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Company: Daimler AG, Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Category: ;Achievement in Recruitment

Entry Title: transmission.vin at Web Summit 2017

Achievement Essay:

transmission.vin is a transmedia recruiting game by Daimler’s HR and IT Sales & Marketing units, addressing and activating digital talent and start-ups at the Web Summit 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of Daimler’s trade fair presence with its marques Mercedes-Bend and Smart. The games was produced by an international team from Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Design Innnovation (AU), design studio 2PT (AU) and gerenwa GmbH (DE). Key focus was to create a joyful and interactive solution to approach digital natives as potential new employees or partners, as well as to promote Daimler and the newly launched Mercedes-Benz suite of public APIs.

The development of the entire project took 11 weeks only, and the actual game was rolled out and operated at Web Summit during three days, November 7 to 9, 2017. There, conference attendees were drawn into a 360º carhacking conspiracy which combined a satirical plot, online and offline puzzles with an up-close technology demonstration of the new APIs, all within the eco-system of the IT conference: paid actors onboarded visitors, handing them a branded punch card that triggered their initial curiosity. The punch card puzzle led to the Mercedes-Benz Coders' Lounge. There, via public terminals, the player came across a hidden hacker portal website through which a fictitious hacker group contacted her, introducing to the plot. To play, the player had to register with her contact details and email address as a communication channel.

Engaged by a conversational bot, she then received various tasks and online puzzles that all involved aspects of IT security, API programming and cryptography. The player was then challenged to locate one of several Smart cars hidden on the exhibition grounds, and, using a mobile app compiled via the hacker portal, had to unlock her assigned car with the help of the Daimler API toolkit. Whilst unlocking the car, the player had to decide whether to let loose a computer virus or to contain it; and in each car’s glove compartment, an envelope with a single-board computer as a giveaway was waiting: the viral “heart” of the hack. After that, the game ended and double-agent actors congratulate the player on her successful mission.

transmission.vin is a response to a virulent need for action: traditional methods of recruiting often fail with digital natives. This is because they hardly take into account the positive potential of digitisation, which has, however, had a lasting impact on the desired target group. With its entertaining narrative framing and intrinsically motivating gameplay, which relied on curiosity about user retention, transmission.vin addresses the language of the digital natives and consciously triggered their character traits in a uniquely immersive fashion: Digital Qualifications / Digital Literacy, the ability to multitask, an affinity for networking, learning by doing and a preference for instant gratification and cyclic rewards.

Almost 600 conference attendees played the game and agreed to be contacted for further HR measures, and a significant amount applied for jobs with Daimler after having been reached out to with a conclusive Email newsletter; in addition, the game’s mix of cutting edge technology, self-irony and hands-on immersion triggered conversations between Daimler’s digital innovation team and start-ups from all over the world.

Based on feedback received from participants and on our own anecdotal observations, the experience has achieved its primary objective: to address and to empower digital talent & young-and-coming technologists, and to credibly convey Daimler’s corporate change from a car manufacturer to a mobility provider with a strong focus on networked digital solutions, employing a surprising tool (brand promotion) whilst introducing the new API platform (product promotion) to potential development partners for longer-term cooperations.

Achievement Summary:

-Integrates a transmedia game format with an exciting, interactive narrative to address digital natives in "their language", and appealing to their curiousity instead of overtly courting them – thus, uniquely combines gamified recruiting with brand-based storytelling in the form of a cool experience.

-Activates potential up-and-coming talent and has generated confirmed email addresses for further contact:
almost 600 players who successfully completed the game agreed to subsequent contact by Daimler's IT & HR department, from which applications and hirings followed.

-Promotes brand: Daimler's "digital credibility" within the technology and start-up scene was communicated convincingly.

-Promotes product: Daimler's API developer platform was promoted in the form of a playful discussion to generate new ideas and address potential technology partners.

-Simultaneously, addresses a range of relevant target groups: Digital talent (potential applicants); technology partners & start-ups (dialogue on brand promotion); developer community (establishing of collaborations for product development).

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