The first time I had the idea for Movements Map was nearly 20 years ago, when I was in my 20s. It stemmed from my interest in the way the world works, and the way people work within it. For example, when we carry out an action – what is it that makes us do this? And, more interestingly for me, what is it that makes me do something differently to someone else?
Essentially, nearly everything we do in life has a physical movement attached. And when we think of these movements, although in the moment our range of action can seem infinite, there are actually a finite number of movements we can make. The idea behind Movements Map is to work backwards from these movements, to break them down into actions, and then further into single components of action, until we find the building blocks that are at the root of any skill we develop.
Although the way I think about movement has been with me for as long as I can remember, it was actually martial arts that made me take this thought and start to formulate it into an idea, and then a product. Martial arts catalysed this because, once I got to a higher level, I couldn’t help thinking about how it didn’t matter whether you were the most advanced or most amateur martial artist, the essential building blocks of movement were exactly the same. Ultimately, the basic movements of martial arts come down to the extension of limbs in different ways; the difference between a winner and a loser just comes down to execution and reason. So I thought, if we can create a stimulated environment that allows people to grasp this concept of the basic blocks of movement, they can begin to understand the concept of movement choice, the reason behind people’s choice of movement, and ultimately help them understand why one movement would win a fight, and one would lose it, for example.
Once my idea started to formulate in my mind, I reached out to friends around me for advice – and through my network of friends I was introduced to REACTOR.
REACTOR provided me with a framework that was really imperative to the progress of my product’s development. Through series of networking events REACTOR organised, I was surrounded by like-minded people who wanted to learn how to get an idea off the ground or further expand on a product that was already in the works. This environment had an intangible result for me and my product; simply being around people that were working towards similar goals encouraged me and kept me on track with my product. This sort of motivation and environment is really important to someone that is taking a leap on a project or idea that can take up a lot of personal time and resources.
Through the match funding element of the programme, REACTOR has also supported me with funding – which is helping me develop the idea as well as I possibly can at this stage.
Alongside the pitching support, one-to-one mentoring, and financial backing, I’ve also been able to make use of REACTOR’s incubator space; this has been the most critical element in the formulation of my product, especially in its current alpha phase.
With REACTOR’s help, my product began to evolve. It progressed into a strong alpha stage application which utilises a central, 3D character in order for users to play with and experience the building blocks of movement that have been incorporated. The character is set into a stimulated environment that will allow the user to not only consider the movements of their character, but, at a later stage, also the movements of opponent characters. For example, continuing with the example of martial arts; if you want to develop this skill, you must be able to simultaneously consider your own movement and the movement of someone else, you must perceive and react and shape your own movement in response – perception is the reason behind movement.
The example I have given, of a martial arts combat environment, would be a high level stage of the application, which forms the third of three components within the application. So the application reduces movement to its basic blocks, and this is the first stage, which we call Building Blocks, the second stage is a further development on Building Blocks, and the third stage is concerned with the higher level of thinking needed for combat skills; such as the example I provided earlier. Currently, the application is at Building Block stage, but the second and third layers will be the next addition. Because the application is designed to help people understand the concept of skill, and so better their skills, it really is designed for everyone - whether you want to learn the basic hand movement for piano, or advanced combat.
The product has been gaining a lot of momentum in the past few months; it now takes up the majority of my working hours. Although I took part in the 2017-18 REACTOR Big Gamification Challenge and Showcase, the network and resources of REACTOR are still available to me; with the incubator space being essential to the development of my product, forming the foundation where which I can research and develop my application.
While gamification is a big part of REACTOR, gamified elements do not yet exist in literal terms within my application – however, the idea of gaining a skill is a gamified concept in itself. Gaining skills or being an expert at something has the same effect as winning in terms of gamification, so in that sense, gamification really is in the core essence of the product itself.
In the future, once we have built the further layers, I believe we will add gamification concepts to the product to increase its user experience further. We will also be looking to develop the application past its current alpha stage into a beta stage, and continue to develop upon that until we have a final, finished version, and product, of a simple thought I had almost 20 years ago.