I have been lucky enough to talk to João Carlos Costa from HighSkillz, a company that provides game-based training solutions and in-depth research around game-based development. Founded in 2012 by Costa and his two colleagues Manuel Oliveira and Guilherme Santos, it was born from an idea by Oliveira, who had past experience on a similar EU research project. Their aim for the company was to drive deep learning, understanding and training to unlikely areas for the purpose of increasing competence in a personalised, rapid way.
One example of this is their work in delivering comprehensive training to seafarers, through their Skillz Ahoy Energy Efficiency game-training. The platform is a unique mechanism for seafaring courses and can be accessed both on shore, where standard Internet connectivity is expected, and also on board a ship, where Internet connectivity will be limited or intermittent. HighSkillz undertook extensive research into delivering the most effective game-based solution; not only does the platform deliver courses, it also incorporates social capabilities defined by current captains, which allows seafarers to engage in peer-to-peer collaboration and learning while on board.
Far from being akin to a ‘flight-simulator’ experience, which they are sometimes confused with, HighSkillz focuses more on enabling their players to access and hone heir soft skills, such as communication and interaction. Through their targeted research technique, they isolate instances and scenarios where such skills are particularly important – e.g. at sea or in manufacturing – so that the player can hit the ground running in their environment and be able to communicate more directly and effectively in a much shorter space of time than they otherwise would have. To be able to reach the right type of players most effectively, they have a host of partners, all very skilled in their respective fields of manufacturing, shipping etc. to elicit the correct knowledge and tailor the game precisely to the players’ needs.
They have had a pretty exciting 2015, having launched a “Mediation Simulator” in partnership with CEDR. The Mediation Simulator is already being used extensively by CEDR (the largest conflict management and dispute resolution consultancy in Europe) in the UK, has been used in IESEG (one of the top Business Schools in France), and is set to reach new exciting heights in 2016. From their success in 2015, HighSkillz has many more projects waiting in the wings for 2016 to disrupt the conventional methods of learning so – watch this space!
They also have big plans to commercialise current live projects through developing their successful partnership model. Having grown completely organically with no investors / loans from banks, HighSkillz has accessed other sources of funding through R&D Tax Credits. Through the money they have received back from HMRC for developing their current offering, they are looking to greatly improve the current platform, making it more agile and responsive to advance future players’ experience and learning.
**What can our R&D Tax Credits and Grants help you achieve in your business? Get in touch to find out more and keep up with HighSkillz’s new and upcoming products here: http://www.HighSkillz.com/index.php.