Emily Tan
Nov 29, 2012

PHD turns planning into a global multiplayer online game

GLOBAL - Starting next year, PHD planners will start work by logging into Source, a global operating system constructed using game mechanics designed to foster high-levels of collaboration.

A screenshot of Source
A screenshot of Source

The HTML5 platform functions as a strategy framework and, at the same time, a live-collaboration engine that allows for everyone within PHD to work together in real-time.

When logged in, planners can do all their research via one portal and set up or contribute to ongoing projects. Users are rewarded with ‘Ping points’ for their contributions and for landing the coveted ‘Big Idea” which contributes to their personal ranking on a global leaderboard, essentially turning the planning process into a massive multiplayer online game.

PHD takes Source so seriously that it’s revising its HR policies to reflect leaderboard performance and will restructure its business around the platform.

“Our 3000 employees will come in each day, jack into the game, and spend all day playing,” said Mark Holden, worldwide strategy and planning director of PHD, who described Source as the network’s “most ambitious project to date”.

PHD is currently carrying out training sessions on the new platform worldwide, he continued. “I’m in the middle of one now,” he added, speaking by phone from Copenhagen.

According to Holden, PHD has been working on the platform for close to two years. “It is our attempt to allow everyone within PHD to be able to tap into the PHD mind,” he said.

By automating manual processes and unifying research sources, the platform is able to reduce the time it takes to plan a full strategy, from start to finish, from three weeks to three hours, explained Cheuk Chiang, Asia-Pacific CEO for PHD.

“Source allows us to get to the crucial thinking fast, liberating us from manual actions that distract us,” commented Holden.  

Both he and Chiang have been beta testing the game and have found it addictive. “It’s quite fun really," Chiang said. "I’m even logging in and seeing how I can up my Ping levels on my off time.”

Clients benefit from the implementation of this system because “the best thinking rises to the top,” said Mike Cooper, PHD's worldwide CEO.  “It also fosters strategic planning and promotes the function by implementing it into daily activity.”

If PHD had not made the investment, added Chiang, the network would “not be equipped to deliver strong innovation and plan in a new and fast-changing world”.

“Everyone knows that communications has gone through great change, but planning has remained the same,” he said. “This will be a game changer that will allow us to consistently land big ideas for our clients.”

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