Running Business Simulations yourself

In the day, technology and its usability meant that you had to get someone to run the business simulation for you - the situation is different today!.

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Here I discuss why you should consider running the business simulation yourself and the issues associated with you doing this.

Why run a Business Simulation yourself.

The trivial answer is that it saves you money (as it does) but more importantly it can mean that the person running the business simulation has deep knowledge of the issues facing your business and industry. A knowledge that ensures that the business simulation is relevant and that learning is transferred back to the job.

Business Knowledge
This is illustrated by this quote from Schneider Electric
"training by Schneider employees was more about having local market knowledge than cost".

Typically, organisations running a business simulation themselves feel that "by using the company's staff to facilitate the simulation this brought to the learning the business experience and, more importantly, in-depth knowledge of the company's markets and customers. Knowledge that allowed the facilitators to continuously link the simulation to their real world and thus ensure learning transfer".

And this comment from Wells Fargo bank "It went exceedingly well. I had the assistance of one of our senior leaders with the expertise in all aspects of banking. I think that really made a difference as we could hear how our bank does things as we went along. All around a huge success. I hope to use this again next year."

It is the understanding of your business that is provided by your staff or regular consultants that ensures relevance and transfer.

Success comes from the combination of your knowledge of your business and my simulation.

Low Cost
But although the crucial benefit is the business knowledge of the tutor, running it yourself means that costs are lower. Not only are you only paying to rent the business simulation, but you are saving the cost of getting the tutor running the business simulation up to speed.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the technology and its lack of availability meant that I ran my business simulations for clients. Before I ran a business simulation I would spend time finding out about the client's business and the issues facing it. Even so, despite a varied business background, initially, I never had sufficient knowledge (although this increased over long-term use with the client).

Overall, running a business simulation yourself means better learning and lower costs - a win-win situation.

Issues with running the Business Simulation yourself

But, of before you go ahead, there are several things to consider

Choosing the right Business Simulation
If you are going to run a business simulation yourself, the first step is to decide which simulation is the right one. This involves deciding your learning needs, how much time you can budget and how you might use the business simulation.

For further information
about choosing a business simulation

courses where you might use business simulations

Evaluation
Crucial to running a business simulation yourself is trust that it will deliver! Therefore I provide evaluation copies of my business simulations that you can download and check out. These are full versions of the simulation except that you can only simulate a couple of periods rather than the six or more needed for learning. If you feel that the simulation is right
for you let me know by email when you wish to use it.  I will email the code and, after use, I will invoice. (I invoice after use because I want you to be completely happy with the simulation - the only occasion where I was not paid was an American University anf despite the simulation use being highly successful!)

Additionally, I provide copies of the learners documents and briefing presentations for you to review.Further, I am happy for you to reformat these to suit your house brand. Finally, for each of these simulations, I have background notes (tutor's manual) that I can email you on request.

For further information
about the evaluation process
about "own branding"

Who should Tutor
There are two sources of tutors who will run the simulation well for you

In-company staff: Tutoring a business simulation is an ideal role for in-company managers, especially those who have just retired or are about to retire. This is because these people have the in depth business wisdom that they need (and wish) to share with the upcoming generations of management. Further, these people can use their line management skills to "manage learning".

Your current provider: The other option is to get your current business training provider to run the business simulation for you as part of their current provision as, over time, he or she is likely to have developed a deep understanding of your business and its issues.

For more information about:
Key Tutoring skills, knowledge and experience
Harvesting wisdom from retirees
Tutor Managed learning

Practicalities of Business Simulation use
My experience actually running business simulations on company training courses is shared on several web pages and in a downloadable pdf

Learn more about
Integrating with other learning
Team Formation
The Learning Room
Preparing to run the simulation
Time Tables
Ancillary Tasks

Business Simulation usability
Here I am looking at the usability of the simulation software and ensuring good
learning by providing:

"I was immensely pleased with how simple it was to access and run"
Bright Horizons Family Solutions

Simulation Rental: My simulations are provided on a course rental basis (and not on a per learner basis) with rental prices quoted in Pounds Sterling, US Dollars or Euros depending on which is most convenient. As the simulations discussed here are available off-the-shelf and their development was sponsored by clients, the cost per learner is very low with my rental fee similar to the rental fee for training videos. And, bearing in mind that a business simulation is likely to cover more topics and have a longer duration than a training video, the cost per minute is very, very attractive.

Robust Software: My experience with actually using business simulations on training courses from the days when they stretched the capabilities of the hardware means that I know that robust software is a must. For instance what happens if a wrong decision is entered (typing mistake or miss reading) - is it trapped, can you rerun the period? What happens if the printer runs out of ink or it and the computer looses power? The solutions to these problems are standard data processing practice (journalisation and parsing). But, on one occasion, I won a contract to rebuild a business simulation because data was not saved as the simulation progressed and, if the computer was switched off (as happened regularly) everything had to be reentered from the beginning!

Ease of Software Use: Besides robustness, business simulation software must be easy to use. If the business simulation is to be used directly by the learners (Direct Use simulations), they should not have to waste time learning how to use the software. Although, where the business simulation is only used by the tutor (Tutor Mediated simulations) he or she can gain familiarity beforehand. But, as the tutor will be under pressure to enter decisions correctly and quickly, ease of use is crucial as it will minimise the chance of error (and the resulting screams of protest from the learners).

Tutor Support System:  Perhaps the most important aid to you running my business systems yourself is my Tutor Support System. The Tutor Support System is provided to help you manage and ensure learning.

My propriety software platform addresses these usability issues. It is designed especially for use with business simulations and not for general worksheet modelling.

Advice & Support
Finally, if this information and links do not answer your questions please contact me.


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 2012 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 19/11/12

Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail  
jeremyhall@simulations.co.uk