NoviCraft: virtual world team building

novicraft NoviCraft is one of the more fascinating virtual world business offerings by Finnish company, TeamingStream. That fascination comes not from the platform itself, but the theoretical underpinnings of it. This is a world designed purely for business-related training and team-building purposes.

I took the opportunity to fire a few questions at TeamingStream’s CEO, Petri Ahokangas, about NoviCraft.

Lowell: What platform is the application built on?

Petri: NoviCraft is built on Epic’s Unreal Engine and it was officially launched in December last year. NoviCraft is off-the-shelf multiplayer teambuilding, collaboration, and leadership training game developed by a group of learning scientists, human resource development specialists, and serious game developers for the corporate learning industry. Our customers include top HRD consultancies, big and medium-sized companies, universities and other training organizations.

Lowell: Could you give more detail on the team building specifics that are encountered in the game?

Petri: The game is pedagogically scripted to make the participants aware of the different elements of collaboration, team learning, negotiation, and leadership through five team puzzles – and thus learning from the game experience. The first puzzle focuses on enhancing communication, building of psychological trust, and giving and receiving help among the participants. The second puzzle is about encouraging exploration, coordination of work, and establishing goal orientation. The third puzzle encourages
Thinking–out–loud as a team, sharing of information and helps to create an efficient problem-solving skills for the participants as a team. The fourth puzzle brings in risk taking and strategy creation as a team. The final puzzle is about joint planning and efficient execution of the plan.

In a nutshell, all major challenges of the modern workplace have been modeled to the game and can be practiced in a safe environment in a cost effective way. NoviCraft is not a simulation, it is real collaboration between people which makes it very effective as a learning tool. The learning process is theoretically grounded, supported by metrics, and the trainer or consultant (the game master) can monitor and control the performance of the playing team.

Lowell: So what have been some of the more common utilisations of NoviCraft to date?

Petri: Typical use cases for NoviCraft include leadership and management training, cross- and multi-cultural collaboration, virtual and distributed team collaboration training, team building, supervisor training, personnel evaluation/appraisal, and coaching boards of directors and management teams. Our customers have said that NoviCraft is a fun and efficient way to learn about their teamwork skills and it helps both individuals and teams to improve. After the game the participants can go through a workshop where they can analyze their performance, strengths and areas where they need improvement. The NoviCraft game experience can also greatly add the value of traditional management and leadership training.

Lowell: What level of expense is an enterprise looking at to deploy NoviCraft?

Petri: NoviCraft’s price depends on the number of users and the constellation of the software, but the typical limited license is between twenty and forty thousand Euros (20000-40000 €) depending on the case.

Serious games initiatives are nothing new, but Novicraft seems to be one of more fleshed out models for business. At close to forty-thousand dollars Australian to implement, only the larger enterprises would consider NoviCraft, but its breadth remains appealing. What will truly differentiate NoviCraft is its touted metrics: if tangible benefits for a business are realised, its implementation costs may suddenly seem less of a barrier.

Thanks to CyberTech News for the heads-up.


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