Our Story

We are Thinking Focus, the team behind the award-winning* What Would You Do? (WWYD).
We are driven by a core philosophy: we believe that individuals, teams and business units underperform, not by choice but because they can’t get out of their own way.
This might be due to self-imposed limitations, beliefs or mindset, organisational constraints or unhelpful norms.
Our role is to challenge the ‘interference’ holding them back, equip them with tools to think differently and create new behaviours.

*2021 Learning Technologies Silver Award for ‘best use of social and collaborative learning technologies’.

Up for the Challenge

In 2017, a global automotive manufacturer challenged us to find a new approach to learning. 

Their issue was with the capability of their frontline managers, who were technically very good but struggled with managing and developing their people and also had challenges around applying ‘soft’ skills. They wanted a pragmatic solution with a light touch on theory. It was essential to both socialise a topic and level up groups simultaneously to be operationally efficient.  It also had to help frontline managers be more effective in transferring learning into new behaviours. Finally, they wanted their frontline managers to be courageous enough to tackle issues earlier and nip them in the bud, reducing the time and financial impact caused by the escalation of people issues.  Finally, of course, the improved engagement should lead to increased productivity and more ownership within the workforce. 

Not ones to shirk away from a challenge, we happily took on this opportunity! What we didn’t realise at the time was that gamification, social learning and group coaching would be fundamental to achieving their desired outcomes.  We spent time researching; we spent lots of time with organisations to understand their challenges, and it was clear that this was not unique to our automotive client.  We explored many options before settling on the unique blend of social learning, psychology, group coaching and gamification we now know as WWYD.  We tested it with our initial market test group and discovered we had created something that worked – to quote Colin Smith at Metro Shipping, “it just works, it does what it says on the tin.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Pandemic pivot

The onset of the global pandemic meant we had to rethink the in-person gaming aspect of WWYD. The lockdown created a space for us to review and explore a virtual solution. We were determined to maintain the proven mechanics of the face-to-face version; it needed to be fun and engaging whilst creating a safe space for people to share what was on their minds. Scoring and leaderboards were essential components too.  

We explored several third-party software providers before settling on Point Solutions (previously known as TurningPoint) as our partner. We were delighted that we could retain all the critical aspects of WWYD and add flexibility and geographical reach at a time when home working was in place for everyone. 

WWYD had to go large

The nature of WWYD means customisation is often requested, which could include the size of the audience and the content for discussion. The demand for specific content and scalability led to the creation of the Conference Edition. Designed for up to 200 people at any one time. 

Since we created the online version, we have developed many custom solutions. 

For example, we built WWYD into a day-long onboarding session for 180 apprentices in a big four consultancy. A leading pharmaceutical company asked us to create a content set dedicated to company values for use across EMEA. In just three months, we designed and built a bespoke content set for a leading financial services business to embed the FCA conduct rules across their 1,500 UK-based team. In addition, in partnership with the UK Anti-doping organisation we developed a truly bespoke version of WWYD which has been adopted as a key part of their elite athlete education programme. 

Finally, Welcome Break (motorway services) asked us to develop a solution dedicated to Equality and Diversity. WWYD is perfect for exploring the complexity of this topic as it creates a safe space to explore and test understanding while surfacing the biases and assumptions that often trip us up.

The Future

WWYD is perfect for literally any soft topic; and by soft, we mean subjective.  However, when opinion and interpretation can lead to different outcomes, that creates a nightmare for organisations through inconsistency.  And leaving outcomes to chance adds significant risk.   

WWYD can socialise any topic; it creates a safe space for people to discuss and debate before arriving at a shared understanding of what is the best approach in a particular situation. Built-in reflection means that groups end with a shared pool of meaning, and the game-based approach means the experience is fun, engaging and memorable. The combination of these means your learning sticks.

Our approach to developing new topics falls into two camps. In the first instance, is there a demand?  If so, we will look to test the market and add it to the product roadmap. A classic example is ‘Equality and Diversity’, by far the most requested expansion pack.  So, we are working on it, building on the work that we started with Welcome Break.  The second camp is content that is too niche and falls outside our expertise, such as the project we did with UK Anti-doping.  In situations like these we provide the gameplay and scenario development expertise, the customer brings the content that they are expert in.  A more common approach, though, is when a specific customer wants something just for them, like company values. In this case, we explore the custom options for them.