Inventum, the first board game created by a Spanish university to foster interest in knowledge transfer, aims to promote the culture of entrepreneurship in society at large and raise awareness of the importance of the process of valorisation and knowledge transfer. The project was funded by the then Ministry of Science and Innovation - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (MICINN-FECYT) in its call for grants for the promotion of scientific culture and innovation. It is a game about the entrepreneurial spirit and excellence in research at universities, and raises awareness of the process of knowledge transfer by highlighting some of the major scientific, technological and humanistic breakthroughs in the twentieth century. Its main objectives are:
- To promote social interest in the transfer of knowledge and science in general.
- To explain the various types of research valorisation and the results that can be obtained.
- To highlight the agents involved in the process, the role of each one, and their importance.
- To promote the social culture of innovation by demonstrating its importance.
- To highlight the major efforts being made by the research world to give back to society the support that it has provided while undertaking its work.
The project was carried out in the following phases:
- March 2010: design of the project and presentation to the MICINN-FECYT call for grants.
- September 2010 - September 2011: design, creation and production.
- November 2011: presentation, distribution and commercialization. The communication and promotion campaign for the project also took place during this period.
- November 2011 to date: supervised games organized.
Promotion and impact (available at: http://www.ub.edu/infociencia/docs/inventum_2011/index.html)
In November, the University of Barcelona organized two events to present the project. The first was only for journalists, and the second, which took place on Tuesday 8 November 2011, saw the public presentation of the game.
Its impact since then has been extensive in all areas: first, the news about the game on the institutional website and that of the UB group had an impact in terms of 31,831 unique visitors a month. Meanwhile, the promotional video for the game uploaded to the portal YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN3O_TLbO8s) has received 263 hits in the Catalan version, 89 in the Spanish version and 47 in the English version. This video was shown on the University's online television channel
(http://www.ub.edu/ubtv/ubtv_veurereg.cgi?G_CODI=02127&G_USCODI=243085&G_...) and has received 5,391 hits in 2012. The game's impact in external websites has led to its presence on over 37 sites. The dissemination of the game through social networks has also been very significant. In the UB's official Facebook profile, the game has generated over 3,403 unique users, and has generated more than 30 entries on Twitter.
Similarly, its impact in the press and on television has been extensive in both regional and national terms. The radio impact has also been widespread on both levels, with the game featured in more than 12 interviews.
2,000 copies of the game were produced as a result of the agreement between DEVIR and UB. Of these, the University of Barcelona has kept 1,000 for free distribution to Spanish research centres and universities and to other actors in the world of culture. Copies have also been sent to the 20 member universities of the LERU network (League of European Research Universities). Some copies have been used to organize supervised games in libraries and community centres. These games are essential to achieve the project's objective of dissemination.
The other 1,000 copies have been marketed by the company Devir, which has to date sold a total of 900 sets. It therefore has been very successful in the commercial world of board games.
The originality of the project lies precisely in the format used. The difficulty of concepts related to knowledge transfer and the valorisation of research makes dissemination activities in this area difficult, and means that the distance with respect to society in general persists. Most of the social outreach activities organized have more traditional formats, such as talks and panel discussions, and information leaflets. For this reason, we have tried to design a more effective, accessible and even entertaining channel.
Inventum is a very engaging game that may even appeal to those without an initial interest in science and research. Once it is played, more specific concepts and the content it includes become apparent.
The game itself is an example of knowledge transfer, as all the actors in the transfer system have participated. Its development has also been a multidisciplinary project. Among those involved are scientists from various disciplines, illustrators and graphic designers, statisticians, linguists, translators, experts in Latin, experts in valorisation, licensing and business start-ups, and people from the world of marketing and communication.
The game has been released in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English. It can therefore be played beyond Spain's frontiers. It is also a project in which anyone over ten years can participate, and as such the target audience is extensive. As for its applicability, the concepts that it covers are universal, making it of interest in countries with a similar research system to the one in Spain.