silence from our end than we are used to while we are building the first prototype.
However, the time is now to again approach our wonderful community of people and organisations that share our first prototype for this game. We want to invite you to play with us and allow us to learn from these experiments, eventually leading to a powerful intervention.
In the coming months we will provide you with the opportunity to review demo’s and engage in playtesting sessions as part of a new journey to create an impactful game that does justice to the topic of unconscious bias in the context of diversity and inclusion.