Example of production
A Futuristic Digital Escape Game for Axpo’s Annual Strategy Meeting
For Axpo’s 2021 annual strategy meeting, the company turned to gaming to present new strategic messages to its key employees by creating a digital game inspired by its purpose, positioning and future challenges. Axpo is Switzerland’s largest renewable energy company, it’s also a global leader in energy trading and the marketing of solar and wind power. Naturally, the conglomerate turned to Emeraude Escape to create a corporate digital game projecting its players into 2050 where environmental issues take over the world and required being solved by their teams.
2050, the use of renewable energy is enshrined in the International Constitution. Thanks to their knowledge and innovating spirit, the Axpo engineers and researchers have created a renewable energy network that is unique in the world. The project will produce and distribute renewable energy based on the newest technology, techniques and an excellent collaborative work. This success has been largely celebrated around the world, but an artificial intelligence wants to take over and decides to freeze several production sites in different countries with its extra-long distance freezer laser beam. You and your partners all over the world of The Axpo Special Secret team are in charge of the most perilous mission in the company. Today you’re called to unfreeze the facilities immediately, you only have one hour before the whole network shuts down. This work can only be done collaboratively because each site is linked to each other. The whole world economy is depending on you!
Emeraude Escape sat down with Martine Graziano, Head of Transformation & Innovation at Axpo for a quick chat after the game launch to share her views on the whole experience.
What was Axpo’s approach to this project? and why did you choose a digital game?
We have a management meeting once a year and given the health context with the pandemic, it was difficult to host that event. We also wanted something different by engaging people so we thought gamification would work and that’s how the project started
Our main goals were to engage coworkers, allow them to have fun, connect them to each other, all while transferring key knowledge.
Axpo had a new strategy with complex information in different areas and focuses, that’s what the knowledge transfer was about. The existing staff, the management staff had already heard the presentation and read the documentation, but we wanted to add a different layer of engagement by creating this game. It offers a different way of learning and reinstating the message, through resolving puzzles.
Can you tell us more about the game itself?
What would Axpo be in the future, that was the main idea which was fun and not too serious, it allowed us to have different scenarios and we came up with different areas to solve some puzzles to go to Mars in the end. But it was a good combination of different pieces of the strategy, relevant today and in the future. So, it was quite futuristic but cool! Strategy is all about investing in the present and projecting in the future.
It was also about saving the world from aliens which was the fun aspect that Emeraude Escape brought in. It was quite a successful co-creation process between Axpo and Emeraude Escape. On our end, three of us were elaborating the game, a colleague from Strategy, another coworker in Communications and myself (Head of Transformation & Innovation), which brought some diversity to the way of thinking. And on Emeraude Escape’s side, we had the Project Managers with their cool ideas which enriched and gamified the whole experience. There was more diversity and overall wealth, I work in innovation, and it shows that when different minds come together, we can make great things happen.
What were the challenges that needed to be met throughout the development of the project?
The timeline was one of our biggest challenges. We decided about 8 weeks before that we wanted to create a game. It was supposed to be launched at a management meeting with about 120 employees, so it was a launch that had to be ready on time. We had to piece it all together by having great compelling stories and content to share and engage with. It was a big task because of the different combinations that had to happen between gamification, strategy, a big event with people and a quite few challenges, I think we’ve done extraordinarily well.
There were a few technical difficulties on our end that were due to Axpo’s technical setup, but we’ve managed to have great feedback. It was a very agile approach where we were testing the game and then making corrections and changes. We learn as we go by.
What positive results did you experience after the digital game?
The feedback was very positive from people who were able to play the game. The game was fun and engaging and it was something totally new on behalf of Axpo. Our CEO thought that the project was cool and was glad to see Axpo can offer this kind of digital projects.
Usually when it comes to strategy meetings, people are receiving information from traditional platforms such as presentations and keynotes and we’ve managed to engage them, provoke them a little bit and they happily took it. So, it was a very positive experience overall.
It was also about collaboration, there were group setups meaning that 5 people from different units played the game together, they got randomly paired together, they were able to chat together and foster collaboration within the Axpo Group and the companies within.
The employees come from very different professional backgrounds and departments within the group: from Finance to Marketing byway of Production and Sales… It was mainly the top 120 managers around the world working at Axpo. It was very interesting for us to get the different feedback from such a professionally diverse group.
Can you share some metrics about the game?
We know that the game has been played over 350 times (some people played it more than once!), the overall time of completion was around 48 minutes, which is a fantastic score. This means that employees were able to sit through and engage with the game for over 45 minutes. Some people completed the game in 25 minutes, while others took over an hour to get to the end.
Would you recommend Emeraude Escape?
It was a very fun experience, and the team was very responsive. The workflow was positive because of the fast-working pace that allowed us to move forward quickly. The tools that were used were very efficient, from Game Design to Graphic Design, it was very helpful for us to be able to track the development of the game through intuitive tools that Emeraude Escape uses. The team was all ears and available and made sure that everything was delivered despite the tight schedule we were under. There was always an excitement to try out new things, thinking outside the box and trying to deliver over the line.