Award winning VR - Earth to Mars Honeycomb

Our exciting collaboration with Headspring has already delivered its first award - providing the behavioural scaffolding for an innovative virtual reality experience.

Do you remember the movie Lawnmower Man? No? Ok, here’s a brief plot summary to help you catch up (don’t worry, no spoilers!):

Dr. Lawrence Angelo works for Virtual Space Industries and runs experiments in using psychoactive drugs and virtual reality to enhance the cognitive performance of chimpanzees.

That movie was released in 1992, nearly thirty years ago. So we’ve been hearing about the amazing/horrifying things that virtual reality can offer us for quite some time and yet...most of our experiences to date are confined to conferences where we spend a couple of minutes in a virtual world oohing over how real(ish) everything seems. 

Meaningful application has been...slow. 

Headspring, a partnership between the IE Business School and the Financial Times, has been changing that. Their Earth to Mars simulation puts users into an intense experience that while set on the red planet, will feel quite familiar to any of us dealing with a high stress situation at work. It is all heightened and intensified to reveal quickly how we might interact with our colleagues in such situations, giving as close to a real reaction as you can get in a simulated environment (in the olden days, we brought actors in).

How does The Honeycomb fit in? 

The purpose of this intense experience is not just to have a moment of self-awareness but to be the start of a journey that leads to meaningful behaviour change. We’ve worked closely with the creators to identify the critical habits so people can come into the experience with an awareness of where their weaknesses and strengths are - this also serves as a baseline to measure whether the VR experience has an impact on those behaviours. After their VR experience, participants walk away with a checklist of habits they can develop to be better in high stress situations and a way to assess their performance back in the real world. 

This link between the VR experience and success back at work is what Claire Masson thought made all the difference in winning the award:

‘Serious games have been progressing rapidly but assessing their efficacy remains a gap. A proper assessment is what most serious games lack, which we’ve solved with the Honeycomb. With its diagnostic and behaviour change support tool, we can offer both a baseline assessment and follow up diagnostic. Honeycomb acts as a ‘how-to’ checklist to help take what people have learned from the VR experience and apply it back in their workplace.


When we presented at the Serious Play Conference (, we were told that our game's thoughtful integration of assessment was unique. We think Earth-to-Mars’ customised Honeycomb was the key differentiator that helped us earn the Silver Medal."

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