11 Enterprises Creating Value with Innovation Projects

11 Enterprises Creating Value with VR Innovation Projects

And the Best Practices for Matching Their Success

Do Your Innovation Projects Impact Earnings?

One of the most common innovation projects that enterprises have launched in the past 5 years is virtual reality (VR). Unfortunately, many companies have struggled with bringing VR permanently into operations to experience the full value. 

The Covid pandemic drove additional experimentation and adoption of VR in enterprises and some big success stories and clear best practices have evolved.

This whitepaper showcases VR innovation projects that are making an impact on revenue by solving the following problems:

  • Reducing the skilled labor gap
  • Reducing production rework
  • Improving worker safety
  • Reducing training costs
  • Reducing financial risk
  • Improving employee retention

In surfacing these success stories, we also looked at the common factors in the implementations that made them successful and compiled them into a list of seven best practices. In addition to these seven best practices, you need to have the correct mindset when it comes to virtual reality training, and achieving success with it. The key for a successful implementation is to use this as valuable training time and don’t use it as play time, or something to use up the budget. When you give VR training the value, time, and effort that it deserves, is when you will see the value. Innovation leaders can apply these best practices toward a relaunch in order to achieve the value described in this paper.

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Innovation Projects That Reduced the Skilled Labor Gap

Fast food burger and nuggets

The Problem:

A global fast food chain was struggling to hire and the workers that were applying had no experience. Furthermore, thanks to the pandemic, many had never even been inside one of their restaurants. Training by giving 17 year olds a pdf manual wasn’t working.

The Solution

The innovation team felt that VR might be used to better engage their entry-level workers and train them better. To make it work, innovation leaders coordinated IT, HR, and training resources to work together to figure out the best way to introduce VR. They worked with an experienced VR content provider to develop content on how to work their proprietary equipment and started training new hires at one location.

They found VR worked to engage new hires, and even attracted additional applicants through word of mouth. The time to onboard reduced and they nearly eliminated early turnover. With initial success, they began expanding to all locations—completely changing the expectations and results of entry level onboarding.

A gas meter

The Problem:

A major utilities provider could not get new hires into the field fast enough to meet customer demand. They needed to find a way to quickly train unskilled workers to safely and correctly perform meter inspections.

The Solution

The innovation team recommended VR to help. They found a VR content provider who already had standard VR training on the basics for field engineers like inside and outside meter inspection so they were able to get started quickly. 

The company was blown away by a more than 50% reduction in onboarding and a 90% reduction in the time needed for job shadowing before they became fully productive. They are continuing the program and expanding to training for existing employees.

Innovation Projects That Reduced Rework

A ship

The Problem:

A company that builds extremely large equipment was experiencing an increase in mistakes made in production. This was attributed at least partly to the skilled labor gap—both with new under skilled workers as well as overwork trying to continue production with resource gaps. These mistakes were being found late in the manufacturing process and causing the company millions of dollars each year in rework. 

The Solution

The innovation team suggested VR to help reduce production mistakes. The engineering team worked with IT and a VR content provider to create custom training to address the production issues. Workers were receptive to training in VR and since its introduction, the need for rework has continued to reduce.

Fast food bagging image

The Problem:

A fast food chain that was noticing an increase in customer complaints about inaccurate bagging. This increase was attributed to ineffective onboarding. The chain knew their lifetime value of keeping a customer and the increase in mistakes was threatening long term revenue. 

The Solution

The innovation team got involved and recommended trying VR training as a way for new employees to practice bagging in a life-like environment with all of the stress of needing to move quickly to keep order throughput high. 

They found that new employees were much more efficient when they started working and reported bagging mistakes dropped quickly. The chain is expanding the use of VR to all employees as they move to new positions.

Innovation Projects That Improved Worker Safety

Two construction workers looking over a worksite

The Problem:

Worker safety was a costly problem for an insurance company that insures construction workers. The insurance company regularly did on site safety training with clients, but were never able to make improvements in injuries.

The Solution

Their head of innovation recommended that their agents try using VR for job-site safety training. There was a lot of standard VR training content available for construction so they were able to easily pilot this initiative.

The insurance company found a 100% higher engagement with the VR training compared to the training they were offering previously. They are also seeing a reduction in accidents, which is lowering premiums. So it’s a win-win for the insurance company and the construction companies they insure. In fact, they’ve heard from their clients that they are experiencing higher retention and productivity from their workers—building clear loyalty toward the insurance company.

Generic medicine

The Problem:

A large pharmaceutical company was struggling to meet production objectives and found this was due to a combination of difficulty hiring workers as well as injuries happening that were causing employees to miss work.

The Solution

While HR worked on hiring, the innovation lead recommended VR training to improve worker safety. They ran a pilot for lab safety training with standard VR content and saw a 25% to 30% reduction in accidents. They’ve been able to quantify an increase in productivity because people are at work and producing. They quickly expanded and also experienced a reduction in OSHA fines. 

Innovation Projects That Reduced Training Costs

A car engine

The Problem:

A large manufacturer used to send engines and engine blocks around the world to train technicians. The cost of the engine, the cost of travel, and missing work made for a very high  cost of training.

The Solution

The innovation team had been looking for an application to test out VR and felt this was a winner as it had the potential to eliminate those high costs. After coordinating the effort between IT, HR and training teams, with the VR content provider, they were able to create custom content to replace their training with their unique equipment. 

The VR content provided an experience that matched real-life. It was more effective as employees could get more practice time with the VR engines than they could with the in-person training. The company is now expanding use to other high-cost training to dramatically reduce costs while improving outcomes.

The isle of a grocery store

The Problem:

A large grocery chain was flying corporate employees to various stores to train them on the regional differences. This was costly in both travel and time on both the employees being trained and the host store management who conducted tours and answered questions. Executives calculated this was costing them over $27M annually just for employee time, not including travel or loss of productivity during training.

The Solution

The innovation team recommended creating a VR program for their various stores that was interactive so that employees could browse through the stores and get common questions answered. After creating the content with a VR content provider, the company gained immediate and recurring annual savings without sacrificing the value of the training.

Wood stacked up

The Problem:

A company that manufactures building materials has hundreds of locations, frequent product design changes and high turnover. Because of this, thousands of employees are trained every week, which is a big hit to productivity.

The Solution

An innovation leader suggested that VR could help them train faster. They worked with a VR content provider to create training on how to perform the various jobs on the line and were able to add in new materials as specifications changed. With VR they added back an average of four hours on every shift for each employee. This reduced their productivity loss from training by half, which made an impact on materials produced and overall revenue.

Innovation Projects That Reduced Financial Risk and Improved Employee Retention

A woman working on a computer

The Problem:

In a job market where good talent is hard to find, a large software company was struggling to retain employees as well as attract new employees. They were also struggling with how to train with a now hybrid workforce. 

The Solution

The company saw a Pwc study on how effective VR was for soft skill training and also felt this would be a positive experience in the office for when employees came in for hybrid work. There were many standard soft skill VR training courses available, so the company started with basic communication and conflict resolution training. The training allowed employees to practice difficult conversations in a safe environment and employees could watch their own avatar performance playback. 

Employees were blown away with how impactful the training was and at the innovative approach. The company noticed lower turnover than peer companies within a few months of rolling out the training and leadership feedback was clear that conflicts were lessened during this time period.

Someone using an ATM

The Problem:

A financial institution had experienced problems with gender discrimination and harassment and were not seeing improvements with training. 

The Solution

The head of HR collaborated with the innovation team to give VR training a try. Instead of an uncomfortable experience, employees were able to take the training in a safe space and practice having difficult conversations with people of different genders and races. 

The training was able to help coach their employees on the language used and drove actionable change in gender inclusion. HR notes that complaints began rapidly decreasing, which significantly lowered financial risk. The training was so successful that the organization is looking into using VR for mindfulness training as well.

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Seven Best Practices for Success With a VR Innovation Project

Training managers play an important role in launching VR training, but they can’t do it alone. It is critical to get resources from IT and HR involved to help make the rollout a success. Innovation leaders can play a key role in helping with this as well as creating a plan for the pilot and beyond. Here are the seven best practices for Innovation leaders that were utilized by the successful innovation projects described in this paper. Companies are finding that VR training is an excellent way to assess training retention when combined with classroom, video, or e-learning materials. But VR training is also a highly effective way to train on many subjects as research studies continue to prove that learning retention is higher and time to train is shorter.

Get IT involved

Most training managers have very little exposure to technology. They’ve perhaps used Learning Management platforms, but most instruction takes place in a classroom or via pre-recorded videos. Purchasing headsets and content, figuring out how to get the content onto the headsets, testing out use outside the company firewall, etc. are daunting challenges without the help of appropriate IT resources. Innovation leaders need to get IT leadership involved and explain how important it is to the company to get VR working. need to get technology set up for success

Get corporate technology

A common mistake early VR adopters make is buying the wrong headsets. Headsets that are made for gaming are not ideal for corporate use, and headsets like Oculus work in a very isolated architecture that causes IT departments major headaches.  It is critical to ensure that IT obtains headsets that are agnostic and made for corporate use cases. Pico and Vive are solid headsets for corporate use, but make sure that IT works with the VR content provider to determine the best technology for your unique environment.   Beyond headsets, there is VR software that can host the content, wirelessly deliver it to headsets, monitor usage and results, and integrate with Learning Management Systems. This investment is critical to making VR a success and to making it a part of training operations.

Choose a strong use case

There are many use cases for VR in corporate environments. To increase the chance of success, choose a use case that has clear and measurable ROI. For many companies this is hard skill training where training costs are high due to travel or having to ship expensive equipment. This also may require custom content for proprietary processes or equipment. Another common starter application is safety training. Here there is more standard content available so it may be a good choice if the company is worried about the investment in custom content for a pilot. Don’t hesitate to consider the employee group being trained and the leadership as to how willing they are to try VR. It may be that gender inclusion training for office workers may be a great first choice. To make a determination, consider bringing business unit leaders together to discuss training needs and work with a VR content provider to discuss options.

Select the right content

Now that there are standard options for many training courses, it is important to select the most effective and relevant content. Preferably content that has been already proven by other companies. Look for a VR content provider with a wide selection of content who can advise on the most effective courses. Of course, standard content may not always be a fit. Ensure the VR content provider you work with can customize standard content to make the tweaks that fit your unique way of work. And if fully custom content is needed, be sure you are working with a provider who has experience working with similar corporations and knows how to effectively manage the process to make it as frictionless as possible.

Get HR involved

If training reports into HR, they will of course be involved. But HR resources are critical to VR success in other ways. The internal communications team should be enlisted to help educate employees on the VR project. They need to communicate why the company is exploring VR and the value you are trying to achieve. They can also help in rollout to build excitement and collect feedback. They should ask for testimonials from employees on their experience and share that with the company. This is especially important if an earlier project with VR failed. The more forethought and effort on this, the more successful the company will be at adopting VR and realizing value.

Incentivize training managers

Using VR for training is completely different than how training managers deliver training today. If they have no incentive to put in the work to figure out this new technology they will revert back to the way they’ve been training. Incentives can be monetary or they could be part of performance objectives. Something that PIXO VR offers is their certified virtual reality trainer program. By administering training sessions in virtual reality with PIXO, you will acquire certification based on the total number of sessions tendered. Tying their success to the successful launch of VR is key to the company rapidly seeing value instead of floundering.

Create a plan beyond the pilot

VR isn’t just a passing fad to test out. It has clearly been proven to be a highly effective addition to corporate training programs. Innovation leaders need to push for planning to go beyond pilot applications and to consider the phases of rolling out VR training to more employees and more use cases. Having a long term plan to continue to grow and mature with VR training use cases provides a path for the company to follow. Add clear milestones and tie them into performance objectives so that the company can expand value.

If you are interested in learning more about PIXO’s certified VR training program, please click here. Along with the certified training program, PIXO provides a great guide about how to roll out VR training into your business. You can find that whitepaper here.

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VR Innovation Is a Strong Investment

These 11 examples of successful implementations of VR thanks to innovation teams is proof that VR can be successful and make a big impact on the business. The key is educating on long term value and coordinating the right resources together to handle this change. IT needs to be involved to help support this new technology. Training needs to buy-in to the value and the more strategic role they will play in the company. And HR needs to support rollout with employee education and promotion. When these resources work together, innovation investment yields big returns.

If you’ve already tried a VR innovation project, but it didn’t pan out, perhaps it’s time to try again with these best practices and inspirational proof from the examples above. Remember to have the correct mindset when it comes to VR training. When you give VR training the value, time, and effort that it deserves, is when you will see the value because if you don’t get started with VR, the competition will quickly gain an advantage.


PIXO’s Extended Reality (XR) platform streamlines the management of an enterprise’s training program, making it worry-free for training directors. In one step, enterprises select, manage, deploy and track training content and users globally to thousands of devices with PIXO. With our vast offering of off-the-shelf VR Training Content, the ability to create custom content for your specific needs and integration of our platform to your LMS, PIXO makes it simple to run and scale your XR training program. Headquartered in Royal Oak, Michigan, the PIXO mission is to unlock human potential and improve lives through the power of emerging technology.

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