Is Shell conducting virtual I.Q. testing?

Shell Major companies around the world are faced with ever-increasing competition for top talent in their industries, while at the same time trying to improve their public image on key issues like climate change. Shell – ranked in 2005 as the 5th largest energy company – is apparently tackling both issues with the same approach: interactive "challenges" that test your engineering I.Q.

Okay, perhaps this overstates it somewhat, but Shell has certainly invested some serious web development dollars in their "Real Energy Stories" section of The challenges are designed to test your skill in four areas: Lateral Thinking, Math, Memory and Analysis. The 6 flash-based modules range from building an energy-efficient 4-wheel vehicle (which you then have to pilot across a simulated landscape) to a pipeline-drilling game that requires you to choose the most efficient sequence of drilling points in an increasingly complex set of scenarios.

The games are surprisingly addictive and Shell gives users the added incentive of being able to register with the site so that you can compete with other players. The top-scoring players get their usernames displayed on a ranked leaderboard which is bound to appeal those of us who have a strong competitive streak.

Will these games make climate change go away? No. Will they improve Shell’s public image? Perhaps. In the meantime they will definitely showcase how much fun you can have solving problems.