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Gamification takes centre stage in new innovation tool Blitz

Monday, 25 February 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

Australian gaming company 3rd Sense has outlined how it built an online tool called Blitz, developed by Dr Ken Hudson, which uses gamification principles to drive corporate innovation.


Hudson, a former marketing director of American Express, has a PhD in organisational creativity.


“I finished my doctorate in organisational creativity and I set up a creative thinking and innovation business,” Hudson told StartupSmart.


“What I saw, when I worked with managers and leaders, was when I gave them less time to solve a problem or generate an idea, not only could they do it but they could do it in a more creative, energised way.”


It was this realisation that prompted Hudson to create Blitz, which accelerates users’ thinking by having them create nine ideas in two minutes.


It then helps users enhance, evaluate and act on their initial ideas – also in a matter of minutes.


Hudson believes Blitz can make individuals and groups more energised, creative and productive, which in turn boosts innovation.


“Blitz enables managers, leaders and teams to be more engaged in the innovation process. It almost instantly produces creative, practical and relevant ideas and solutions,” Hudson says.


“We need creativity more than ever to drive innovation. Creativity is like a muscle; the more you practice the better you’ll become.”


Hudson enlisted the help of Australian gaming company 3rd Sense to build Blitz.


“I’d been reading more and more around gamification… [I also saw] my daughter play games on her mobile phone,” he says.


“It reminded me of immersion, playfulness, different skill levels… I thought it was a good idea to go and talk to a gaming company rather than go down the traditional software sort of route.”


Based in Sydney, 3rd Sense develops “intelligently targeted and creatively executed” apps across mobile, social, web and desktop.


It is also the creator and operator of consumer games website Fizzy.com, which is the largest independent, Australian-owned games website, with more than 700,000 members.


To make the user experience more enjoyable, 3rd Sense applied gamification principles to Blitz. For example, users can gain points, which helps businesses measure their innovation efforts.


“Dr Ken Hudson developed an innovative system for fostering corporate and individual creativity and problem-solving,” 3rd Sense said in a blog post.


“When he needed to make it into a connected app, he came to us.


“[The Blitz system] is a five-step process that allows groups or individuals to address a problem or challenge and develop a series of creative solutions.


“Dr Hudson identified that his paper-based system could be most effectively employed by organisations if it was available on tablets and laptops.


“We knew that to be most effective, it needed to be backed by robust database systems that allowed the ideas generated to be restored and retrieved, is multi-user, and combines user registration, reporting, results review and more.”


3rd Sense developed an iOS app for the iPad and a web app.


“In a process occurring in just 15 minutes, the Blitz system gives participants the tools and structure to come up with a set of evaluated and ranked creative ideas,” it said.


“The challenge was to transform the previously analogue system into a digital one, keeping the process simple for the user while integrating some smart logic.


“We started with an integrated backend system that combines user registration, data storage and retrieval, scheduling and reporting.


“We then moved onto the frontend iOS and web apps, which are driven by the backend and which allow up to six users to participate in a Blitz.


“Users are led through a five-step process, working in pairs in which users can create and then combine ideas.”