A startup founder went from being a wedding photographer to a virtual-reality trainer. Here's how his company is reshaping corporate training.
- Traditionally it's been difficult for corporate trainers to make certain subjects interesting enough to keep people engaged.
- Simeon Quarrie took a love of
technologyand a background in wedding photography to start VIVIDA, an immersive trainingcompany that relies heavily on virtual reality.
- In celebration of the launch of Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Fold, a device that's reshaping the technology landscape, we're celebrating innovative professionals like Quarrie who are reshaping their industries.
Simeon Quarrie knows firsthand the power the right visuals and story can have on learning.
"When I was a child, I was often six months behind in class because traditional teaching methods didn't click with me," he says. "But I found that when things were delivered in a way that was creative and involved some kind of story, I became engrossed."This way of thinking underpins Quarrie's work today. As the CEO and founder of the immersive-training company VIVIDA, he uses storytelling and the latest technology to transform the mundane into the compelling. In doing so, he is reshaping the way people learn and appreciate subjects ranging from cybercrime to workplace diversity.
But when his interest in this burgeoning industry started to wane, he pivoted to pursue his other passion: storytelling. Though he initially created websites and videos for small businesses, he shifted to become a wedding photographer during the 2008 financial crisis."I figured that if I was going to do it, I'd do it on a whole new level," Quarrie says. "We'd do shoots costing £30,000 that involved things like taking a trip to India to see the bride's dress being made so that when she walked down the aisle back in the UK everyone understood the story behind it."
Soon, several large organizations were asking the young entrepreneur if he could apply the same methodology to other subjects - especially those that most people found unspeakably dull.One of his first corporate challenges, he says, was when a client asked him, "There's a subject called 'business continuity' which is really dry - can you do something with that?'" Despite having no idea what business continuity was, Quarrie said yes. He knew he could bring it to life.
The rise of VR
With VIVIDA taking shape, Quarrie was presented with a golden opportunity to up his storytelling game when virtual reality finally started to live up to its early promise.
The chance to try it out came when Barclays, one of the UK's biggest banks, wanted to educate its teams around the world about how the company was keeping it and its customers safe.Quarrie figured the perfect way to do this would be to let people step into a virtual world. Ahead of a meeting with Barclays, Quarrie's team recreated the company's UK control center, virtually allowing the users to step inside and experience a room full of information screens.
"There'd been a mix-up with the meeting rooms, so we ended up doing the demo on the working floor," he says. "When one of the C-suite's personal assistants came out to see what the commotion was, she asked if she could try on the headset. Thirty seconds later, she said, 'We've got to elevate this.'"
Since that foray into
"It was quite something watching some of them take off their headsets with watery eyes," Quarrie says. "You could see them thinking, 'What would that have been like if it was my son or my daughter?' You could sense perceptions starting to shift."
A new way of doing thingsTo succeed in any business, Quarrie says, founders need to keep challenging the status quo. In his case, this means continuing to ask how corporate training can be more effective, though the opportunity to break the mold exists in every sector.
"Look at the Lenovo X1 Fold," he says. "The designers could have said, 'The computers we've already got - they work. They're good enough.' But instead, they asked what might be possible. They asked, 'What could we do?' And when people do that, that's where true innovation starts to take place."And the ThinkPad X1 Fold is truly a groundbreaking device: The laptop with a foldable screen offers innovative ways to interact with a PC, essentially reshaping how users create, connect, and collaborate to maximize productivity. Lenovo's ThinkShield solution offers unparalleled security, while the Intel™ Core® powerful core processor with hybrid technology delivers full PC performance. Last year certainly reminded Quarrie of the need to remain open to new ideas; his hand was forced in many ways by his team's temporary inability to turn up at an office with a box full of VR headsets.
Undeterred, he set about developing new ways of bringing thought-provoking training content to everything from PCs and tablets to mobile phones.
"I think the dream projects for me will always be those where we can help people to spend some time in someone else's shoes," Quarrie says. "If we can give them a different vantage point - whether that be down to gender, race, sexuality, or whatever - then the work that we're doing becomes really powerful."Find out how Lenovo is helping to reshape different industries with the ThinkPad X1 Fold
This post was created by Insider Studios with Lenovo.
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