“Gaming for Peace” on the Trinity MBA

Trinity MBA alumnus, Patrick Saunders, reflects on his Social Enterprise Project – a gaming technology designed to tackle unconscious gender, racial and cultural bias.

30 Mar 2022

Patrick Saunders, analytical scientist in the Irish State Laboratory

Patrick Saunders is an analytical scientist in the Irish State Laboratory and member of the UK and Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists. Since participating in the MBA in 2019, he has completed the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting management accounting examinations. He is interested in innovation, research and development towards the creation of new knowledge, better understanding and successful collaboration in societies and organisations.

The Trinity MBA has all the ingredients to help you become a successful leader in business but more acutely, it’s about embarking on a journey to responsible business leadership. More than ever, the business world needs forward-looking leaders who understand how business can benefit the society it serves.

The MBA programme includes a Social Enterprise Project which teaches students how to empower communities and to put more in to society than they take out. The project allows students to apply their skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion to provide a sustainable growth path for social entrepreneurs and enterprises.

The project I worked on produced a roadmap to market growth and a roll out of an immersive game named, Gaming for Peace (GAP). The project, led by Professor Anne Holohan and a team of sociologists, games developers and an international group of Conflict Prevention and Peace Building (CPPB) professionals, created real-world conflict scenarios coupled with a decision-led assessment. This gaming technology was designed to support military professionals, in advance deployment, to make unbiased decisions in conflict zones, and to build trust among disparate cultures and communities.

The project introduced me to social entrepreneurship, developed my business skillset and gave me the opportunity to be part of a team that provided value to a social enterprise. It was a privilege to present a framework to expand on this innovative game and nascent learning modality. And since our involvement, GAP has now evolved into TILT, a gender awareness training programme, and is being trialled by the Seattle Police in Washington, USA, and An Garda Síochána in Ireland - development areas identified in our team project report.

Decisions in conflict environments change lives. Participating in a project that has the potential to create positive societal impact, break down cultural division and foster peace was a significant highlight of my MBA experience.

Sheila Cannon, Professor in Social Entrepreneurship, leads the Trinity Social Enterprise Project with great vigour and in doing so has created a network of organisations and SE project teams that have made a positive impact in the lives of not only the intended users, and the organisations involved but also the students themselves. This network is the centre of the social enterprise ecosystem in Ireland.

Written by Patrick Saunders

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