What Does Validation Look Like?

When I was at EmbraerX, I led a project to gamify aviation maintenance training. The objective was to create for Generation Z the training and development experiences that they would create for themselves — so, VR games rather than dusty, printed PowerPoint slides. “Yeah, but can it be realistic enough?” was a question that dogged the project from the start.

In a few months, we created a prototype experience using the desktop flight simulator X-Plane. You could put on a VR headset and move freely around a large hangar complete with a range of high-resolution virtual aircraft. You could climb on the wing of a 747, inspect the brakes of an Embraer E190, and also find easter eggs we had hidden around the space.

One of the most memorable moments occurred when I had airline maintenance leaders testing the VR experience. A senior mechanic, wearing the headset, crouched to inspect virtual aircraft tires. As he stood up, he suddenly flinched and then laughed, saying “Ha — I almost hit my head on the wing.”

Validation can show up in a lot of different ways.