Rakshith Bhagavath

Rakshith Bhagavath is one of the founders of Gentle Bamboo Solutions, a gamification company specializing in learning and development based in Bangalore, India. In the last 7 years, Rakshith and his team have gathered vast experience in corporate training conducting game-based learning interventions and crafting gamified learning journeys.

Rakshith is co-creator of Dextr.io, a gamified interactive presentation tool for L&D and a member of the International Gamification Confederation, aka GamFed. He is also a trained theatre artiste and recognized as a Distinguished Toastmaster by Toastmasters International. When not obsessing over the fantasy novels of Jonathan Stroud, you can usually find Rakshith trying to get better at Chess.

Race for Rockets: 3 Keys to Building an Engaging Management Game

With the pandemic, classroom training has largely reduced in India. While companies are adapting to live virtual facilitation, issues surrounding technology, engagement, and participation persist. Experiential learning is being replaced by lectures; teams are operating in silos and there is little interaction between participants.  

Game-based learning, especially in virtual environments, is still looked at sceptically in India. Many doubts and misconceptions are expressed such as:

1. Games require a lot of animation and graphics. 
2. Games require a lot of time and investment into technology. 
3. Games can't be engaging in a virtual live environment with 40 participants and severe restrictions on peer to peer interaction.

These were some misgivings expressed by companies that wanted to train their teams to share knowledge, collaborate to achieve goals, and seek and create opportunities for success even as they work from home during the pandemic.

We set about building a game, "Race for Rockets" to answer these needs. The game invites teams to play as independent companies that must collaborate to build and launch a rocket for the Indian Space Research Program.

In designing and playtesting this game, we discovered 3 keys to designing effective management games for a live virtual environment. In this talk, we'll explore the inspiration behind these 3 keys:

1. What the Indian Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan Mission taught us about the importance of narrative and pride in games.
2. What playing the Pandemic board-game taught us about focusing on player-player interaction and player-game interaction; aesthetics, animation, and technology can enhance player experience, they don't have to define it. 
3. What improv's "Yes, And" principle taught us about embracing constraints when designing a game.

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