CEO INTERVIEW PLAY2LEAD
New Success Stories - Asia
Exclusive Interviews by HR Digital Today with market leading HR Tech pioneers.
Theresa Lim, Founder & CEO
When a new company wins an award you take note. When it is the Singapore Workforce Development Authority Innovation Flame Awards 2016, you know the competition must have been tough and innovative. This is the prize carried off by PLAY2LEAD, a young startup...they won the second prize as well!
PLAY2LEAD is a gamified mobile and web application that helps companies make corporate learning fun, memorable and impactful. Companies can now in a single platform engage and motivate audiences before, during and after live events such as workshops. This accelerates their learning towards the desired behaviour change. The more audience members participate, the more points they earn. Participants can see results and their name climbing up a leaderboard that is displayed in the room. The speaker and the audience can see in real time what the audience has understood.
Companies like Samsung, Cochlear and NTUC run activities including quizzes and polls so that employees across the organisation can engage, learn quickly and retain the information.
We contacted the Founder and CEO Theresa Lim to earn more about PLAY2LEAD.
Your on-line service certainly looks fun and engaging. Please give us an outline of the features, benefits and the aims of PLAY2LEAD.
When you go to a training class hopefully you have had a great day. But when you leave the training room you have probably already forgotten a lot of the new information. Our aim is to make training more fun, before during and after a workshop or conference. With PLAY2LEAD you are better motivated, more able to focus on the topic and then able to apply the new skills in the work place.
Participants access our web app on their smartphones or tablets. There is no need for a download. This means trainers can reach participants via email, text or social media, without running any risk of participants/learners deleting a native app.
We can see the percentage of people answering the question correctly. The speaker can also view these results. Each learner can see if their response is right or wrong and see how many answered correctly.
Learners can also connect with their peers via social media. They can link with learners, who responded correctly to the same questions, or share similar opinions, or simply because they see a name on the leaderboards and want to connect. The audience can see who is coming top in real-time across all the questions and for each question. This is a good reason for people to focus on the training.
If a name is not on the leader board then they have not "participated" in the session.
As part of our on-boarding experience we help our trainers re-think rewards and prizes. Our leader board is not reflecting those who are smart but those who participate. We want our learners to be motivated by fun prizes, not the usual vanilla prizes such as gift certificates.
One a recent test that we conducted in one company, prior, during and after refresher training, we found a 49% uplift of correct answers to quiz questions. People were learning from their mistakes and from the game like experience of PLAY2LEAD.
What type of companies are using PLAY2LEAD?
These are companies providing product knowledge training, sales, sales enablement training, as well as leadership training. I would like to see greater interest from companies focussed on being future ready and offering talent development, so their people have the future skills that they will need.
We are also creating our own 21st century skills content focusing on micro learning and micro practices, and are piloting the program with a Singapore government agency as well as several private sector companies who are leading the way in solving the worsening global skills shortage. This content is curated based on world leading, neuroscience-based sources.
We are raising our seed round now, led by a small group of prominent Singaporean and Australian investors to help us accelerate our growth plans - so if you are a strategic investor that can also help us accelerate our growth, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Google has identified some key facts in their Project Aristotle Research. For a example, in a successful team you can see they have built up "psychological safety" within the team and empathy between the people in the team. This means equal turn taking in conversations, the quiet people are not drowned out. Teams are then truly high performing. We will soon be releasing, for private beta testing, our micro-learning and micro-practices platform. This gives focus and help to companies to provide skills to their so they will be "future ready".
When I was head of marketing in my previous company, I organised leadership events. I soon realised that I could not tell how many attendees were going to take the next step - take action and fulfil what I wanted them to do! So a way to measure "employee engagement" was the next obvious step, to construct a solution. I had seen these trends developing and I realised that, if designed well, they would work well and motivate. Then we asked the question - will the user use it ? Will they use it more than once, without prompting? We had to find a way to retain learner interest.
Tell us about your award.
Yes, we were delighted to have won the Singapore Workforce Development Authority InnovPlus Flame Competition in April 2016. We were the lead partner in prototyping an integrated Virtual Reality/gamified mobile learning platform to improve safety training.
We also won the 2nd prize for our proposal to improve retail training of millennial staff. This deepens customer empathy using VR and makes micro learning fun through team-based and individual challenges. This is created by trainers on our self-service platform.
The user login and the real-time learner analytics are much easier to understand on our mobile web app than on a VR headset, so that’s what we’ve built.
What is the user experience? When a live audience gives feedback at an event what are the timescales for results analysis and feedback?
At a face-to-face learning event (e.g. conference or workshop), the learner can see on their smart phone as well as on the big screen real-time results, showing which questions they answered correctly and the audience aggregated results. The trainer can allow a participant to see who else answered correctly and then they can connect with their peers via social media. Here is just one reason why we can get almost 100% participation - it is thanks to our gamification elements - i.e. each user is motivated to get points for their participation, then they can connect with others via social media, and be seen to be climbing up the leaderboard.
From your pedigree background in blue chip mobile technology and education, what was the product development path for PLAY2LEAD?
For our first version we focused on lead generation because as the former head of marketing for ThoughtWorks (a leader in agile software development), I was frustrated by results after running thought leadership events - it was hard for me to know what my target audience was learning at our events, and how best to qualify the leads to accelerate the sales funnel.
Our new version, which we released in June, focuses on learning and behaviour change. We focussed on this aspect after hearing more and more comments from our trainer customers. They were concerned for their corporate clients who found ROI on learning was poor. Most participants quickly forget topics they had learnt and struggled to apply their learning.
Are you seeing any patterns as to whom are your primary customers?
Yes. Event organisers and trainers need to measure for their corporate customers, which elements the participants are actually learning. Their corporate customers expect a highly engaging experience. Users are typically salespeople, leadership teams and recently construction workers, using PLAY2LEAD with safety training.
How do you get seamless integration with mobiles and PCs?
The user visits our URL on their smartphone. There is no need to download an app. We picked this route to prevent any risk of learners not having sufficient space on their mobile phone for a download. We can also operate behind an employer's app, if they have one. We are in effect a white label service.
We can integrate with native apps with links to our mobile web app. The session login passes seamlessly between the native app and our web app.
You are expanding fast, what do you look for in your people?
We look for staff with:-
Integrity - comfortable to make mistakes, yet quick to own the mistakes and learn from them.
Empathy - caring about each other and our customers and their customers/users.
Creativity - able to think differently to challenge me and each other.
What is your end goal?
Our vision is to to help everyone find daily fulfilment through learning. We are not an edtech(K-12) company, but we can affect social change by helping employees be more fulfilled by learning more effectively, and bringing this beneficial mindset to their families and communities.
What do you see in the future?
We are a startup, our exit plan is to be bought out in a few years by data players, e.g. Linkedin, Gartner etc.
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