Behind the scenes of FLIGBY – from idea to invention

What do you think, how many people and how long did it take to create the #1 world (2012 Seattle) award winning serious game, FLIGBY?

invention of fligby

Believe it or not, it all began 10 years ago…or even a bit more. Maybe the below unfolding story sounds a bit mystical, being the creation of  lucky coincidences.

Back in 2006 Zad Vecsey – the creative and enthusiastic heart and engine of the project FLIGBY – had to realize at an international e-learning conference that even though his company has great change and project management simulations, he still cannot compete with international organizations. There are various companies on the market with huge capital selling similar e-learning concepts built upon the same content. Great…so how to move further from a this kind of situation?

It happened at the same conference though that He has heard about the concept of flow and the possibility of its application for workplace situations. And it hit him. The idea – like a waterfall’s clear water flows into a lake – poured into his mind: if he cannot compete on the technical side then he is going to compete on the content side of e-learning applications on international markets. And this content would be: flow and good business.

And this is where the first lucky coincidence came in: it turned out that one of His partners, who regularly bought training from his company is actually Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s – the father of flow – nephew. Szabolcs Sajgo was kind enough to draw Zad and his idea to the Professor’s attention, but even though the e-mail has arrived from a family member, still nothing happened for a long period of time. In the fall of 2006 Zad finally decided to write to Prof. Csikszentmihalyi himself. Still nothing happened. If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain – he thought, and he sat on an airplane and flew to California to meet Prof. Csikszentmihalyi in person.

Second lucky coincidence: the Professor tried to keep his distance and remained skeptical about Zad’s grandiose plans. He agreed though to see his previous project management simulation that was developed with close co-operation of Zsolt Eross, former Hungarian mountaineer.  He liked what he saw and as being a mountaineer himself, finally agreed to work with Zad.

This was the “be careful what you wish for” situation: Zad had the idea and enthusiasm, he won Prof. Csikszentmihalyi’s agreement and involvement to the project, but how to move further?!

Back at that time – before the economic crisis – he still had a huge team working for him: 8 members were responsible for developing the content in close co-operation with Prof. Csikszentmihalyi himself, and another 8 members were working on the technical side. At the beginning He built the concept around avatars – his pride for his unique invention had been broken off soon though: as plug ins are not allowed at various companies he got several rejections. He had two choices: give it up or flee ahead. He chose the second one. He hired an American script writer who – together with a team – worked out the scenes. He involved his former professor, Paul Marer into content development. He rehired his former programmer, Szabolcs Botkos who not just created what he was asked for: “the clickable buttons”, but out of diligence he created a page that shows the achieved results of a given player. And that was the moment when Zoltan Buzady has joined the team as committed teacher of Fligby in his leadership courses and also as the Director of the Research Program.

And this is that point of the story where most story tellers would say: and the rest is history… Well, not exactly… Tamas Reszegh and I just joined to the team this March as great changes are about to happen: Tamas works with the technical team on reprogramming the game and adding new features and I am helping out in content development… All I can say now is that having a Fligby account can be life alternating.