Safety is a top priority for Shell. As part of its continuing effort to improve process safety, we worked with Shell to create Ripple Effect: a game aimed at making other people’s safety a personal concern. Ripple Effect emphasizes the collective nature of risk management and connects Shell staff and contractors globally, from office to frontline.
The game is played in competing teams whose members are distributed across the globe. Each team member is given a production station on which they can produce resources and take safety precautions. The actual quality of the station is initially unknown and needs to be assessed. Teams members need to communicate about their local situation and about how best to distribute their actions as a team to optimize their joint outcome.
We collaboratively explored the topic of process safety in a series of design sprints. Issues were boiled down to concepts and verbs that could be translated into a game. One key feature of the game is that both office and frontline (on-site) employees can play a role in a team. Frontline employees have fewer planning responsibilities but have an easier way to gather situational information. The design process was based on iterating on prototypes—initially physical, later digital—that were tested with target audience representatives.
A small agile team developed this design into a high fidelity ‘pilot’ version of the game. An additional challenge was that because of the very global scale of this project the cloud solutions (Heroku and others) we normally use to build things quickly could not be used. Rackspace turned out to be the solution that fit the bill and offered mature server management. We built a setup on their platform that did most of the things we needed to do. We did development on a local environment that was replicated for production and that we could update and scale as necessary.
We delivered the game after eight weeks of development and ran the game with a global group of 100 Shell employees. The test validated the core premise and laid out a clear course for further development into a full version which is slated to take place in 2014.