Applied Games Lab

The Applied Games Lab is a pop-up innovation catalyser built to unlock the power of applied games. We ignite collaborations, spark innovations and deliver projects that transform industries, economies and society.





“Videogames are always ahead of everything else…”
- Ben Thompson

Game tech is transforming the world.

Empowering changemakers to harness the innovation potential of games – The Applied Games Lab transforms businesses, grows economies and drives positive social impact. 

We solve wicked problems with playful solutions.

What we do

What we do

Applied Games is the application of game technologies, game design and game-based artificial intelligence to solve existing challenges and exploit new opportunities.

The Applied Games Lab is an innovation playground that unlocks the power of applied games. We ignite collaborations, spark innovations and deliver projects that transform industries, economies and society.

How We Do It

The Applied Games Lab is a pop-up innovation catalyser. Responsive, rapid and lean. Our unique processes deliver transformative, scalable and repeatable applied games innovation. They enable us to plug into any context or challenge, driving change by understanding the problem then catalyzing solutions that deliver measurable impact and return on investment.

Our proven innovation flow catalyzes speculative ideas, validates novel solutions and innovates ambitious collaborations. Its modular and scalable innovation toolkit can be reconfigured and remixed for any challenge. And throughout the process, our proprietary innovation impact tool de-risks investment and maximizes impact for our partners.

Where We Play

Where We Play

The Applied Games Lab is industry or sector agnostic. Our adaptable processes are designed to thrive in diverse contexts – anytime, anywhere. Focus areas include social innovation and impact, education and training, the green transition, workplace and productivity innovation, health and wellbeing, metaverses and entertainment. But from tech to textiles, we can help transform your challenges into opportunities.

Who We Play With

Who We Play With

The Applied Games Lab has catalyzed transformative change across sectors in collaboration with a range of partners:

“I can’t speak highly enough. It has so many strengths: deep domain expertise; a hugely collaborative and open approach; a very practical application of complicated technology; and a willingness to get stuck into a complex problem, to work with us to solve it”
Deborah Fox, Director of Creative Innovation, Nesta

Project Snapshots

Project Snapshots


Dairy farming is behind the digital curve. Essential data on animal welfare or productivity is often stored in antiquated central databases or even on paper! This means farmers and vets lack accurate, real-time data to make timely and critical decisions.

We ran a Catalyzer Lab that asked: “What if we could harness the power of game design and technologies to help dairy cows be healthier, happier and more productive?” What emerged was a solution that unlocked significant funding and delivered a unique ‘Fitbit for Cows’ proof of concept that harnesses eight technologies inside a game engine environment.

SmartView is a potential step change in productivity and animal welfare. As a project it delivered a 50X return on investment.


The UK is experiencing an obesity crisis. This exerts pressure on healthcare and public services, negatively impacts the economy, but most importantly, adversely affects quality of life and life expectancy for millions.

With Nesta’s A Healthy Life Mission, we ran a series of labs to understand the challenge and catalyze solutions. We then ran an open innovation competition to develop a ‘Playbox’ – a mix of game technologies, game design and Big Data. The Playbox is a synthetic sandbox that communicates and visualizes the systemic challenge of obesity in engaging, dynamic and instantly understandable ways.

The project delivered a proof of concept harnessing game engines, game design and game-based AI with the potential to inform and empower policymakers. Playbox is currently under evaluation at Nesta. In addition, five UK game studios were upskilled and two accelerated by significant funding


Anecdotal data from players suggested Autonauts – released by Denki in 2019 – was effectively enhancing children’s problem solving skills through gameplay. The game was not deliberately designed to do this. So, Denki wanted to understand how this was happening and what might be done in response.

We catalyzed a research collaboration with Ukie’s Digital Schoolhouse that adopted an inverse approach to applied games. Instead of applying game elements to specific challenges, it explored how in-market game products might deliver translational innovation through unintended positive externalities.

The research found Autonauts delivers considerable value as a tool to help deliver the UK Government’s National Curriculum for Computing. As a result, Denki is unlocking investment to develop a dedicated educational version of the game.

Future Fashion Factory IFSF

The global fashion industry is responsible for 2.1 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gasses annually. It also produces 20% of the world’s wastewater and one fifth of the world’s plastic, much of which ends up in landfill due to ‘fast fashion’ business models that discourage repair, reuse and recycling of clothes.

With our friends at Future Fashion Factory, we launched an ambitious open innovation competition. Its aim is to harness the potential of applied games to empower fashion consumers to pressure the fashion and textile industries into developing more robust sustainability practices and credentials.

The project is ongoing but we were inundated with applications. So far, we’ve upskilled 10 UK SMEs and invested £150K into the UK games sector.

Sound of Light

The enforced isolation resulting from COVID-19 led Jung In Jung, an InGAME R&D Fellow, to start asking philosophical questions about how we interact socially, our individual biases and pre-baked assumptions.

Applied Games Lab empowered Jung In to address these questions by catalyzing and developing an experience that applies game design techniques and technologies in highly unorthodox ways. Sound of Light explores our biases through anonymous play, experienced in a captivating world of light and shade, silence and sound.

Sound of Light is a delightful and provocative piece of playful media. It has entertained and enriched those who experienced it while developing the practice of an early career researcher. The lessons learned from Sound of Light have informed Jung In’s follow-on research – including an applied games project exploring digital therapeutics with Johns Hopkins University.


An important performance artwork from the 1980s, with ties to acclaimed brutalist architecture and iconic British filmmaking, was in danger of being lost.

The Applied Games Lab empowered researcher Adam Lockhart to reimagine, recreate and recommunicate the performance through the innovative application of game design tools, techniques and technologies.

Project Mainbeam not only successfully preserved and archived a temporal artwork but reimagined it as a new immersive experience. This experience has engaged new audiences, allowing younger generations to enjoy a work of art and cultural context that otherwise would have disappeared forever.

Inclusive Design Accelerator

We all either have current access needs or will have needs in the future. Accessibility ensures people with disabilities can use products and services. Inclusive design includes and extends accessibility, helping improve the quality, consistency and durability of a user experience. UK businesses lose approximately £2 billion a month by overlooking the needs of disabled people.

The Applied Games Lab, in collaboration with StoryFutures Academy and Open Inclusion, launched the Inclusive Design Accelerator Challenge. The purpose of this open innovation competition was to speed up and democratize the adoption of inclusive design in immersive content creation. The Challenge offered a unique funding opportunity for companies to develop and apply inclusive innovation practices, prototype inclusive innovation toolkits and deliver immersive content that enables wider access and provides inclusive user experiences.

The project upskilled 10 SMEs in inclusive design and invested £100K into the UK games and immersive sector. It funded Dundee game developer Hyper Luminal to embed accessibility and inclusivity in its close to market IP, Pine Hearts. Not only did this result in a more inclusive game but Hyper Luminal also developed a toolkit for embedding inclusivity and diversity throughout its design and development process. This has delivered tangible commercial benefits for the business plus non-quantifiable benefits likely to be equally important in the long-term.

Net Zero

The GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) sector is committed to the green transition but faces multiple challenges. Each new exhibition has an environmental impact, particularly if it tours. And the millions who travel to view exhibitions and collections every year unwittingly contribute a significant carbon footprint.

With the Victoria & Albert Museum London, we ran a Catalyser Lab at Norwich University of the Arts. Our unique innovation toolkit enabled a diverse cohort of gamemakers and climate experts to further explore and define the challenge then generate early-stage solutions that harnessed game technologies and game design techniques to reduce the carbon footprint of permanent and touring exhibitions.

Four early-stage solutions emerged from the Lab. One is currently under evaluation for potential progression to an R&D probe project. The Lab also provided further validation of our sector agnostic, pop-up innovation catalyser operating system.

Leith Agency

Women face many health disparities, from clinical trials marred by gender bias, to a lack of focus on gender-specific health conditions, and systemic biases in healthcare delivery. This culminates in unequal healthcare access and poorer health outcomes for women compared to men.

In collaboration with Leith Agency, we ran Diagnostic, Discover and Catalyser Labs to explore how applied games might address these biases and inequalities.

Multiple solutions emerged during our Catalyser Lab. The preferred solution applies game technologies, game design and game-based AI to create an engaging, self-learning, community driven, women’s health ‘co-pilot’. This will provide hyper-personalized advice and information to help women gain more control of their individual health journeys. With Leith, we’re exploring an open innovation challenge for later in 2024.



“Interactive games are the motherlode of tech innovation"
Mary Meeker

More specifically, we believe the application of game technologies, game design techniques and game-based AI can transform industries and grow economies, empower creators and unleash creativity – and ultimately – solve wicked problems and drive positive social change.

Why Now?

Why Now?

The application of game technologies and game design techniques is all around us.

From advanced digital twins that simulate complex real-world systems with unparalleled scale and fidelity, to virtual production playgrounds that enable screen creatives to enhance creativity and streamline production flows. Or from persistent meterverses where a new generation of creators express themselves, to language learning apps that empower, motivate and monetise millions every single day. All harness the power of games to drive transformative innovation and sustainable growth.

The market opportunity is massive. In 2023, Ukie – the UK’s trade body for videogames – revealed that game technologies were worth £1.3 Billion for non-gaming industries in the UK. And the Digital Twin market alone is predicted to be worth over £48 Billion globally within the next two years.

We believe there are almost unlimited opportunities for game design and technologies to deliver transformative innovation. So, the Applied Games Lab has a clear purpose: to harness that innovation potential to invent a radically better, more prosperous future – for all of us.

Why Us?

Why Us?

The Applied Games Lab is built by Sean Taylor and Chris Lowthorpe. The team who delivered the award-winning InGAME and its 16X return on public investment.

By serious people, for serious people. The Lab is laser focused on delivering transformative growth, empowering the next generation of innovators and creators, and solving the most wicked problems in our society.

We’re about innovation. And impact. And building a better future.

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