A Maryland company that develops interactive training simulations is holding a competition to put its technology to work for social change.
In the training movies that WILL Interactive creates, the viewer becomes one of the characters, and how the story progresses depends on the answers people give to frequent questions. The goal is to help viewers make better decisions when confronted with similar problems in real life.
Among the projects the company has worked on: a simulation that the U.S. Army uses in its effort to prevent suicide.
The first step in creating a simulation is research, looking at the scientific information in the field, conducting interviews, and holding focus groups, says Sharon Sloane, chief executive of WILL Interactive. “Everything in our simulations actually happened,” she says. “We don’t just make stuff up.”
The company is soliciting ideas for a new simulation to address an important problem through its Simulate a Better World Challenge. The winner will get to help guide the creation of the simulation as well as have the right to use it. Both nonprofit and for-profit entities are eligible to submit ideas. Deadline for entries is April 20.
A key criterion in the judging will be the organization’s plan and ability to distribute the video simulation the group proposes, says Ms. Sloane: “We don’t want to build a better mousetrap and then not have it available to the people who could benefit from it.”