July 16, 2013


Client: Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and Black Country Local Authorities

Brief: Recognising the need to enhance global awareness of the Black Country automotive components sector the client commissioned DNA to produce a ‘Black Country Virtual Car’ interactive website. The solution envisaged should provide overseas investors with up to date supplier information and market intelligence, increase awareness of both mature and developing supply chains in the Black Country and increase business opportunities for existing component suppliers and attract new investment.

Solution: Working to a project steering group and, ultimately, to the Foreign Direct Investment Group, the solution contained a range of innovative features including: an introductory 3D animation of the virtual car (codenamed Black Country Bullet); a visual search solution in which supplier companies could be found by clicking on the components they made; a comprehensive supplier database in which companies could be found against a wide range of search criteria and; a newsfeed section in which emerging automotive and good news stories can be listed to further raise the profile of local supply chain companies.

Outcome: The prototype version of the site has attracted a high degree of interest and has been featured in a number of high profile activities including presentations to Government Ministers, at regional trade shows and is now becoming a key part of the Black Country’s strategic marketing plans. A stand-alone video of the Bullet 3D animation has been produced as an additional marketing asset and the site has been well received by participating automotive supplier companies. Discussions are now underway to take the Bullet concept forward to create a more comprehensive and sustainable solution for the Black Country.

Website: http://www.blackcountrybullet.co.uk

   Media Coverage: Black Country Bullet in Express & Star November 12, 2013
Black Country supercar in Birmingham Post November 12, 2013
Virtual Car in Midlands Business News November 12, 2013

March 18, 2013


Client: Sandwell MBC Safer Stronger Communities Unit

Partners: LearnPlay Foundation

Brief: To utilise the Game-Plan approach to engage with young people on the Charlemont Farm Estate and help them input into the neighbourhood planning exercise being carried out at the time.

Solution: The original approach agreed was to produce an interactive 3D model of the estate and use this as a basis for consultation and participation. Subsequent developments shifted priorities to align with the proposed development of a new playground for the estate with funding made available through Big Lottery’s Play Pathfinder.

3D model data of the play equipment was obtained from the equipment suppliers and used to create an interactive 3D model of the play area and the surrounding buildings and open space. The resulting model was used as the basis for consultation activities with pupils at Pennyhill Primary School and with young people at sessions at Charlemont Farm Community Centre.

Outcome: The sessions at Pennyhill Primary proved to be highly successful with pupils enjoying the process of producing playground designs and seeing the results of their efforts displayed digitally.

The community centre, underutilised by the nearby community, proved to be an excellent venue for the games engagement sessions and was well attended by a group of young people who, following the sessions, made determined efforts to have these continued!

The client was delighted to enhance the relationship with the local community and reinforce the healthy relationship they had built up with Pennyhill Primary through their Education Liaison Officer.



Client: Advantage West Midlands

Partners: The University of Birmingham

Brief: Working with the West Midlands region’s Interactive Digital Media project the company proposed the development of a serious game concept demonstrator to show how games-based technology could be applied for serious purposes in this case the teaching of Newton’s Laws of Motion to secondary school physics students.

Solution: Taking advantage of the real-world physics capability of computer games development tools, Kliper 2.0 was developed based on Russia’s Kliper space vehicle designed to be a replacement for the Soyuz spacecraft.

Working closely with Professor Robert J. Stone of the University of Birmingham and with Professor Valentin Shukshunov, president of The International Higher Education Academy of Sciences and Professor Peter Panfilov, from the Moscow State Institute of Electronics and Mathematics a model of the Kliper spacecraft was created within a three dimensional space environment.

Users of the physics simulation were then able to take control of the spacecraft and attempt to dock it with the International Space Station in a series of exercises which required them to understand Newton’s Laws of Motion to achieve a successful docking..

Throughout the development process links were made with both teachers and pupils at local schools in order to ensure the embedded learning aligned with the National Curriculum and to test the demonstrator.

Outcome: The demonstrator went a long way to achieving its primary objectives i.e. building a solution that illustrated real-world physics in action and to which pupils positively responded in their appreciation and better understanding of mathematical and physics concepts.

As a result of the demonstrator activity the development partnership is being progressed to explore future developments of Kliper 2.0 and other interactive learning solutions.

Links: Kliper 2.0: Momentum Video – Kliper 2.0: Thrust Video – Birmingham Post Article



Client: Sandwell MBC Safer Stronger Communities Unit

Partners: LearnPlay Foundation

Brief: Following the award of £300,000 of funding from the Technology Strategy Board, Nottingham-based Monumental Games are undertaking a Collaborative Research and Development project to revolutionise the Monumental Technology Suite, the Massively-Multiplayer Engine that now has over 40 licensees worldwide. The £700,000 project is focusing on making the Suite’s tools accessible to all and providing a browser-compatible development route with the objective of commercialising the results within a 2-year time-frame.

Solution:Monumental Games are the Lead Participant of the consortium that will be taking part in the project. Academic partner Staffordshire University has joined Monumental in the requisite research and other partners include Digital Governance who will provide an integrated billing system and PlayGen and Digital Native Academy who will be providing consultation on various aspects of the project.

The company has been testing a range of software modules within the software development Technology Suite and utilising its expertise in games-technology to feed into and share expertise with other project participants.

Outcome: The project is nearing completion and remains on track and within budget.

The company has gained significant experience of working with massively-multiplayer games engine technology, experience which it has learnt from and which is being used to inform other internal technology developments.

Links: Staffordshire University – PlayGen – Digital Governancey



Client: Sandwell MBC Play Pathfinder

Brief: As part of the advance planning for a major new play facility to be installed in Sandwell Valley Park the client wanted to inform visitors of the proposed new attraction and promote the fantastic indoor and outdoor play equipment being installed.

Solution: Working closely with both the building architect, the landscape architect and play equipment suppliers an interactive 3D model of the new scheme was produced to realistically represent its features and facilities.

The resulting model was embedded within a project website which allowed users to remotely access the model and navigate both inside the Play Barn and outside around the new play equipment. In addition the model was installed on a dedicated touch screen console in the park’s reception area that allowed visitors to view the new facility and leave comments.

The ideas and play facilities were influenced by children at local schools who entered into a competition to capture and submit their ideas through drawings.

Outcome: The client was delighted with the interactive representation of the play scheme and how realistically the new play equipment is portrayed. Visitors are now much more aware of the plans for the park and are able to leave constructive comments both on the project website and when visiting..

Links: Online Virtual Play Barn



Client: Sandwell MBC Safer Stronger Communities Unit

Partners: LearnPlay Foundation

Brief: Following the completion of the ‘My Space on the Tibby’ project Sandwell Council wanted to build on the successful pilot and undertake a more comprehensive consultation exercise such that young people on the Tibbington Estate can more effectively feed into the masterplanning exercise planned to take place in the Spring of 2009.

Solution: In response to this a project plan was drawn up based on a three-stage model encompassing activities relevant to the target group i.e. engagement, embedded learning and neighbourhood planning. The primary target of the project was those young people categorised as being NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) with an additional requirement to recruit residents from other parts of the local community.
A wide range of activities were undertaken with various groups including primary and secondary schools, community centres, youth clubs and at events organised by John Thompson and Partners, the company appointed to undertake the neighbourhood planning exercise and F Squared, the organisation appointed to carry out the community consultation exercise.Computer games sessions were used to engage with young people (via our sister company LearnPlay Foundation) and this led to them, along with their friends, neighbours and family, being much more aware of the neighbourhood planning exercise and therefore more likely to participate in it.

Outcome: Over 200 individuals were engaged on to the programme and fed into the neighbourhood planning exercise. This significantly exceeded the targets set for the project.

A group of NEET young people went on to complete and achieve an ASDAN Activity Award and a further group of residents went on the complete and achieve an ASDAN Active Citizenship Award. In many cases this was the first award they had ever received and this has led to vastly increased confidence and motivation to go on and do other things.

Partnerships were forged with many local organisations including Murray Hall Community Trust, Sandwell Homes, Summerhill Primary School, Alexandra High School and Sixth Form College, Tipton Christian Church, and Sandwell MBC Housing Partnerships.



Client: Sandwell MBC – Safer Stronger Communities Unit – Midlands Architecture and the Designed Environment (MADE)

Brief: Following the completion of the ‘My Space on the Tibby’ project Sandwell Council wanted to build on the successful pilot and undertake a more comprehensive consultation exercise such that young people on the Tibbington Estate can more effectively feed into the masterplanning exercise planned to take place in the Spring of 2009.

Solution: In response to this a project plan was drawn up based on a three-stage model encompassing activities relevant to the target group i.e. engagement, embedded learning and neighbourhood planning. The primary target of the project was those young people categorised as being NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) with an additional requirement to recruit residents from other parts of the local community.

A wide range of activities were undertaken with various groups including primary and secondary schools, community centres, youth clubs and at events organised by John Thompson and Partners, the company appointed to undertake the neighbourhood planning exercise and F Squared, the organisation appointed to carry out the community consultation exercise.

Computer games sessions were used to engage with young people (via our sister company LearnPlay Foundation) and this led to them, along with their friends, neighbours and family, being much more aware of the neighbourhood planning exercise and therefore more likely to participate in it.

Outcome: Over 200 individuals were engaged on to the programme and fed into the neighbourhood planning exercise. This significantly exceeded the targets set for the project.

Of these a group of NEET young people went on to complete and achieve an ASDAN Activity Award and a further group of residents went on the complete and achieve an ASDAN Active Citizenship Award. In many cases this was the first award they had ever received and this has led to vastly increased confidence and motivation to go on and do other things.

Partnerships were forged with many local organisations including Murray Hall Community Trust, Sandwell Homes, Summerhill Primary School, Alexandra High School and Sixth Form College, Tipton Christian Church, and Sandwell MBC Housing Partnerships.

Links:Gaming the Tibby: Case Study – MC-eGOV Case Study – Ordnance Survey: Innovation Award Winner – Gaming the Tibby: Video – Gaming the Tibby: epractice – Gaming the Tibby: Awards – Engaging Young People in Regenerations & Community Development – Ordnance Survey Flyer – Gaming the Tibby: First Site Profile



Client: Sandwell MBC Partnerships – Housing Directorate

Partners: LearnPlay Foundation

Brief: To develop an innovative method to engage young people into a neighbourhood planning exercise and help them put forward ideas for their estate’s design.

Solution: A two-pronged approach was taken to help overcome what was seen as an ambivalent approach to being involved in the neighbourhood planning process. The first involved the creation of ‘The Den’, a competition based loosely on the popular television programme and in which pupils from Q3 Academy, the school servicing the Durham Estate, were put into teams and given a brief to create designs for their estate and present a business case for the designs to an assembled panel of judges.

The judges were chosen from regeneration professionals who warmed to the task by putting the teams through their paces. In turn the teams were extremely professional in that they appointed students to be business managers, project managers and construction managers to best present their respective cases for estate improvement.

They also used an interactive games-based toolkit to build and present their estate designs, a notable feature of the Game-Plan solution.

The second approach was to conduct sessions at the nearby Tanhouse Community Centre in which young people off the estate and nearby took part in gaming sessions and in using the toolkit to come up with estate designs thus helping with the consultation and participation elements of the neighbourhood planning process.

Outcome: The Den proved to be a hugely successful exercise with pupils, teaching staff, the Headteacher and the regeneration professionals making up the judging team all acknowledging it as a a fun and productive way of involving young people in neighbourhood planning.

In total well over 100 young people took part in the two exercises thus providing valuable additional responses to the neighbourhood planning exercise and in addition enhanced the linkages between the Housing Directorate and the local community especially the local secondary school.



Client: Ormiston Education

Brief: Ormiston Education are in the process of developing a new multi-million digital and performing arts academy for Birmingham to be opened in 2011. To compliment the development and to support the digital focus Ormiston Education requested to take advantage of our 3D design services to create an immersive prospectus for students and staff.

Solution: We are currently in the process of working with Nicholas Hare Architects and Ormiston Education to develop an exact virtual replica of the planned Academy.

Outcome: The virtual Birmingham Ormiston Academy will be used as part of the marketing strategy due to start in September 2010.

Ormiston Education – The Brit School



Client: Urban Living

Partners: Multistory – Architecture 00:/ – Professor Nabeel Hamdi – Architecture Sans Frontière – MADE

Toolkit co-developed by: Digital Query

Brief: Urban Living, the housing pathfinder for Birmingham and Sandwell, started the Sense of Place project in 2009 with the idea to strengthen local people’s involvement in shaping the places where they live, particularly through spatial plans and neighbourhood management plans. The two pilot areas, the neighbourhoods around Soho Road and Dudley Road in Birmingham, were chosen because of their potential to accommodate housing growth and to strengthen community cohesion.

As well as local residents, business people, council officers and the Urban Living team, an expert group was needed to deliver a collaborative approach to neighbourhood planning. As well as Digital Native Academy the professional team included Multistory, a local arts organization; Architecture 00:/, strategy, research and design; Professor Nabeel Hamdi, advisor to the United Nations; Architecture Sans Frontière, participatory arts; CUDOS, the Centre for Urban Design Outreach and Skills and MADE, the Regional Architecture Centre in the West Midlands.

Solution: The project consisted of three key phases:

  • the mapping activity to better understand the study area and what the local issues were. Also what works well and what doesn’t, what local people like, what they don’t like and why. The piloting of a range of different approaches and promoting awareness of the project.
  • organising catalyst events to share project findings with local people and working with them to scope out the potential for follow-up projects,
  • a dissemination event to share findings with a professional audience.



In order to capture a wide diversity of lived realities, it was appropriate to use a range of different approaches to the mapping and catalyst stages. Three project-wide elements were added to this approach:

  • the creation of a digital toolkit (by DNA) both as a mapping methodology to directly capture local information, particularly working with young people, and to communicate findings to a wider audience.
  • the recruitment and training of four local Community Researchers to be involved in the mapping process and catalyst events, as well as to take the project forward after the completion of this commission.
  • ongoing evaluation and reflection throughout the project, through workshops led by Nabeel Hamdi



Outcomes: The successful development of the Soho Foundation digital toolkit which is now being used to effectively engage with residents in the locale to capture their stories and represent their views about their neighborhoods.

The commissioning of Sense of Place 2 to carry out training workshops for policy makers, neighbourhood managers and community representatives in how best to utilise the Sense of Place approach and meet with the emerging co-production agenda.

The Sense of Place project has been shortlisted for a Homes and Communities Agency award in the Leadership of Place category.

Links: Soho Foundation site – Digital Query – Sense of Place Evaluation Report – Sense of Place project video – Openly Local: Hyper Local Directory