Enabling digital creativity for widespread well-being
PeaceLove, known for in-person expressive arts workshops that promote mental wellness, wants to extend its reach to help millions of people. That vision led to Scribl, an innovative digital game that captures the essence of the in-person events in an accessible, scalable format. Developed in collaboration with Slalom and AWS, Scribl is garnering positive feedback in pilot tests and represents a revolutionary new business model for PeaceLove.
Mobile Application Development, Prototyping, User Experience, Game Design, Product Strategy, Solution Ownership, Software Engineering, Quality Engineering, Experience Design
AWS Amplify, React, Amazon DynamoDB
Creating peace of mind through art
The PeaceLove organization started out of the founders’ personal experience with the benefits of creativity for mental health. Beginning with arts workshops at a children’s intensive treatment unit, the team developed an effective curriculum that fosters empathy and belonging to help people feel better.
Since 2015, PeaceLove has trained frontline professionals as facilitators in 27 states and Canada, and it has impacted more than 80,000 lives. PeaceLove workshops give people time and space to get their hands dirty playing with art supplies and telling each other stories about their experiences.
The constraints of physical events meant limited reach
PeaceLove has always had an ambitious vision, with plans to expand its modality from local efforts to a widespread movement. But when the lockdowns of COVID put a halt to in-person events, the timeline on those plans was moved up to “yesterday.”
Even after a switch to virtual training sessions and workshops, PeaceLove was running into capacity issues because of the time and personnel required to run 60-to-90-minute workshops and two-day trainings.
The team wanted to pivot to a scalable digital experience, but like many nonprofits, PeaceLove didn’t have ready access to engineers on staff who could rapidly design and build an app. The organization needed connections to experienced digital product partners and funding opportunities.
Connection and well-being at thousands of fingertips
Today, PeaceLove has a powerful new tool in its art caddy: an online game called Scribl. The digital experience of playing Scribl with a group replicates the most important aspects of the face-to-face workshops, including a sense of psychological safety and an intentional connection to others.
Slalom contributed to the game design, which shapes important aspects of the user experience. With Scribl, everyone is on an equal playing field, so there’s less emphasis on skill and more on self-expression. Leaders can customize the prompts to get the right level of interaction for the group, and players are encouraged to engage with emoji reactions to each other’s stories in real time.
Scribl also has unique features that make the game more efficient to get up and running. Facilitators hardly need any training, and they can launch a new game in moments without needing to install an app or log in. A round can be played in minutes, but the experience is also repeatable to build team rapport over time.
To help facilitators gauge the game’s impact, they can see data on the players’ experiences, including sentiment before and after play, the number of stories shared, and the types of reactions (such as gratitude, connection, and bravery.
In terms of organizational sustainability, Scribl represents a new and transformative business model. It allows PeaceLove to create relationships with more customers that need corporate wellness solutions, since Scribl is well suited to a work environment and provides an onramp to more intensive programs.
Matt Kaplan, CEO of PeaceLove, describes bold aspirations for Scribl. “We want to scale this experience to as many corporate wellness programs as possible. And if Scribl is adopted internally in a company, it can also trickle down to families, to the community level. Because someone experienced Scribl through the generosity of their company, this could be a way to connect and engage with your teenagers, your faith-based organization, or your sports teams. You name it—the potential is limitless.”
“Fostering connections and empathy beyond the organizational walls is a really exciting way that we can add value to a company and its culture.”
Matt Kaplan, CEO, PeaceLove
How PeaceLove realized the vision of scalability
Scribl came about when PeaceLove was approached by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to partner on developing corporate wellness solutions that would address the growing social and emotional well-being needs in the communities it served. That partnership offer was met with an easy yes.
Slalom came on board to assist with the design and development work, which PeaceLove didn’t have the capability to do in-house. In only six weeks, the team produced a fully featured MVP that was ready for user feedback.
“Working with Slalom, we instantly trusted you as the experts. To have that level of expertise at our fingertips at this early stage was such a gift, not only to be able to develop the product quickly, but also to set us up for success in the long term.”
JJ Jacobs, Product Manager, PeaceLove
Scribl’s path from pilot to prime time
AWS stepped forward to pilot test Scribl across its EPIC Leadership Program, which trains leaders in emotional intelligence and interpersonal dynamics skills. Insights from the actual user experience will inform the next set of features to make Scribl even better from the player’s perspective.
The 541 players who piloted Scribl found it generated instant camaraderie in weekly meetings, encouraged inclusion with more voices in the conversation, and provided insight for improving the way they work. Across 102 games played, there was an average 21% increase in mood. One participant said, “The ability to have a gradient of depth to the questions can create profound opportunities for people to learn about each other, while building empathy and understanding. To succeed in the hybrid world, we need warmth, trust, and good intention.”
Future ideas for the game include the potential for a generative AI component, which would create a unique combined group drawing that incorporates elements of each player’s style and contribution.
Each step leads PeaceLove closer to a commercial launch of Scribl, poised to impact countless lives and elevate the mental health of individuals and communities everywhere, and Slalom Build is proud to support this work.