Designing a business simulation is a highly creative activity and it and innovation is especially necessary where it's duration is very short, if it has an unusual scenario or an uncommon structure. Here I explore some innovation and creativity over the last forty years.
Business Simulation Type Innovation
Beyond the normal Total Enterprise and Functional Simulations, well over three decades ago I started developing a family of very short simulations that addressed business concepts. And, because I believe that business simulations need to be tightly focused on learning needs, I separate my Total Enterprise Simulations into groups that address strategic management issues, tactical management issues and develop business acumen.
Besides the normal simulation structure where the learner runs a business unit for several periods, I designed a simulation to replicate a Stage-Gate process and others that allow learners to explore planning and sales negotiation.
Business Simulation Design Innovation
Trainer Support Innovation: Besides extensive experience designing business simulations, I have had extensive experience running them on courses and this led me to incorporating my innovative Tutor Support System into my simulations. And, not only does this make the simulations exceptionally easy to use but ensure unsurpassed learning.
Design Methodology Innovation: But having an innovative software architecture is not enough. Besides this business simulation design methodology must be outstanding and my Rock Pool methodology was recognised as excellent by the world leading Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning .
Design Art Innovation: Finally, there is my innovation in the art of business simulation design. where I see the focus of design on a structure that delivers learning rather than just replicating the real-world in the hope that this will provide learning without any additional effort. As a consequence I have developed the revolutionary Corporate Cartooning business simulation design structure. This was recognised by being asked to keynote the 2008 International Simulation and Game Association conference. This is now available in book form as a free download.
Business Simulation Scenario Creativity
Besides designing simulations replicating normal manufacturing, retail or service businesses, I have designed business simulations replicating a Casino, a Not-for-Profit simulation, one where the product was an ultrasonic, electronic concrete mixer and even a surreal one that replicated the British political system (although, arguably, it is the British political system that is surreal rather than the simulation).
Business Simulation Duration Creativity & Innovation
Designing business simulations with a short duration are necessary because of the pressure on efficient use of learners' time. My most challenging. short simulation was one lasting two minutes and I regularly design simulations lasting less than a day. I pack the most learning into the shortest time by ramping the complexity of my business simulations.
Business Simulation Structure Innovation
The first business simulation I created in 1970 was innovative in that its core data was held in separate databases and I see this as a core requirement. Yet, even today, people who design business simulations using a spreadsheet have the data driving the simulation embedded in the core model. Not only does this limit flexibility and customisability but also leads to a less than robust simulation. For example, recently I won a contract to replace a spreadsheet based simulation because period-by-period data was not backed up and this meant that the computer could not be switched off over the five days of the course. And, if it was, everything had to be re-entered from the beginning!
Technology Use Innovation
I first used a computer form my desk in 1967 (using Computer Time Sharing). By the late 1970s I realised that the future lay in microcomputers and forecast one on every desk in 1978. In 1980 I bought my first microcomputer and started using it to design and deliver simulations. At the same time I began using it for desktop publishing and word processing (I dragged Cassells screaming and kicking in to using paper tape to typeset my second book rather than retype the whole book). In the late 1990s I setup a web presence with my www.simulations.co.uk domain. However, as early as 1980 I had forecast home shopping in the millennium.