Dr Anne Holohan, CTO, Transformation in Learning and Training (TiLT)
Training to Make Diverse Organisations More Inclusive: Research-driven, online role-play games with embedded curricula in bias literacy, perspective driven learning, and decision-making, facilitating conversations on sensitive topics (gender, race, ethnicity). Measurable progress for the individual player and for the organisation.
What problem are you solving and what is innovative about your approach?
All organisations now operate in an environment of diversity, but diversity does not equal inclusion. TiLT is set up to address the gap in the market for a training tool that focuses not on individual unconscious bias training (which has limited effectiveness) but on shifting the norms around social interaction in the organisation. This is done by initial intensive research combined with state of the art in that area and sector, to produce curricula and games that raise awareness of an individual’s own assumptions and of how these assumptions impact interactions. The games provide opportunities for knowledge acquisition, perspective taking, and decision-making practice. Becoming more mindful of what you say or do, and seeing you have options with different consequences, through a game that is immersive, and fosters later discussion on these issues by focusing on what the characters say and do, provides engaging experiential learning. Assessment shows the immediate progress of the player, and our longitudinal strategy measures the impact on the organisation.
How is this idea commercially attractive?
There is enormous need and demand for training in most organisations to improve inclusivity, across all dimensions of identities but with a particular focus on gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class. Employees who experience bias are 3 times more likely to: leave, be disengaged, and withhold ideas. Existing training is limited in two ways. One, role-playing, when done is effective, but is expensive (150pp/ day) and is limited in access. Our solution offers a much less expensive way for everyone in an organisation to get training in immersive role-play. Two, focusing on the individual’s unconscious bias has been shown to decrease interaction as people fear being perceived as biased, and it also ignores the organisation’s role. Our focus on interaction in nuanced, immersive games promotes conversation and norm change, producing a more inclusive organisation. We have identified markets in higher education, police organisations, the health sector, and the corporate world. The demand is continuous: there are multiple areas to address (including but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, ableism); yearly intakes in education, continuing professional education in all sectors, and as the organisation changes, new challenges emerge. We have developed a layered knowledge and assets base, which enables rapid curricula and game development, localisation, and customisation. Our current customers are TCD, UCC, and DCU. We are engaged in trials with the Seattle Police Department, an Garda Siochana, and the Scottish Police.
We have no direct competitors – we are the only company offering experiential learning, instructional learning, continuous assessment for the individual and the organisation, that is universally accessible. The training is also significantly less expensive per head than all other actors in this space. Our roadmap focuses initially on Ireland/UK, then EU, the US, Asia, and global and on other market verticals.
What do you hope to achieve by participating in Big Ideas?
We hope to attract investors who recognise the value, scope, and scale of the TiLT approach commercially and in terms of social impact. We also welcome conversations with potential strategic partners.