IMD has introduced an immersive 360-degree learning experience that combines augmented reality (AR) technology with game mechanics to deliver a highly engaging and impactful experience. It was unveiled at Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) in Singapore this week, capturing the attention of hundreds of leading business executives.
This marks the first time augmented reality and a 360-degree projection room have been combined to deliver a learning experience, highlighting the innovative nature of the project.
The game takes place in the near future on board C-91-B, a state-of-the-art deep-sea carbon-capture facility run by SpheriCO2, which has developed a breakthrough green technology that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it in places such as ocean chasms, where it will absorb naturally into ecosystems over time.
Large and small sea animals swim outside the station in a marvelous scene that is the twilight zone of the ocean.
Participants assume the role of a greentech scientist who joins other scientists on their first shift. Before stepping aboard C-91-B, they don a lab coat and are handed a phone. The key question is, can this team come together quickly to avert an environmental disaster?
“From what I’ve seen and heard, the experience has had a profound impact on the participants at OWP Singapore,” says Sarah Toms, IMD’s Chief Learning Innovation Officer, who led the project. “The goal was to take the participants out of the classroom and give them a completely interactive experience, bringing learning to life. It ties into the goals of OWP Singapore by exposing participants to the most cutting-edge thinking and developments from IMD.”
Toms adds: “They’re challenged to activate their critical thinking skills, lean on situational judgment, and leverage the other team members within that environment to help solve a series of challenges. This is exactly what happens to us as leaders in the real world. And within this one-hour experience, these participants can reflect on where they are today and what they need to do to become the leader of tomorrow that they aspire to be.”
The AR experience was developed in collaboration with Zoe Immersive, a 3D-creation platform, and powered by the Unity engine, known for its application in video game development. This marks the first time that a 360-degree AR experience has been created using Unity.
One of the videos within the experience was developed in-house at IMD using the Unreal engine, created by Epic Games. The entire interactive experience, from conceptualization to the final product, took two months to develop, showcasing IMD’s lean and creative approach to creating highly impactful learning innovation.
Toms says: “We received incredibly positive feedback at OWP Singapore, emphasizing that when you create an environment that wows and excites the senses, and that is also grounded in pedagogical objectives, you have a winning formula to help our participants reach their potential.”
The immersive experience contributed to the event’s overall educational goals. The specific lessons and messages conveyed include strategic alignment with organizational priorities, high-performing team principles, activating diversity within teams for creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and situational judgment.
OWP Singapore participant Briana O’Hare, Managing Director at Nomura, said the experience was energizing. “We didn’t really know what to expect – and then we were suddenly thrown into an emergency scenario, and everybody reverted to their natural tendencies,” she said. “It was interesting to see how the group solved a complex situation by identifying who was capable of solving different parts of the problem and then bringing it all together to have hopefully a successful outcome.”
Rhyle Clifford, from Sayat Skygo Motorcycles, said, “I got to learn more about myself and my natural tendencies, and because of that I’m able to identify which weaknesses to strengthen further – and which strengths I should maintain, as well as how best to manage my team.”
Looking ahead, IMD plans to expand and adapt this immersive experience for other events and audiences in the future, ensuring that the transformative potential of AR continues to enhance learning experiences for IMD participants worldwide.