Using gamification to attract visitors

An interactive makeover for the National Gas Museum

Bringing the National Gas Museum into the 21st Century, Ross and Conrad are two students studying IT software from Solihull College & University Centre who are working with National Grid to increase the footfall at the National Gas Museum of Leicester. 

National Grid came to Digital Innovators with a challenge; “How can we get more young people to visit the museum?” They recognise that they are currently missing out on a large demographic, but how do you make a gas museum current to the millennial generation? To address this challenge, they are working with a student project team from Solihull College & University Centre, led by Digital Innovators. The objective is to develop new additions to the museum that will appeal to the younger generation and improve overall interactivity with visitors. 

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The students have been working on creating a pipe game for an interactive display for the Museum. It allows you to rotate pipes to make the right connections in order to guide gas all the way from the North Sea to be used by consumers in the UK. While playing, the game flashes information about the history of gas. This game will make the visit more engaging for visitors and help visitors learn more about gas. 

As well as this, the students have been creating an app featuring two more games which will be used as free advertisement for the Museum. One of the games allows players to simulate gas rigs and to get boats to transfer gas to shore. The aim is to earn as much ‘money’ as possible. This game is educational and will also provide the National Gas Museum with much needed publicity to gain new, younger visitors. 

But it’s not just the Museum that has benefited. The Digital Innovators Project Team has gained from this project in many ways. It has granted students the chance to build their confidence and given them the opportunity to implement their digital skills in a practical context. It has given them greater knowledge of how to put these skills to use in the future. 

Gamification – applying the traditional elements of game playing such as competition and point scoring – is predicted to change the workplace significantly and yet for our millenials it’s already part of their day to day life.

 For business, gamification focuses on engaging people and creating behavioral change. Business leaders can leverage gamification to encourage interaction and understanding of business information or processes -bringing that content to life, in a way that sticks.

Since joining Digital Innovators, Ross and Conrad have experienced a lot of work related skills that include design thinking, collaboration and ethics which guided them with taking an idea and developing a physical replica, along with advancing their communication skills by talking to people from National Grid. The project has also helped them to improve their software skills as they have had to program the app themselves.

“The college suggested I should attend Digital Innovators”, said Conrad who admitted to feeling quite sceptical. “I was thinking that it wasn’t going to have too much importance,” he said. “However, after going to Digital Innovators, I have a much better understanding of how the skills are going to be used in the workplace. I now have apprenticeship offers too. I feel that I am going to benefit overall in my future careers because of Digital Innovators and that’s such an amazing thing.”

National Grid has been extremely supportive of Solihull College and the Digital Innovators programme and has already recruited students from the scheme.

Speaking generally about National Grid’s experience of working with Digital Innovators, Kirsten Pickering, Executive Officer at the company, said: “the students from Digital Innovators demonstrated a greater level of maturity in the workplace than others of a similar age who had joined the team. The work that Digital Innovators do with the students at the college to prepare them for being in the workplace is invaluable. It truly makes them stand out among their peers.”

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Photos courtesy of the National Gas Museum unless otherwise stated.

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