"[removed][removed]" Mideast creatives

Epic win for Disrupt!/Games!/ in Tunisia

The finals of Disrupt!/Games!/ took place on Sunday May 3rd, and we are excited to announce the three prize winners!

In first place was team KidzLearnMate, comprised of three students at ESPRIT university: Aymen Belarbi, Labib Mezghanni and Muhamed Amine Khiari. Their concept is a mobile gamified educational application designed for children with mental disabilities, specifically autism and down syndrome. They impressed the judges with the level of research they had put in to the development of project, and with the unique value of being available in the Tunisian dialect, whereas other products available in Tunisia are either in French or Arabic and not the native language of the children.

Project “Syndrome” won second place with team Sana Abid, Chadi Abidi, Mohamed Mehdi Hassan and Maissa Amorri also of ESPRIT University. Their idea would diagnose and treat phobias through a 3D gaming experience with the use of a virtual reality headset. And winning 3rd place was the youngest Disrupt participant, 17 year old Ahmed Limame from the southern coastal city of Gabes. Ahmed’s idea, ImagineMusic, is a mobile game that allows users to make their own music through body movements.

Four expert judges selected the winners and evaluated all of the participants in their pitches. These were: university professor and president of the Tunisian Association for Creative Technologies Samia Chelby, founder and CEO of the INGENIUM investment fund Ismail Ben Yedder, founder and director of international advising group Elham Karim Sehnaoui, and political and cultural attaché at the embassy of the Netherlands Samir Marmouri.

The day began that morning with the final chance to win 30 seconds of pitching time by arriving on time. The participants had opportunities throughout the weekend to earn time by being on time, participating in games, and practicing their pitch with mentors. Sunday morning was dedicated to learning some final pitching techniques. On Friday, the participants played a game with words they had to say in their pitch, but this time each presenter was given a list of common words to avoid, such as “euh,” or “maybe.”

Then, the focus was put on the collective intelligence of the group and each team had the chance to practice their pitch in front of everyone else to get feedback both on the content and the style of each presenter. The group helped identify weaknesses in individual presenting styles, and shared positive remarks as well.

Throughout lunchtime, the teams had one final chance to earn time for their pitches by practicing with the mentors. By 1:30, every team had earned at least 3 minutes of pitching time, with 2 teams securing the max of 4 minutes.

After some final practice sessions and the chance to have professional photos taken by a photographer, it was time to begin the idea competition. Each team presented to the jury in front of the whole group within their specified time limit. Then, the judges had 5 minutes to pose their questions. Most questions focused on the feasibility of the products within the Tunisian market, and their ability to scale to be profitable. Presenting styles varied, with some having mock-ups and demos to present to the judges. After 2 intense hours, the jury left to make their final deliberations.

Before announcing the winners, the group enjoyed dinner together on Cogite’s terrace on the edge of Lake Tunis. After eating, the judges congratulated all the participants individually, and even announced a surprise honorary 4th place award to Mohamed Belhedi for his wait-time optimization game designed to be used in the Tunisian public administration. Mohamed’s won a free 1-month membership to Cogite.

If there is anything Disrupt!/Games!/ has showed us, it is that there is a bright future for games and gamified experiences in Tunisia. We were honored to spend these three days with some inspiring individuals. Congratulations to all!