Helene Michel
Hélène Michele, senior professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management has chosen to define the term 'serious games'

Every week a business school professor, an expert in his or her field, defines a key term on FT Lexicon, our online economics, business and finance glossary.

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Hélène Michel is a senior professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management (France). Prof Michel specialises in innovation management and started working on serious games in 2003. She runs seminars on innovation management using games to enhance innovation process.

Her research focuses on the strategic approach of serious games and on their performance evaluation. With a consortium of private companies in France and the rest of Europe, she has developed several research and development programmes related to serious games (Learning Games Factory, Serious Lab for Innovation, Immersive Ski Resort) and has organised a research team on these topics. She has been guest editor on French journals (such as Systèmes d’Information et Management) and organises an annual research workshop on the topic. She serves as an expert for the French National Research Agency.

Her aim is to give Grenoble Ecole de Management an international leading position in the design and diffusion of serious games in Innovation Management. To do this, she has developed three main approaches:

GEMinGame is an academic brand of serious games that capitalises and diffuses the expertise of Grenoble in innovation management. Board and virtual games are developed with experts and researchers. They are used in the different programmes at the business school and in executive education in major French companies such as Renault. The games include Nanorider: a serious board game aimed at creating new products, services or processes using nanotechnologies.

MyGEMinGame is a serious games design methodology which allows students, companies or researchers to create their own serious game related to innovation management. This process is used by around 600 students and 20 companies each year to deal with innovation management questions.

Train the trainers programmes: Prof Michel gives sessions on how to teach with serious games, how to create your own serious games with an authoring-tool, and how to define a strategy to implement serious games in your organisation.

Prof Michel has chosen to define the term serious games.

Why Prof Michel thinks the term serious games is important

“Too much information kills information,” says Prof Michel, adding that individuals – including students, customers and employees – have to deal with increasingly complex and sometimes boring information. “To motivate them to engage in different actions, serious games do not use the cognitive but an emotional approach through game levers. People feel therefore more interested or more able to deal with complex information,” says Prof Michel.

She explains that organisations are also increasingly seeking “soft skills”. Serious games offer a protected environment which can train large numbers of students how to empathise, or behave ethically, or effectively in meetings – whatever the required approach might be.

To find out more about serious games click on the linked terms.

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