Creating Winners is the daughter company of AQ Services International, a global mystery shopping company. AQ Services manages a coaching and rewards department and aims to help clients adapt to the changing retail environment and to increase their revenues and customer service levels. While running AQ Services, co-founders Jan-Willem Smulders and Jeroen de Koning began to create gamified learning programs that had a measurable impact on performance.

Leveraging the experience gained from that, they founded Creating Winners in 2016 to develop a cost-efficient, time-efficient, and customisable gamified learning and development platform for web and mobile platforms. They wanted companies to be able to educate and motivate staff while communicating among one another in real-time.

Learning Through Serious Gaming

Creating Winners
utilises the concept of serious gaming in its products, and Jan-Willem explained,
“A serious game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure
entertainment, for example to enhance a behaviour or to increase knowledge
which is used by industries like retail, defence, education, scientific
exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, and

Image Credit: Creating Winners

Its products use
gamified systems such as ranking, point and badge collection, battle modes,
collaborations and assignments and real mini-games. According to Jan-Willem, they’re
backed up by theories from Daniel Pink’s Drive and the 70/20/10 model to
empower memorable, engaging learning experiences for any industry.

Essentially, serious
gaming is meant to make learning a fun experience by tapping into our emotional
connections when we absorb information, which Jan-Willem said creates stronger
ties to the knowledge we are presented with, in turn increasing our retention
of that information.

Humans are emotional creatures. When we make strong emotional connections with things, we tend to remember them.

No More Need For Trainers Or Day-Long Seminars

Three of Creating
Winners’ four products that employ gamified systems to target retail woes are
RIA, ACE and Rhythm. RIA is a customisable web and mobile application that allows
Creating Winners’ clients to build an unlimited amount of gamified learning and
development trails. Clients can create a trail of assignments, videos, audio
recordings, roleplays, swiping quizzes or games and adjust scoring, badge and
crown collections to the structure.

Image Credit: Creating Winners

Players can play the
trails for as little as 15 minutes a day or at their own speed, and Jan-Willem
said that this negates the need to hire a trainer, and players won’t easily
forget the knowledge internalised through RIA in 36 hours the way they would
after a day-long seminar.

ACE lets players engage
in knowledge battles with each other and has differently-categorised games. For
example, if your company came up with a new product, you could have your
employees play the Sales and Performance games to keep them confident about its
details. If you’re adding to your team, the Rookie game is supposed to help
make onboarding easier.

Rhythm is a program made
to boost your company’s frontline performance and can be designed based on a
set of defined performance indicators. It allows users to take part in
co-creation, serious gaming, open communications, measurable feedback, and the
program can even take on a branded theme according to your company.

Adidas, Samsung & Levi’s Are Just Some Of Their Clients

Creating Winners started out targeting the retail industry with companies such as Adidas, Samsung, Club 21, Under Armour and Levi’s. However, “given the nature of the RIA application and the other products we are developing, we are finding interest from many other industries as well,” Jan-Willem said. “In the end, anyone looking at a fun and effective way to share knowledge or to change behaviour is interested in these products.”

The company monetises
through RIA and ACE, which are both scalable applications that are sold on a
per licensee (name-based) basis. RIA is Creating Winners’ core development, and
its second release is scheduled for October. “So far, US$400,000 has been
invested,” Jan-Willem shared.

Image Credit: Creating Winners

Developing RIA in the
beginning was rather challenging as Jan-Willem admitted that they had very
little understanding themselves of how to go about it.

“We worked with a
third party for the first iteration of the app, and learned a lot about what
was possible. The first version was very inflexible and our clients requested
more flexibility. As a result, we changed how we approached the development,
building a team specifically focused on creating the RIA app,” he said.

Since then, Creating Winners has had several proud accomplishments. Among them are how they had a 22% impact on net sales for Adidas as compared to non-participating stores and how their past projects demonstrated ROI exceeding 200% on the sales of specific products or on the adaptation of new policies.

Jan-Willem said that serious gaming isn’t well-known in Malaysia yet, but he’s confident that this will change over the next few years. “Malaysians love to game, are tech-savvy and are open to new things. Our customers here in Malaysia are open to trying new things, especially if they can save money and have a measurable impact.”

  • You can find out more about Creating Winners here.

Featured Image: Creating Winners

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