Ellis was in W*india*land

A group of 11 Dutch game-entrepeneurs, game-researchers, game-developers and designers were invited by Dutch Culture (centre for international cooperation) to go Roadtrip India. To meet the Indian Industry, government and organisations to learn from each others challenges, opportunities and see how there are possibilities for future cooperations on the topic of games, applied games and play.

Why I initially and mostly wanted to go to India, was to meet Vithika Yadav and her collegeas from Love Matters, since I wished to organise a workshop to create games or digital products and talk about the opportunities to make people play around the problematic topic of female sexuality, taboos and gender diversity. I believe Love matters is doing a great job at breaking boundaries, creating a safe environment to allow people to talk about matters freely, which concerns everyone really.
See this TEDx talk to find out how and why >>
What Vithika is expressing in this talk, is also what I noticed in this week in India, India is a country of opportunities and upscaling; if you can bring something alive in India, it will grow. And IF you can make something grow in India, it is very well scalable to other countries which are dealing with similar topics and problems, and in need of accessible solutions, such as technology can provide low acces in large scale.
What I during the week discovered are the many differences between Holland and India, we Dutch seems to seek for solutions to problems, while India is much more opportunity driven. That might cause some misunderstandings in conversations, when I explain about the game Coach4Life we developed for the Kidney foundation, people asked: why exclude anyone, why not develop this for heart and diabetes patients too? We first wish to validate our assumptions in a limited target group, and are spending time on that before scaling any solution. I myself had a heart time to explain this thorough and solid approach and felt somewhat guilty since the one questioning me was already so much convinced of the solution I presented, which made me realise that validation might also be done in many other ways then the scientific approach only.
Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 14.11.09Another difference between the Netherlands and India, is the traffic… I always love to look at the traffic as a game system, there is a playfield, goals, rules and players with different objectives following the same rules. In the Netherlands, we have many many rules, and people do not always comply to all rules, since we do not completely understand due to complexity, and we also use the infrastructuur sort of inefficiënt. In India the opposite, every inch of street is used to it’s max. And there are only two rules really: 1- do not hit anyone in front of you 2 – fill the gap! and if everyone follows these rules… it works! Not always the way you wish, but it sure does work and people get from A to B in most dangerous and scary ways, but it works… I need to think and dream a lot more about this, to find out how we can really use or apply this knowledge in the future, but an eyeopener it was and is!
During the week we visited universities, companies, had meetings with a the special interest group serious gaming, and conferences were organised for us to present our experiences and discuss together the opportunities, affordance, effectiveness of games, game elements and gamification and their implications.

“We need to learn and recalibrate the vocabulary of interactive products, gamification and games. So we can apply these as a part of a solution to a problem in a certain context, domain or segment and last but not least, take the ROI in account.”

Our last evening of the road trip at the Dutch Embassy party (more info can be read here >>) I had an interesting talk with a guy in E-commerce, he was impressed with the cases we as a team had presented earlier, but he also addressed his concerns for the implications on implementing tools like these her in India, he mentioned the threshold for the non-kids towards games. However much he acknowledges the creativity and learning curve he recognises in his children playing. Then I asked him if he ever plays with his kids, and his face changed radical to a happy smiling face while laughing loud and said: “My wife always tells me to stop playing around with the kids, and get more serious with them, and give them the proper example!” Then I replied to him: “please recognise the importance if this lesson, don’t stop, make sure your children never stop playing, and invite your wife in this play too!” This made him think for a moment, and then he thanked me for that reminder, and promised he would think about this more… playfully!
To conclude, in november we plus different stakeholders we met during this week are trying to organise a game jam (=hackathon) in Delhi to see how we are able to co- create some games seriously.
Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 13.56.56
A photo of our stand-up meeting to conclude our trip, and treasure our collective insights and findings.
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