Idea Description
Supplementary Information
Detailed Submission Data
Innovation 'Elevator Pitch':
An engaging educational board game and HTML5 web app to help children with Cystic Fibrosis, and their families, to improve their understanding of the condition and how to manage it.
Overview of Innovation:
The game is designed to help children and families manage Cystic Fibrosis more effectively. Originally created by specialists at Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust to help healthcare professionals develop a more effective relationship with young patients and their families. The game was so effective that Focus Games Ltd was asked to redesign and streamline the game and make it available to a wider audience.

The game is designed for between 2 and 4 individual players (or small teams of players) who compete to move around the board answering CF-related questions and scenarios correctly. The game is very easy to play and doesn’t require a specialist facilitator; anyone can play the game. This makes it ideal for use in the home and at school with family, friends and schoolmates.
To help young patients, their families and friends to improve their understanding of Cystic Fibrosis and to manage the condition more effectively.
A patient engagement tool for healthcare specialists to use:
  • Children with Cystic Fibrosis
  • Families & friends of CF patients
  • Schools
  • Public health awareness
Can be used in:
  • CF clinics
  • Other healthcare settings
  • At home
  • In school
The board game is very portable, the rules are very simple and specialist facilitation skills are not required so the game can be played by anybody in any setting.
The board game is competitive and accommodates up to 4 individual  players, or teams of players. Games last between 45 and 60 minutes.

The HTML5 web app is a simplified version of the board game designed for individuals to use on smartphones, tablets and desktop PCs. However, it can also be used with groups on tablets, screens and interactive whitebboards etc.
Stage of Development:
Evaluation stage - Representative model or prototype system developed and can be effectively evaluated
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Innovation 'Elevator Pitch':
We develop board games that engage and educate frontline staff. 
They improve care delivery and patient safety by giving staff the knowledge, skills and confidence to make beneficial changes.
Overview of Innovation:
Since 2004 we have been developing board games that improve learning and development by making face-to-face engagement easier and more effective. They bring staff together and encourage them to discuss new ways of working. They get people talking and sharing; players learn from each other.
Our games improve performance by delivering the knowledge, skills and confidence that staff need to change the way they work, communicate and behave. Games encourage players to relax and have fun making them more receptive to new ideas and more willing to discuss difficult subjects. While the games are delivering structured and engaging learning it doesn't feel like formal learning. This is very important for unqualified support staff (bands 1-4) who may have fear of formal classroom learning for a variety of reasons.

Our games are designed to be extremely flexible and can be played in the workplace without a specialist facilitator or as part of a more structured formal training programme or workshop. This is intentional and is designed to bridge the gap between solitary learning such as eLearning (which may not be engaging or effective) and formal instructor lead training (which can be effective but expensive and scarce).

We have developed over 40 games and most of them are specifically for use in health and social care settings to address specific clinical and organisational issues. Many of the games are designed to reduce avoidable harm and improve patient safety by encouraging continuous improvement among frontline staff. Games cover a range of issues including:
  • Medication errors
  • Sepsis management
  • Pressure ulcer prevention
  • Malnutrition & dehydration
  • Dysphagia management
  • Stroke pathway
  • Communication skills
  • Team working in health and social care
  • Information governance
  • Genomics
  • Cystic Fibrosis (for children with CF)
All of our games are developed in partnership with leading academics, clinical practitioners, educators and frontline staff. We have formal agreements and partnerships with a range of national and local NHS organisations including NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement, NHS Scotland, and NHS Education for Scotland.

We have formal partnerships with a range of organisations in the Midlands including City University Birmingham, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS FT, Health Education West Midlands, Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.

Our biggest challenge is publicising our games. This is why we would like funding from the SME Innovation Fund.

Stage of Development:
Market ready and adopted - Fully proven, commercially deployable, market ready and already adopted in some areas (in a different region or sector)
WMAHSN priorities and themes addressed: 
Mental Health: recovery, crisis and prevention / Long term conditions: a whole system, person-centred approach / Advanced diagnostics, genomics and precision medicine / Wellness and prevention of illness / Education, training and future workforce / Innovation and adoption / Patient and medicines safety / Person centred care
Benefit to NHS:
Patient safety and avoidable harm are huge problems for the health and social care systems and for wider society. Many of the changes needed to improve safety are relatively simple and can be carried out by frontline staff without the need for new equipment or complex system or process changes. But these changes cannot happen without effective training and support. Without them frontline staff cannot improve their performance. While evidence based medicine is practiced it is not supported by evidence based training and we believe that within health and social care training is either absent or has no evidence to support its efficacy.

The widespread adoption of eLearning and other remote learning resources are appealing to the organisation because they appear cost effective but can be isolating and unpopular with frontline staff. It's easy to conclude that if these methods of delivering training were effective then the incidence of avoidable harm and patient safety incidents would have decreased or disappeared. They have not.

We believe that the most effective way of engaging and training frontline staff is face-to-face in groups where staff members learn from each other. If this happens it often involves a slide show or lecture and neither of these engage the learners in any discussion nor challenges them to process new information and ideas.

We develop board games to achieve these levels of engagement. A simple board game based on recognisable games such as Snakes & Ladders are very simple to play, widely recognised and have cross cultural and generational appeal. Our games don't require any structured facilitation and can be played by anyone anywhere. Within minutes players are laughing and joking while focussing intently on discussing the questions and scenarios presented within the game.

Independent university and NHS studies strongly suggest that our games are very effective for knowledge transfer, knowledge retention and developing the confidence players need to implement what they've learned during the game. There are also clear indications, from within the NHS and care homes, that playing games can have a measurable effect on patient safety and avoidable harm but this needs more investigation to confirm. 

Any reductions in avoidable harm and improvements in patient safety will have a significant benefit on finances across the system and of course the benefit to patients and carers is clear. Staff morale can also be improved.
Initial Review Rating
4.60 (1 ratings)
Benefit to WM population:
As described earlier in this submission we have contractual and commercial relationships with several organisations in the West Midlands. The sale of our games generates revenue for these organisations that can be reinvested by them to improve the services that they deliver to the residents of the WM. We anticipate more of these commercial relationships as our company grows so our games would be creating wealth within the WM economy.

The direct benefits to patients and carers of less avoidable harm and improved patient safety is clear and the financial implications for the WM economy could also be significant.

The reputational benefits for service providers should not be ignored and the improvements in staff morale could also be a beneficial side-effect.
Current and planned activity: 
We have formal agreements and partnerships with a range of national and local NHS organisations including NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement, NHS Scotland, and NHS Education for Scotland.

We have formal partnerships with a range of organisations in the West Midlands including City University Birmingham, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS FT, Health Education West Midlands, Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.

We also have relationships with a range of Royal Colleges, charities and patient groups including Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, The Patients Association, UK Sepsis Trust, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland and the British Dietetic Association.

We cannot develop our games without the support of subject matter experts from these organisations and we will continue to strengthen these relations and create new ones.
What is the intellectual property status of your innovation?:
In most instances we entirely own the IP related to our games. In some instances the IP is owned, or partly owned, by our partners and we sell the games under licence from them. We recently had an IP Audit carried out on all of our games and associated commercial agreements and partnerships. When this report is finalised we would be willing to share it with the SME Innovation Fund.
Return on Investment (£ Value): 
Return on Investment (Timescale): 
1 year
Ease of scalability: 
Regional Scalability:
In terms of scalability many thousands of existing games are already being used in hospitals, universities and care homes across the UK and overseas. The WM is well-represented in terms of games already in use. Funding from the SME Innovation Fund would be used to broaden the scope of existing activities and ensure that more games are sold and used in the WM and elsewhere.
Because this submission is related to the promotion of a range of products success will be measured in numbers of additional games sold. However, individual games are assessed for their efficacy in knowledge transfer, knowledge retention and confidence levels of players to make changes to care delivery and behaviours. Independent studies carried out by universities and NHS employees all conclude that the games are effective. We assume that more games being used by frontline staff will translate into improved care delivery.
Adoption target:
The company is currently viable. The loan would help generate extra sales and this revenue will be used to further grow the business. Existing games cover almost the entire health and social care sector and so potential buyers and users in the WM could be any NHS trust, university, care home or other service-provider.
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Overview of Innovation:
With a third of children now considered overweight, and more than half negatively affected by body image concerns, it’s time to help young people talk about their health.

The Food, Mood & Health Game has been designed to make talking about health easier for young people. It’s a fun, competitive board game, where players work together in teams to answer questions around healthy eating, obesity, body image, emotional health and much more. Playing the Food, Mood & Health Game provides a relaxed, informal way of learning about food & health topics that promotes discussion and collaboration while also having fun!

Food, Mood & Health Game is evidence-based and was developed in partnership with leading healthcare experts:
Fiona Clarke - Health Improvement Dietitian at NHS Highland
David Rex - Specialist Dietitian at Highland Council

“Our mood and emotions influence our food choices, and vice versa. This game explores both sides of that coin, helping participants develop a healthier relationship with food.” Dave Rex, RD Specialist Dietitian, Highland Council.

The game creates a pressure-free environment for health-related conversations. Using a game as a learning resource helps young people to feel relaxed and comfortable, and ready to discuss some otherwise tricky topics. It lets young people lead the conversations, stimulated by the game’s questions and activities, while teachers or health professionals offer guidance during and after the game session.

Shirley Oldale is Head of Food and Nutrition at Wakefield Girls' High School and Shirley organised a series of games with students from year groups 8 to 13. Here is what Shirley has to say about the game;

“I really like this game. It is colourful, imaginative and pupils were engaged in activities from the outset. As a food teacher, I was impressed by the broad range of topics covered throughout this game. As hoped there were many questions linked to nutrition and the role of food in promoting both positive physical and mental health.

As many young people struggle with body image issues I feel that the picture cards on airbrushing were particularly effective at engaging pupils and generated some very insightful discussions and questions. I would recommend this game to any teachers who wish to promote nutrition and health within their classrooms”.

It's easy to assume that young people will only play digital games. In fact, they're very enthusiastic players of board games.
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