What I do NOT do

Here is a list of services that I do not supply together with the reasons for not providing them.











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Because I try to focus on what we are good at I do not:

No Video Games

Although, in the right circumstances Video or "Serious" Games can deliver learning, I do not design or provide these because I recognise several problems with their design and use and that it would be a bad business decision to enter this market sector without the necessary knowledge. My concerns are about design cost, learning and fun.

Design Cost: Clark Aldrich [1] suggested that the development cost of business simulations costs $100,000 per hour of simulation duration - so a business simulation lasting a day would cost $800,000 (500,000). A large part of this cost is the cost graphic design [2]. The argument is that a graphic rich environment is necessary for engagement. In my experience, actually using business simulations with tens of thousands of business people, it is the challenge of making their simulated company a success and making good decisions that engages.

Learning: Graphics add to extrinsic (ineffective) cognitive load and can overload intrinsic cognitive load (the work necessary to deliver learning) and can cause learners to waste time and become confused. An although designers of Serious Game advocate the impact of rich graphic environments on learning, empirical research [3] suggests that simple graphics have advantages. Rather than designing graphic rich simulations, I design decision rich and result rich business simulations. In other words, I concentrate of the aspects that impact learning.

Fun: Fun is not the same as engagement, yet, commonly, the two are confused and some advocate the need for flow . Consider, running a marathon. Some (not me) find this engaging - despite the pain involved. (You may argue that after a run the runners may describe it as fun. But I suggest that when during the race the runners "hit the wall" they are not having fun. Also, my experience from a very extensive use of business simulations and those of others [4], suggests that if learners are too focused on fun. this will detract from learning as they do not take time to reflect and form concepts - parts of Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle that are essential for learning.

No non-computer (board) games

Again, in the right circumstances, non-computer, board games, can deliver learning. With more that forty year's experience using computers to improve my productivity and effectiveness, it is natural that I believe that computer-based business simulations are more effective and efficient. Effective as a computer-based simulation can and should incorporate a Tutor Support System to help ensure that learning is delivered. Efficient as running a simulated business involves the quantitative outcomes and performance measures. With a board game, these calculations devolve to the participants and if being able to do these is a learning objective time is not wasted. But if it is not a learning objective, time is wasted. Where understanding how the Profit and Loss Account (Income Statement), Balance Sheet and Cash Flow etc. are calculated I provide worksheets to facilitate this. But, to make best use of learners' time these calculations are only expected once. For all rest of the business simulation, the calculations are done by the computer, leaving the learners to concentrate on analysing results, diagnosing problems and deciding what needs to be done.

No very complex academic simulations

There are multiple differences between simulations designed for university use and those designed for company use [5]. In particular there is focus and duration. I believe that business simulations must focus on meeting defined learning objectives in an effective, efficient and consistent way rather than just replicating complex reality. Secondly, commonly, the complexity of academic simulations were learners make dozens, on occasion more than a hundred decisions means that they need to have durations of several, perhaps many days. (My award winning, empirical research, showed that a simulation's duration was very highly correlated with the number of decisions made [6].)

Although I do not supply very complex simulations I are happy to advise on and support their design. Also, I do provide my focused simulations at a special price for use on full time academic courses.

No planning or budgeting models

Although I started my business modelling career designing planning and budgeting models with GE in the USA and then advising British companies on building corporate and financial models, I do not build these because they are very different from business simulation models that deliver learning,

No running simulations

During the 1970s, 1980s and part of the 1990s the technology and it's availability meant that I ran simulations for clients. However, in the 1990s I used this knowledge to re-engineer existing simulations and built in a Tutor Support System. This means that all my most popular simulations are available for you to run yourself. But for my newest and most complex simulations and where there are special circumstances with use I can run the simulations for you or help you run the simulations. In particular, where a simulation is run at a business conference where the learning group is large 40 to 200 it may be helpful if I support your use (especially where the conference is being run in a nice location). Where the simulation is run as a business contest for your customers or prospects, My extensive, experience running and supporting National and International Business Contests means that I can help and advise.

No running business courses

When I worked for Honeywell Information Systems and Ashridge Management College and with the College of Marketing, I ran business acumen, sales management, marketing, operations management and financial appreciation courses but no longer do so. The only exception is a Business Acumen workshop for trainers and training organisation that is making available on an expenses only basis for groups of ten to twenty trainers.

No course design

While working for both Honeywell Information Systems and Ashridge Management College I designed numerous business courses and although I do not design courses I can advise how business simulations can be embedded in courses to enhance learning. The pages describing different ways of using business simulations detail this. Additionally I are always happy to use my course design experience to help you. To support you I are developing several one day business acumen examples for you to customise and extend. These focus on financial success and will cover Financial Acumen, Marketing Acumen, Sales Management Acumen and Operational Acumen. Each will use a simulation to explore the topics and structured discussions to embed and transfer the learning. Contact me on jeremyhall@simulations.co.uk for more information.


[1] Aldrich, Clark Corporate Sims: About 100K per Finished Hour to Build http://clarkaldrich.blogspot.com/2010/02/corporate-sims-about-100khour-to-build.html

[2] Average development time per hour of simulation duration 490 hours - How Long Does it Take to Create Learning? Chapman Alliance, Research Study, September 2010 (http://www.chapmanalliance.com/howlong/ )

[3] Sloutsky, Vladimir M., Jennifer A. Kaminski and Andrew F. Heckler (2005) The advantage of simple symbols for learning and transfer, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12 (3)

[4} Coote, A., Crookall, D. and Saunders, D. (1985) Some Human and Machine Aspects of Computerised Simulations Simulation/Games for Learning 11

[5] Hall, Jeremy J. S. B. (1995a) Chalk and Cheese?: Executive short-course vs. academic simulations The Simulation & Gaming Yearbook Volume 3 ed Danny Saunders, Kogan Page, London,

[6] Hall, Jeremy J. S. B. and Benita M Cox (1994) Complexity is it really that simple, Systems Developments in Business Simulations and Experiential Exercises Volume 21 eds. Precha Thavikulwat & John D. Overby, College of Business Administration, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma (best research paper award 1994 ABSEL Conference, San Diego, California)..

2011 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 11/01/12
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail