The sauna. Every Finn’s favourite room in the house – or by the lakeshore, for that matter. Yet, for all of the deep cleansing that goes on in this small, sweaty space, it also provides the perfect platform for personal expression. There is something powerful and inclusive about huddling around a hot stove, akin to telling stories around a campfire.
This is the core idea behind World of Insights, a selection of board games and tools that seek to accelerate innovation at work – with decidedly more clothes on, of course.
“The purpose is to create a shared space,” explains company CEO and co-founder Eliza Hochman. “You are in a different frame of mind. The focus is on each other and there is no digital screen between people. After taking the game out, people just relax.”
Thus, the familiar and social experience of deceptively simple card and board games invites a fresh approach to learning, spurred by elements of luck.
“Our core value is to move away from lectures; from one person having the knowledge delivering to an audience that doesn’t,” Hochman says. “We wanted to create an experience through which people can be engaged and acquire the information that they need.”
Learning from experience
The games cover various aspects of business, ranging from innovation and personal development to leadership, and are directed towards business schools and consultants, managers and leaders.
“We work with a lot of professors,” Hochman says. “It could also be a CEO trying to communicate strategy or HR trying to inform values. Basically, any time you want to create knowledge without telling people directly.”
This innovative business idea has solid foundations. During their 17 years in the field of education and learning design, Hochman and her co-founder Timo Karjalainen have collaborated with staff from some of the world’s top business schools, including Yale, the London School of Economics and Vlerick Business School in Belgium.
“We wanted to provide a very simple solution with a lot of complex ideas behind it,” Hochman says. “You don’t need to be a skilled facilitator, or learn new skills. You can just set up and basically the game plays itself.”
This ease of play taps into various parts of the brain and ways of answering, providing fertile ground indeed for informal learning.
“One example is that you have to draw the answer,” Hochman explains. “That uses a completely different way of thinking than talking. It mobilises different capacities within yourself.”
After bootstrapping its way through early stages of development, World of Insights received a funding boost from Tekes* to help build momentum.
On its way towards a promising future, the company is continuing to raise further funds building on top of a growing income stream.
“People in the field who have played a simulation or a serious game, are very, very interested in what we are doing,” Hochman states. “Often when we show the game or talk about it, people make the connection to their own content and straight away can see how it would be useful.”
Nonetheless, amidst all this information exchange, this is still a game and there must be winners and losers, right?
Hochman smiles and gently appeases those with a competitive streak.
“Very often in the beginning we have this question, but never at the end,” she says. “Once they have played they see it is not the most critical element. The game is a collaborative process that helps people reach their insights.”
*Part of Business Finland since 2018