A #SHRM21 Interview with Stephen Baer, Co-Founder, The Game Agency

In my decade and a half of attending SHRM Annual Conference and Expos I have tripped over a handful of truly innovative products and services. The last one that made a splash for me was Lynda.com a few years back on the conference floor and we all know the trajectory of that product as it is now the backbone of LinkedIn Learning. This year’s conference drew me to playing Jeopardy online which was run by The Game Agency. I finished 93 out of 200 participants but the real story is the product which just might be the next Lynda.com.from an innovation perspective. I was impressed by the concept of gamification for organizational learning and development and using Jeopardy as a springboard was brilliant.

I caught up with Stephen Baer a Co-Founder and the Chief Creative Officer after the conference for a quick chat.

Tell us about what drew your organization to present at the SHRM annual conference.

We’ve always been impressed with the quality of content and portfolio of conferences that SHRM offers. We were thrilled to be a part of the virtual portion of their first hybrid annual conference. 

How was your experience at #SHRM21? What stands out?

The keynote speakers were well chosen and inspirational. The sessions were highly relevant to the times while also providing both tactical and strategic information. 

Give us a quick overview of your organization’s offerings. Do you build a customized product as well or is it all “off the shelf”.

The Game Agency develops custom game-based solutions that make corporate training, live or virtual events, and K-College education more effective, engaging and fun. The Training Arcade®, our cornerstone product, is an “off the shelf” game-authoring tool that allows you to make games quickly and on budget. You can build as many games as you'd like by adding your content to our 10 pre-built game templates. Games can be translated into 16 languages and shared easily with just a URL. You can easily measure the effectiveness of your training and activities with an advanced analytics dashboard. Arcades™, our gamification software, empowers you to build a virtual gamified community that will challenge and motivate your team with: solo and team games, learning journeys, achievements, leaderboards, tangible prizes, and robust analytics.

Virtual learning has grown over the years and especially during COVID, what has this meant to your business and what new programs and concepts can we expect from you in the future?

Our business has grown significantly over the last 18 months with many businesses searching for ways to communicate and collaborate with a remote workforce. In March, we were acquired by eLearning Brothers, a Utah-based company that has been operating successfully in the training and education space for over 12 years. Games and gamification are, of course, perfect for virtually learning and training. Our games can be easily shared as a URL in a Zoom chat, text, email, or Slack message. Our clients love that they can quickly add their own training content into our library of 10 games and launch them in minutes. 

Games have been proven to be an effective form of training and learning by improving knowledge retention and encouraging repeat play. In a study we did this year, we looked at the aggregate and anonymous data of 2,500 games and saw that players experienced a 58% improvement in knowledge from the 1st to 3rd attempt at play. Players played an average of 1.7 times and 57% of the players played 3 times or more. How often do your employees or students reread that PowerPoint 3 times or more? 

In 2018, we acquired the license to create a training and educational game with JEOPARDY!® from Sony Productions. This year we launched the exclusive Wheel of Fortune® training game. Our JEOPARDY! The game has a multiplayer function that you can play easily on web conferencing software or at live events. We’ve had great success with it and it’s proven to make live meetings, conferences, and events more engaging. A handful of higher education institutions are now using JEOPARDY! to engage their students and we know we’ve just barely scratched the surface. We are working on a classroom JEOPARDY! version for K- Middle School Students and hope to launch that in 2022. 

Furthermore, we’ve enjoyed creating custom game-based solutions with our education partner. We’ve created games that teach K-12 students social and emotional skills, early literacy, STEM career readiness, financial literacy, anti-semitism, online safety and sustainability. Games provide a safe environment for kids to try and fail, we refer to this as a practice playground. These games have been deployed, for free, in over 90K schools. We hope to see more game-based learning in schools, we see it as an integral part of the future of education. 
For additional information, you can catch up with The Game Agency.

We look forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans at #SHRM22 next June!


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