‘The many discussions I’ve had with Fellows and students have greatly motivated me to bring this game to wider audiences’
Meet Esdras Paravizo – a second-year PhD student at Clare Hall who is exploring how using games in engineering research and education may unlock new opportunities for fostering creativity and developing professional skills.
Based in the Department of Engineering, I am focusing on computer games for design creativity.
I recently led the design of the Industry 4.0 Board Game as part of a four-year long, collaborative project between the Technical University of Berlin, the University of Sao Paulo and the Federal University of Sao Carlos. I’m no stranger to the use of games in research, having previously investigated how game engines can be employed for simulation in ergonomics and workspace design, finding the opportunities and limitations of such approaches.
Industry 4.0 is an umbrella term usually describing the digitalisation and use of advanced technologies in manufacturing.
Big data, collaborative robots, Internet of Things, cyber physical systems are some of the related technologies and concepts that ultimately aim to enhance companies’ productivity, improve working conditions and deliver sustainable, efficient and high quality products. Given the complexity of this topic and the multitude of technologies and processes involved, my research team set out to develop learning tools to teach professionals and students about the topic.
The I4.0 Board Game was designed to increase participants’ engagement through the game mechanics and to put them in the shoes of managers who are transitioning their companies towards the I4.0 paradigm.
At the end of the game, participants understand the core concepts of I4.0; how the different technologies, processes, departments and skills are related; and that I4.0 is not an off-the-shelf product, rather a paradigm that one transitions towards.
The game is hosted as a four- to six-hour workshop, with up to 30 participants divided into teams which compete against each other.
The main challenge for participants is to delineate a strategy to achieve their companies’ business goals by means of developing excellence in the I4.0 areas. In order to do so, they take turns buying technologies and machines, developing organisational competencies, hiring and training workers, and improving existing departments, all while discussing the underlying concepts and interconnections.
Over 300 people have so far participated in the game, across 15+ applications in companies and universities in Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Mexico.
October was a busy month – after running two days of game workshops at the Dutch Lean-QRM Centre at the HAN University of Applied Sciences, I went to Mexico to host the game at the DAAD Alumni Industry 4.0 training held in Monterrey.
Ultimately, the Cambridge environment has ensured that I can always find insightful conversations and perspectives that add to the game experience and my development as a researcher
I’m excited to further improve the game materials and presentations.
As a member of Clare Hall, the many discussions on scientific communication, research dissemination and outreach I’ve had with Fellows and students have greatly motivated me to bring this game to wider audiences. Similarly, departmental and university-wide trainings on presentation skills helped me to become an effective public speaker and competent workshop facilitator, delivering a fun, hands-on activity that promotes learning and reflection. Ultimately, the Cambridge environment has ensured that I can always find insightful conversations and perspectives that add to the game experience and my development as a researcher.
As far as next steps go, the main plan right now is to focus on my PhD research on games and design creativity, while keeping academic and industry pathways open for the future.
Meanwhile, you’ll be able to find me in one of the games nights hosted in Clare Hall’s Common Room, as I just founded the Clare Hall Board Games Club, which gathers around 15 people every week to play games and have fun. (Perhaps it might even be that the I4.0 Board Game will be featured there at some point, so do keep an eye out!)
For more information on the I4.0 Board Game workshop, see the project website.