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Why your organization should switch from boring presentation-led trainings to simulations?

A game wakes up the competitive spirit and most people get quickly absorbed in the simulation. An experience you cannot forget in a hurry.

We know the positives of business simulations in creating engagement and excitement. The question that persists is do they deliver business results and help drive learning goals for an organization?

The answer to the above question is a resounding YES! There are three important conditions in the design of a simulation which determine if the use of the simulation for a specific target group will be effective.

Condition 1 – Recognizable: The degree to which a simulation reflects the actual organization

A good game or simulation is built on the basis of the reality within an organization. Of course, the designer of the simulation makes well founded choices about which specific part of reality is to be simulated. The best simulations simplify reality until the essence remains, without however, losing the dynamic. In order to retain this combination of simplicity and dynamic, it’s usually necessary to make choices that restrict the simulation to only a few aspects of the organization, such as leadership, communication, change management, logistic processes, co-operation or commerce.

The need for recognition generally means that good management games and business simulations should be built to order for an organization. However, there can be exceptions when certain processes or aspects are the same across many kinds of organizations. FBL (Building frontline leadership capabilities), KYB (Finance and Business Acumen) are examples of generic simulations, which can be used extremely successfully in many different organizations.

Condition 2 – Relevance: The degree to which a simulation focuses on the participants' critical learning goals

When the right system for the business simulation has been replicated, the fine-tuning can take place. During the simulation participants have to be placed in critical situations which challenge them to take difficult decisions, solve predicaments or dilemmas or to demonstrate their competencies in other ways. To make the simulation relevant, not only the right challenges have to be offered, but also the choices and the behavior of the players must be registered in such a way that the simulation can make use of them. The simulation must also be realistic and react in line with the chosen learning goals. The players then get positive results from the simulation when they make good decisions and show the desired behavior. The intelligent development of a management game or business simulation ensures that the fine tuning can easily be altered. In this way the same game, with a convincing game system (recognition) can be adapted to various target groups and learning goals (relevance).

Condition 3 – Freedom: The degree to which a simulation focuses on the participants' critical learning goals

A good simulation has to provide players with opportunities for extensive experimentation. This means that space must be offered to the players to behave differently and to make other decisions than those that would otherwise be regarded as desirable. As a player it is not motivational to bump up against the boundaries of the simulated world too quickly, Further-more, a simulation should not obviously reward desirable behavior and punish the undesirable. The best simulations are not too normative in the sense that they don’t stimulate ‘one best way’. It is much better to challenge the players to deal with the consequences of their own earlier decisions. A nuanced and elegant link between cause (the choices and behavior of the participants) and the effects players experience in the rest of the game, is an important differentiation between a good and a brilliant simulation.

DoublEtcH Consulting designs and delivers customized business simulations for learning, change and the improvement of organizations.

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