Change Agent

How Axonify CEO Carol Leaman is turning workplace training into a game

The serial entrepreneur’s latest venture aims to help companies teach employees so that knowledge actually sticks

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Axonify CEO Carol Leaman

Axonify CEO Carol Leaman: “We can teach anything.” (Portrait by George Qua-Enoo)

Carol Leaman is a serial entrepreneur who has built several startups into multimillion-dollar companies, including PostRank, RSS Solutions and Fakespace. Her latest venture, Axonify, aims to improve corporate training by making it more like a game.

“What we’ve done is completely transform the way companies deliver knowledge and information to their employees. We wrap the mechanics of video games around core lessons. We can teach anything, whether it’s policies and procedures or a new way to drive sales performance.

“Some of our games are brainteasers, some are arcade-style games, some are multi-player—people can choose whatever they want to play. But embedded in each game is a question the employee needs to know the answer to. We’ve incorporated research around brain science and memory, and we know that playing games breaks down barriers to receiving information. And we’ve built in bonuses so that workplaces are actively rewarding employees for knowledge acquisition. Then we deliver analytics that show how the knowledge translates into a behaviour change, which gets a company a very measurable outcome.

“Retail clients we’ve worked with—Walmart and Toys “R” Us, for example—have seen workplace safety incidents decline significantly, because we’ve found a way to help their employees learn to work more safely. What’s become crystal clear is that this approach to learning is the most effective way to get anyone to learn. It’s essentially taking what we have in our lives as consumers—devices and games—and applying it to a professional environment.”