RnDynEO: A serious game for industrial companies

The RnDynEO serious game has brought the IRT Nanoelec education and training program an innovative response to some major challenges industrial companies are currently grappling with. The game also meets companies’ organizational needs in today’s highly competitive international business environment.

The RnDynEO project was initiated in response to a very clear need identified by STMicroelectronics management to train their R&D staff on the Lean approaches used in manufacturing. The goal is to become more agile and support greater efficiency, innovation, and collaboration in an increasingly-complex project-driven environment.

A survey of future learners at STMicroelectronics revealed that the company’s existing Lean training courses focused primarily on tools. Therefore, it seemed important to develop more behavior-oriented courses in relationship to the available tools and to focus more on learner motivation. The RnDynEO training module was selected based on these criteria and, according to learners, it has more than met expectations.

The time was also right for RnDynEO: STMicroelectronics had rolled out a similar initiative (targeting Lean manufacturing) at its Rousset plant, and decided to build on its success by extending the idea to R&D. And, because most of the company’s R&D takes place in Grenoble, the project was located here. In 2017, a project consortium involving STMicroelectronics, Grenoble Ecole de Management, and Grenoble Institute of Technology was formed. STMicroelectronics provided insights into the business environment and business processes, while the two academic partners contributed their expertise in innovative teaching methods, simulation, gamification, Lean R&D, and Lean mindset.

The ambitious objectives included developing a more agile, effective organization by eliminating inefficiencies and bottlenecks, more effectively integrating customer aspirations into R&D projects, initiating collaborative performance, and supporting managerial transformation—all issues likely to have a long-term impact on the organization.

The partners’ education experts developed an innovative active learning approach based on learners’ real-life experiences. They used serious games, real-world business cases, hands-on activities, and testimonials. Participants are immersed in an experience that allows them to grapple with the challenges inherent to cross-functional collaboration on R&D projects.

In late 2018 test sessions held with STMicroelectronics employees confirmed the added value of the approach. RnDynEO is now included in the company’s Lean training program and is widely used with R&D departments both in France and at STMicroelectronics sites worldwide (India, Italy, etc.). Nearly 200 STMicroelectronics employees and 130 people outside STMicroelectronics have been trained in the space of a few months. And the change is already perceptible within the company, where behaviors and improvement methods are getting much more attention.

IRT Nanoelec program managers also completed the RnDynEO module. The goal is now to offer the course within each program and, later, extend the initiative to IRT Nanoelec partners.

The content of the module was also modified for use in higher education settings, and a modified English-language version was provided to International Masters students at Grenoble Institute of Technology. The course was also presented to partners from higher education in India.