Thank You To Wonderful Providers!

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I thought it would be nice to recognize the invisible partners we work with to keep us building world-class business simulations. Without these wonderful providers, we would be dead in the water. So often, all of us and all companies work with others that keep us going. But these providers are rarely recognized. We have two that we'd like to highlight and thank:

Fantastic Providers of Business Class Internet Communication- eMail, Calendaring, Syncing, Contact Management, etc: GetSync'd
I don't have a single bad thing to say about GetSyn'd. We've used them for years and we have never had a single moment of downtime. They create real time email, calendar, and contact management joy! All our devices, computers, and web based solutions are all 100% in sync at all times. Best of all, if we have a question, we pickup the phone and someone answers. No phone trees, we talk to a person who can take care of anything right then and there. We had a choice to go with Microsoft 365 and after very thorough analysis, GetSync'd simply blew Microsoft out of the water. It was simply incomparable. Our Fortune 500 customers rely on us to be on top of things, and thanks to GetSync'd we are always on. Thank you GetSyn'd!

Internet Hosting Providers- Web site hosting and site management: Chillidoghosting
Its always seemed to us like web site hosting providers are rarely thanked. We'd like to stop and say 'Thank you' to Chillidog. They're services are all inclusive, yet very easy to work with. They have the latest technology available that is effective without stuff that is just gimmicky. They're interface is easy to navigate and use. Best of all, when we decide to demonstrate our ignorance with a hosting related question, we simply chat with them and they are always available with a smile. Try to do this with a large host provider! No way! Not only do they fix the problem, they'll recommend outside resources to do what we're doing, but do it better. They are terrific. Thank you Chillidog Web Hosting.

Both of these companies are small, but can handle the largest of setups. It's a real pleasure working with small providers because there is no red tape, the service is often world-class, and the attention is high.

Thank you for keeping us working on what's most important: Customer Business Simulations.

Business Simulations for All Companies

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So, do you think that using a business simulation is only for fortune 500 companies? Not necessarily so. Modern application development tools have taken drastic leaps forward over the past 10 years. This has made application development far more effective and less time consuming. As a result, a business simulation for training and development or human resources is far more accessible than even five years ago.

If you've ever thought that gaining access to modern a custom strategy simulation (or strategy gamification) was impossible, it would be time well spent to take another look around and ask questions.

Quick post this week. More to come soon.

Business Simulation or Business Gamification

Hello World- Yup, once again, its been awhile since a post. Again, very busy, but there will be more soon.

You've probably heard the fancy term: Business Gamification. It's all the rage, very catchy, and marketing managers just LOVE it. But what is it exactly? First of all, don't be overwhelmed. It's simply a very fancy term for turning something into a game.

Let's look at an example: Online forums. Ya know, those places you go to ask questions and get answers. You've probably noticed that certain people get points or prizes, or 'badges'. That's it! That's a game. What they've done is turned the use of a forum into a game via points and/or rewards. The goal is to get people to come back more and increase engagement. We're back in a technology boom so it's all about eye balls once again. Thus, if a company can keep people on their web site, the idea is this means they are an 'engaged' customer. This is gamification.

But, how does this relate to simulations or serious games? Great question. As has been repeated many times here, for simplicity purposes, don't get too caught up on the fancy terms. In many cases (not all) a business simulation is a form of game theory. Gamification is based on game theory. Serious Games are based on game theory. They aren't necessarily 100% all the same, but they share 98% of the same DNA.

A Business Simulation is going to be used to simulate a business or a function of a business. Serious games or gamification may not (but certainly could). This is why you shouldn't get too caught up on the terminology. If you are looking to simulate something in your business, call it a business simulation. If you're looking to engage people around a specific topic, maybe call it gamification. It's up to you, but don't get too caught up in it. You probably have much better things to worry about.

Hope this helps!

Custom Business Simulation or Canned

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A common question, "Should I go with an off the shelf business simulation or a custom business simulation?"

There isn't usually a clear answer, but in general, if you answer yes to the following questions, a custom solution will usually fit better. Here goes:

How to Choose A Business Simulation

Ask yourself the following five questions:
1. Do I need to teach/demonstrate specific parts of our corporate strategy?
2. Is this part of my corporate leadership development, executive development, or strategic training program?
3. Do I need to simulate specific components of our business?
4. Is this for director or above?
5. Is this part of a corporate strategic initiative?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these three questions, you will probably find it more effective to go with a custom business simulation. This isn't a hard analysis, but in general, these questions usually lead you down the right path to deciding between an off the shelf or a custom business simulation.

Hope this helps!

Business Simulation and Gamification Trends

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Now that we're heading into a new year, what are some trends in the world of business simulations, serious games, and business gamfication. Great question, lets look at the top 5.

Top 5 Trends in Business Simulations and Business Gamfication

5. Business Simulations and Business Gamification are becoming more main stream- With the computer generation entering management, business simulations and gamification are being used more than ever. This is especially the case for custom built solution (trend 4).
4. Custom is the New Standard- With the cost of development getting lower and lower, most companies are requiring a custom built business simulation or business gamification solution. Today's learners are used to a high level of customization and this is no different in the world of sims and games.
3. Business Simulation Partners not Business Simulation Vendors- Companies are seeking out more of a partner over just a contract. This is especially the case where the sim provider is on site. The last thing a company wants is a sales person in house. The days of trolling inside a company for more sales are very much frowned upon. A strategic partner is critical.
2. Smaller Sims are More Popular- Companies have clearly learned that larger sims is like buying handcuffs without the keys. Thus, companies are looking for tight and easy to control solutions
1. Full Ownership- Business Simulation solutions where companies have to pay and then rent (licensing fee) are out! This model is leftover from the 90s and companies simply won't stand for it any longer. Pay for it once and use when and how the owner wishes is critical.

Hope this helps and Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Yes, its been awhile since a post. Much of this is because of the holiday season.

Stay tuned for some interesting posts regarding business simulations, business war games, and business gamification in 2014. The topic map is all mapped out and it should turn out to be an informative season.

Seasons greetings and there will be more posts by end of week.

Happy Holidays!

Business Simulation Games - Game?

Happy Holidays World!

'Business Simulations'. Is this the same as a 'Business Simulation Games'? Simple answer is: Yes. Business Simulations and Business Simulation Games are basically the same thing. In reality, these are both a game (usually) and are based on basic game theory principles. Thus, if you see something that says business simulation game, this doesn't mean its a game in the sense its childish. Quite the opposite. A business simulation game could be one of the most advanced business modeling simulations you'll ever come across.

A Business Simulation Game is the Same as a Business Simulation

The military seems to be far more comfortable with using the word 'game' than the business world. The military has many more years utilizing games and simulations for real world purposes. This may be the reason they are perfectly comfortable using the word game when mixed with simulation. The business world is a little more hesitant due to the perception that it is childish. A business simulation game is not childish at all. Business simulation games can challenge the most seasoned business executive without much difficulty.

Thus, if you're ever in a conversation and someone says, "Business Simulation Game", you needn't worry about the validity of the conversation. This is perfectly ok.

Just another tip on business simulation naming conventions which is as confusing as ever.

Hope this helps.

Business Simulations for Business Strategy? Talk to HR.

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There are many uses for a business simulation. There is definitely a trend towards using business simulation games for working on your corporate strategy (AKA: Strategy Gamification). Traditionally, these tools work their way to being managed by HR/T&D. If you're a business manager who oversees corporate strategy in one form or another, it is usually easiest to manage using a business simulation through Human Resources. This is because it usually involves many employees and cross divisional collaboration. This is also because using a business simulation takes up a lot of time and HR traditionally has already been exposed to these tools. Thus, it really becomes a matter of efficiency.

Human Resources not only has the capacity to manage the project, they also have the ability to deliver the solution to your employees company wide. In most cases, business simulations are utilized as a training tool. This is the primary reason why Human Resources and/or Training and Development/Leadership Development is a good fit. In terms of the different types of strategy business simulations, this is really as broad as the number of corporate strategies out there.

No matter the corporate strategy, using a business simulation for strategy development is best in the customized form. This is simply because of the uniqueness of your strategy, company, and people. Trying to utilize an off the shelf solution for strategy work is usually ineffective. Of course, this depends on your goals and objectives.

Another quick post. There will be more posts soon.

Business Simulations- You Bought It, Don't Re-Rent It!

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This article specifically applies to custom business simulations. When you are looking to purchase a business simulation, it is important to understand the topic of licensing and/or ownership. It basically comes down to this: If you have paid to create a custom business simulation, you should have unlimited licensing rights. In other words: You should not be re-charged for something you already purchased.

If you paid for business simulation development, you should not pay to use it!

This is like buying a house and then renting it from the buyer. Its simply not a nice thing to do. Its actually quite astounding that people are even asked to rent after buying. It smells like greed. Maybe there's something missing here, but maybe not.

So, if you're looking for a business simulation, make sure if you've paid for development, you don't have to pay to re-use it. That's simply bad business.

Hope this helps!

Business Acumen Simulations for Strategy Development

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Yes, its been two weeks. Sorry about that. Very very busy and everything is getting back on schedule (for now).

Let's talk about:

Business Acumen Simulations for Strategic Development

Yes, this is a mouthful. Business acumen simulations are most often used when a company is trying to execute a strategy, but the people simply don't have the business acumen skills necessary to make it happen. When this is the case, you often have a couple choices. First, you can go with a canned business acumen or financial acumen for non acumen people. Another option is to make the business acumen content applicable to what they do in their jobs. The second option (learning application), is by far more popular these days. If this is the case, utilizing a business acumen simulation is a great option.

Utilizing a business acumen simulation will enable your participants to actually try the learning content in the context of their business (or job). The results are a far more applicable learning experience and faster strategic execution. In a sense, you get a twofer. Not too bad. Keep in mind, these are often a full blown business simulation solution. Thus, they are not to be taken lightly. They are usually quite complex because they need to encapsulate your business. Thus, take the complexity of your business and bottle it. Not too easy of a task. That being said, they are exceptionally well received and very worth the effort.

Short post for now. Still digging out of deadlines, but everything will be back on track soon.

Hope this helps!

Business Strategy Simulations

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Definitely on the rise is the need for business strategy simulations. But, this begs the question: What is a business strategy simulation? Good question. Here's a very simple overview.

Business Strategy Simulation Overview

There are many types of custom business simulations. People utilize leadership development simulations, business process simulations, business acumen simulations, etc… Business strategy simulations usually include a little of everything. This is because it simulates an entire strategy which usually utilizes everything within the company. These simulations are used to educate employees about your business strategy.

Some fancy consulting firms will call these 'strategy alignment and execution solutions'. Yes, they are this (barely), but that is complicating things a little bit. In reality, these are simply business simulations that touch various departments within an organization in an effort to train employees about the corporate strategy. Nope, doesn't quite have the same sizzle or marketability as 'strategy alignment and execution solutions', but its more simple and easier to understand.

In the end, a business strategy simulation works to achieve simulating a company's strategy. Usually the goals are a better strategy understanding. With a greater understanding comes reduced resistance. Its really that simple.

Hope this helps!

Leadership Development Simulations - Getting Started

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Leadership development simulations can be very complicated. Keep in mind, you're combining behavior with business with analytics with gaming. Not an easy combination. Not to mention the fact that chances are, you are thinking it has to be computer based (it doesn't). This adds yet another level of complexity. But let's take a moment to break things down into pieces a little bit and take a look at the best way to get started. Here we go…

Guide To Leadership Development Simulations

Start Here- Before you get drawn into the sizzle of the technology, look at your leadership development objectives. Only you and your company know this, but traditionally, it starts with some sort of leadership model (often call leadership competency model). Whatever you do, don't put the business simulation before the content. The content is the most important aspect of leadership development. Put the content first. You might create this content on your own or you might hire an outside firm. This is up to you, but you need to start here: Great leadership development content!

Look At Your Leadership Development Learning Objectives- You are going to be tempted to teach everybody everything. Resist the temptation! Start small and build your program. The best way to do this is to look at the top 3 most important learning objectives. This is your finish line. Clearly define what it is you want your leaders to learn. If content is your foundation, your learning objectives is your finished product. Take a hard and clear look at your learning objectives to ensure they are clearly defined.

Start Small and Build Up- When it comes to leadership development simulations, you are going to get drawn into the sizzle. This is especially true if outside providers are dangling a golden carrot in front of you. Just say no! Calm down, look at your learning objectives, and start with a small and easy to manage leadership development simulation. Honestly, size is detrimental (in most cases). The bigger they are, the a) more expensive they are, b) harder they are to manage, and c) faster you'll lose control and fall apart. There is no need to boil the ocean from the beginning. Just start small and build up.

Ensure Alignment- This aligns with Start Small. Make certain your leadership development simulation is aligning with your learning objectives and nothing more. Leadership Development Simulations can get out of scope very quickly Make certain it is focused on the learning objectives, doesn't boil the ocean, and is manageable by you. If you have alignment, everything else will be fine.

This is just part 1 of a series and more posts will be updated this week. Hope these help.

How To Build a Business Simulation

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How does one build a business simulation? This is a very common question. Its also a very tough one to answer. The main reason it is so hard to explain how to build a business simulation or serious game is because it is so totally dependent on what one is trying to simulation. To make matters even more complicated is the fact that each corporate strategy is so drastically different. In a sense, its almost like asking, "How do I make a tree?" There are so many different types with so many dependents that its almost impossible to answer. But here are some tips to getting started:

Tips on How To Build a Business Simulation or Serious Game

1. Start at the finish line. Clearly define your top three goals or desired takeaways from the simulation. This is where you start. Write them down.
2. Write down the top 5 influencers that effect the outcomes you defined in step 1.
3. Write down 10 decisions that effect the influencers. In the end, you'll end up with 50 decisions (5 influencers x 10 decisions).
4. Create a decision outcomes map. Each decision is going to have different outcomes. For example, if someone chooses to cross a bridge, they will be on the other side. But if someone chooses not to, they will remain where they are. In a sense, the decision of, "To cross a bridge or not" will end up in two potential outcomes. Map these out. This is the outcome 'engine' of a business simulation or serious game.
5. Build a mechanism to put this in place. This is where it gets complicated. For simplicity, lets keep it paper based. Create a system of decisions that turn into outcomes. This is really the core of a business simulation and/or serious game. Its really the core of any simulation. Decisions effect influencers which effect outcomes. This is what a business simulation is boiled down to.

Start small and create something. You'll see that its easier than you think.

Business Silos, Organizational Silos, Information Silos Meanings - the 'Silo Effect'

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Business Silos, Organizational Silos, and Information Silos meanings and the Silo Effect

In reality, Business Silos, Organization Silos, and Information Silos all mean the same thing. For the sake of simplicity, let's refer all of them collectively as either business silos or organizational silos. What is the definition of these? Surprisingly, there are many different definitions all over the place. Doing a bit of research, there is a little commonality: Business Silos is a corporate structure where groups within a business enterprise are unable to effectively collaborate or communicate which creates a high level of overlap and inefficiencies.

But why have business silos become such a plague within corporations? This is simple: Self preservation and time.

Yes, this is a little negative, but when you research the topic of organization silos or business silos, you'll find that the businesses that demonstrate the 'siloed business behavior' the most, are focused on their own success and tend to focus inward instead of outward. This is especially true since the 2008 great recession.

The Business Silo Effect

The effect of business silos is very obvious: Lack of collaboration, lack of communication, and substantial lack of organization efficiency. Comically, things have gotten worse since the clash of the 'me generation' and the 'I generation'. This is beyond the scope here, but comical to mention. The results are often organizational departmental conflict. Can you imagine departments fighting within the same organization. Yes, unfortunately, its very common. The end result is an out of alignment and disorganized business which creates havoc on a business strategy.

Fixing Business Silos

This is not an easy thing to fix. Its like changing a leopards spots. One way to address this is to give business units a day in the life of other units. While doing so, treat them as they treat others. Basically, simulate the dysfunction the business silos create. People will quickly realize the problems the business silos create and will work to fix the behavior. The big assumption here is that they want to be fixed. If the business managers have no interest in fixing the business silo (they are setup to loose something), then addressing the business silo or information silo will be very challenging.

Hope this helps.

Business Silos, Organizational Silos, Information Silos Meanings - the 'Silo Effect'

Hello World-

Business Silos, Organizational Silos, and Information Silos meanings and the Silo Effect

In reality, Business Silos, Organization Silos, and Information Silos all mean the same thing. For the sake of simplicity, let's refer all of them collectively as either business silos or organizational silos. What is the definition of these? Surprisingly, there are many different definitions all over the place. Doing a bit of research, there is a little commonality: Business Silos is a corporate structure where groups within a business enterprise are unable to effectively collaborate or communicate which creates a high level of overlap and inefficiencies.

But why have business silos become such a plague within corporations? This is simple: Self preservation and time.

Yes, this is a little negative, but when you research the topic of organization silos or business silos, you'll find that the businesses that demonstrate the 'siloed business behavior' the most, are focused on their own success and tend to focus inward instead of outward. This is especially true since the 2008 great recession.

The Business Silo Effect

The effect of business silos is very obvious: Lack of collaboration, lack of communication, and substantial lack of organization efficiency. Comically, things have gotten worse since the clash of the 'me generation' and the 'I generation'. This is beyond the scope here, but comical to mention. The results are often organizational departmental conflict. Can you imagine departments fighting within the same organization. Yes, unfortunately, its very common. The end result is an out of alignment and disorganized business which creates havoc on a business strategy.

Fixing Business Silos

This is not an easy thing to fix. Its like changing a leopards spots. One way to address this is to give business units a day in the life of other units. While doing so, treat them as they treat others. Basically, simulate the dysfunction the business silos create. People will quickly realize the problems the business silos create and will work to fix the behavior. The big assumption here is that they want to be fixed. If the business managers have no interest in fixing the business silo (they are setup to loose something), then addressing the business silo or information silo will be very challenging.

Hope this helps.

Business Simulation for HR and Strategy

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More and more is being asked of Human Resources (HR). On one hand, they are tasked with dealing with the challenge of people (and their challenges). On the other hand, they are often given the smallest budget on a percentage basis. While this is going on, Human Resources gets to hear the usual song of, "People are our greatest assets."

To add to the challenge, they are increasingly being required to help execute the corporate strategy. The reasoning is simple: A strategy cannot successfully execute without the people. How does this get done?

Strategic Human Resources Business Simulation Overview

What is this exactly? A strategic human resources simulation is a tool that HR utilizes to help people understand the 'Why', 'How', and 'What' of a corporate strategic shift or strategic initiative. The business simulation gives participants a day in the life of your CEO, business manager, or general manager. This helps your managers or employees better understand your corporate strategy.

These Human Resource Business Simulations are often best managed by HR/L&D because they have the tools and skillsets to successfully 'wrap' the simulation program within the correct context. They have the experience and skills to make these solutions successful. It takes a strong partnership with the business manager, but often HR resource managers have this already.

Human Resource Business Simulations are not simple solutions, but they are a very effective business strategy simulation solution. These solutions push people to new levels of skill and understanding. The result is a more effective workforce with the tools to execute your corporate strategy more effectively and quickly.

You probably knew all of this, but for those that didn't, this serves as a general introduction. By no means is this an explain all, but it is intended to seed an idea. Remember, there are fantastic solutions solutions for Human Resources Business Strategy Simulations. These are great tools for organizational development.

Business Simulations- 3 Tips to Picking a Sim

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Thinking of going with a business simulation for your corporate initiative? Great. Often times, when getting started, you'll sit at your desk and say, "Ok, now that I know I'm going with a business simulation, how do I actually pick one?" It can be overwhelming. How about a few tips when thinking about business simulations:

Three Tips When Choosing a Business Simulation

Tip 1: Start small. You are going to get a lot of pressure to go large. Resist the temptation. This is especially the case when working with an outside provider.
Tip 2: Work backwards: What this means is: First, write down the top 3 goals of your training program. From there, back into a business simulation. This will help you focus on which business simulation is right for your needs
Tip 3: If you work with an outside provider, find a provider you trust. The world of business simulation providers is an interesting one. There are only a handful of providers so it won't take long to shop around. There are a lot more if you're going with an off the shelf solution. If you're going with a custom business simulation, the choices are far fewer.

Hope these brief and easy to understand tips help.

Just a quick post for this Monday morning. Have a great week.

Business Gamification, Business Games, Serious Games, Business Simulation

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Yes, we can agree. It is confusing. You can thank the marketing dept for creating this confusion. No offense, I've worked in marketing before and it just sort of happens. The only downside is that titles (trends) do a great job of confusing the general public. The world of business simulations, business games, serious games, and business gamification is no exception. But, this brings up the question:

What is the difference between business gamification, business games, and business simulations?

To make things simple on you: Very Little.

Here are some overviews of each:
- Business Gamification: The latest trendy name with a lot of sizzle (thanks Ted). It seems as though business gamification is the act of making games for consumer engagement around a topic that is intended to keep consumers coming back. Business gamification traditionally utilizes points, badges, or a mechanism of rewards that awards levels of accomplishment. You'll often see gamification on consumer brand web sites. A great example of gamification is foursquare. Like all the other titles in this post, this uses basic game theory to work.
- Business Simulation: Business simulations are traditionally used when a corporate strategy is involved. This might be in the form of a business shift, strategy re-development, or strategy testing. Business simulations are utilized to help corporate employees better understand a strategy, test a strategy, or accelerate a corporate strategy through knowledge and buy-in. There are certainly other uses, but this covers quite a bit in a small summary. Again, business simulations use basic game theory to work.
- Business Games and Serious Games: Yes, these are bundled. The hard-core thinkers are a) over thinking this and b) very frustrated that these are bundled. Business games and serious games are simply the process of turning a business topic into a game of some type. These are the basics of business gaming as a topic. Of course, these use basic game theory to operate.

As you can see, there are really only slight differences. In many cases, there is significant overlap. This information is designed to be a summary and not an exhaustive (and boring) analysis of every possible detail. This is really not needed to get you comfortably into the 80/20 rule. With just this simple summary, you are 80% there.

Hope this helps.

Business Simulations for Strategy Testing

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Have you ever considered using a business simulation to test your corporate strategy? If so, great. What did you think? If not, have you considered it? This brings up the questions:

How do I test my strategy using a business simulation

In the industry, this is really a type of serious game. Strategic testing is where companies use advanced computer modeling to simulation their future strategy and see the outcomes. You don't always have to use a computer based simulation, but you will have to simulate something somehow. Have you ever seen the movie War Games with Matthew Broderick. Remember how they used serious games which was controlled by the WOPR? Well, business strategy testing is very similar. It uses advanced modeling to run what if scenarios.

Large companies use these to gain insight into potential outcomes of a new business strategy. The good news is that these have recently become accessible for the not so large corporation. Drop us a line if you're interested in learning more. But suffice it to say they aren't as expensive as they used to be.

Hope this helps.

Business Simulations, Business Games, Serious Games

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This has been talked about quite a bit in the past, but the topic seems to be coming up quite a bit again.

What is the difference between Business Simulations, Business Games, and Serious Games?

In short, very little, but it depends on who you're talking to. Here are some tips:
- Business Simulations- Business Simulations are often used for business strategy topics. As usual, this isn't always the case, but more often than not, a simulation will be used to help work on a business strategy related topic.
- Business Games- Business Games are really a catch all. These solutions can range from the dreaded, 'Catch me as a fall' exercise all the way up through custom business simulations. Unfortunately, this is a very generic term.
- Serious Game- This is the latest craze and most marketable catch phrase. This can be anything from a business game all the way through military simulations. Serious game (or business ramification) is really just a lot more marketable for vendors. People will certainly disagree, but they are probably working to sell a serious game :D.

Short and sweet. As you can tell, there is a lot changing over here (in a very very good way) and thus, we're head down in coding and changes. Change is a great thing!

Have a great day


Strategy Testing Using Business Simulations

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These scenarios are rare, but they do exist and they are exciting. Using a business simulation and/or serious game for strategy testing. How does this work? Its simple in concept, but complex in execution. Here's how it works:

Strategy Testing Using a Business Simulation

The setup: You have a new strategy you're thinking of implementing. The business plan is written, and everyone has approved of it. There's a little voice inside of you saying, "Is this business strategy right? How will the marketplace change once we change? I'd like to test the strategy first."

The concept: A custom business simulation that will take all the economics of your industry, your company, your business plan, your strengths, your weaknesses, etc. This business simulation for strategy testing runs scenarios. The strategy simulation will then show you potential outcomes based on specific variables. Want to try another scenario? No problem. The strategy simulation lets you try before you buy.

The execution: This is complicated. Creating a business strategy simulation is very complex. The complexity lies in the industry research before building the solution. The solution is a combination of 3 business simulations: Economic models, Reaction models, and Outcome models. Even though these strategy testing models run separately, they are totally reliant on each other.

The value: The value is self explanatory. A business strategy simulation gives leaders the option to try before they buy. Shifting strategy is complex and requires significant resource allocation. Needless to say, this takes a lot of time. Its much better to know the potential outcomes ahead of time.

Summary- Using a strategy testing simulation could be time well spent. You may see things you didn't see before. Using these types of business simulations can be valuable, but takes commitment. It also takes a little time. In most cases, leaders want to do do do. A business strategy simulation is more of a test test test type of solution.

Hope this helps!

Human Resources and Business Simulations- 5 Tips to Getting Started

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Traditionally, Business Simulations have either been managed by Training and Development Managers and/or Business Managers. This is changing. Why is it changing? Because it seems as though Human Resource Business Managers (Divisional HR Managers) are staying in the fold (in the project) while the business simulation is being developed and being delivered. Thus, it has become more of the norm that Human Resource Managers work the entire business simulation process. Thus, here are some tips for using business simulations within Human Resources:

5 Tips For Human Resource Managers and Business Simulations

Tip 1: Brush Up! On your business acumen- Business Simulations that are used for strategic initiatives usually have a strong business component to them. Even though you know your business well, it will be very beneficial if you have a strong sense of business fundamentals. You will find it helpful if you dust off your business finance/marketing 101 book or something equivalent. You don't need to completely submerge yourself. Just a general refresher will go a long way.

Tip 2: Partner Up! Find someone in Training and Development- Business Simulations are most effective when they have a very well rooted training component to them. Get some assistance from the professionals on this. Training and Development knows learning fundamentals. Not only will this help create a better program, you will also be a good corporate citizen as well.

Tip 3: Search Well- Find someone you work well with for development- Whether you are staying internal or going external, find a business simulation developer you trust and work well with. How do you do this? Ask around and listen to your instincts. You will feel one level of comfort or another depending on who you're talking to. If you are staying internal, you may not have a choice who you work with. If this is the case, take the time to listen and ensure you are heard. No matter the case, you are one of the chief architects of this program. Make certain you aren't bullied! This is good advice for internal or external providers.

Tip 3: Size Small- You will feel pressure to build a big business simulation. This is especially true from the developer (both internal and external). Resist this urge. Stay on the smaller side. A 1/2 day business simulation goes a very long way. Don't cave to the pressure of a 2+ day simulation. 1-2 Days is a long time. Business managers tend to also want to go big. Try to stay at a day or less.

Tip 4: Take Time- Give yourself some time! You'll feel pressure to get all this done overnight. Business Simulations and Serious Games are very complex. Spend extra time in the planning and interviewing stage. This will pay dividends later! Don't rush in.

Tip 5: Read Up! There are helpful books and resources out there on business simulations and serious games. Just do a search on Amazon under 'Business Simulations and Serious Games'. You'll find a few resources. Don't buy the textbook size, they'll just overcomplicate things!

Hope this helps. Look through this resource further down and you'll find other tips that certainly apply to Human Resource Managers as well. Enjoy!

Business Simulations, Strategic Alignment, and Human Resources

Hello World-

Are you looking to create organizational alignment using a business simulation? This is great! But here's another questions: Are you from the Human Resources Department? If not, you should stop reading right now and engage your HR manager. The reason this is being brought up is that this is probably the single wisest step you can take. Aligning employees behind a new corporate strategy will take far more than just implementing a nice shiny business simulation! It takes someone who really understands organization development and human assets!

Tips To Engaging HR for Strategic Alignment

Tip 1: If you haven't contacted HR, do it now! This is a no brainer.
Tip 2: You need to be as clear and transparent as possible with what you are hoping to achieve and when. The HR manager will help you figure out how.
Tip 3: Keep your HR manager very very involved in the process of creating a strategic alignment business simulation. They will help you more than you could ever imagine!
Tip 4: It is important to remember that you are talking about changing both people's behavior and changing their jobs. This is unsettling to people. Be patient and keep communication open. Your HR manager will certainly help you with this.
Tip 5: Don't get sold into a massive business simulation for strategic alignment. They aren't necessary for this. Go with something manageable and you'll see much greater success and probably save a good amount of budget.

Hope this helps. Have a terrific weekend!

Business Simulations - Tips for Leaders as Trainers

Hello World-

Welp, as you have probably already noticed, there's been a bit of a lag in blog posts about business simulations and serious games. There's a good reason: Summertime! Its not an excuse, just a reason.

Anyway, let's talk about:

Tips for Leaders as Teachers Using Business Simulations

Tip 1: Train Your Leader Well! - The leader is going to think they "are all set." Chances are, they aren't. Thus, it's your job to ensure the leader to very well prepped and trained. Make sure you (or an outside facilitator) does at least three business simulation facilitations with them. This will pay off in the end.

Tip 2: Keep It Simple - Business Simulations for Corporate Training and Development are complicated. Try to introduce the leader as trainer to a more simple business simulation solution. Start small and build up.

Tip 3: Choose Your Leaders Wisely - Don't go for the 'highest leader', go for the best leader! This means find a leader that is excited to teach others, get involved, and is entertaining. The leader will have a good time and the participants will as well.

Choosing leaders to facilitate a business training simulation program is tough. Take your time! Choose wisely and the effort up front will pay dividends later.

Hope this helps!

Book About Business Simulation Games Available

Hello World!

This is a quick post to let you know that the print version of Shift: Using Business Simulations and Serious Games is now available. This is a good book to either learn about business simulation games or to get up to date if you're an 'old pro'. The book reviews the what, how, and why of using a business simulation game within your corporate training and development/leadership development programs. It's easy to read, straight to the point, and will give you plenty to think about.

Thus, if you're looking for an easy to digest book about business simulations and/or serious games, this is a good guide. Its even better now that its in physical print.

Hope this helps!

5 Tips To Learn About Business Simualtions and Serious Games

Hello World-

How about some tips? Top 5 feels good today. Let's dive right in.

5 Tips To Learn More About Business Simulations and Serious Games

Tip 1: Ask Others- Of course this is obvious, but how about beyond just the area of your office. Get on forums, go to trade shows, call various vendors. Ask others about business simulation games and find out what others have done.

Tip 2: Buy a Book- Of course, there's bias here, but there are various books on the market. Just try to find one that is at your level. There are some pretty thick and gooey books out there. You might want to pass on those. Just do a search for 'business simulations and serious games' on Amazon. You'll find something.

Tip 3: Find a Movie- Take a look around for a movie on YouTube or on Vimeo. Do a search for 'business training simulations' and see what comes up. There are few, but we haven't really looked that closely at them. Of course, we like these videos.

Tip 4: Sit In- Are you able to find someone else in the industry that is currently running a business simulation or game? Is it possible to sit in on it? This would be a great use of your time.

Tip 5: Contact Us- We're always happy to talk about sims. Just feel free to reach out. We're not a sales-e type of group so just reach out. We won't byte (get it, byte).

Hope this helps and have a great week!
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Custom Business Simulation Game or Canned?

Hello World!

Should you create a custom business simulation game or a canned business simulation? This is a great question and one which we commonly hear. Of course, the answer is, it depends.

Here are some tips to help you decide if a custom business simulation or a canned business simulation is your best bet.

Custom Business Simulation Game vs. Canned Simulation

Tip 1: If you need the outcomes to be based on your custom training content, go custom. This is definitely arguable, but in general, if you've taken the time to create custom training content, chances are a custom business simulation is going to work best for you. This is especially true if you're utilizing a leadership competency model.
Tip 2: If you're training is based on a standardized training program (such as business acumen), then an off the shelf solution might be your best bet. This is pretty self explanatory. If the topic is well covered by many companies, then a canned business simulation game might work well for you.
Tip 3: Look at your budget. Even though the cost of custom business simulation games has dramatically dropped, the cost of custom development might still be prohibitive. If this is the case, ask around for a tailored business simulation. This can give you some of the best of both worlds.

Hope these 3 tips to deciding if you need a custom business simulation game vs a canned business simulation solution helps. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend!

Business Simulations - On Paper?

Hello World-

There seems to be a trend in the world of business simulations and serious games… Paper! Yes, like physical paper. Why is this? It's probably because more people are aware of business simulations for training and development, but either don't have the budget, don't have the expertise, or both. Paper based business simulations are great! They should not be looked down on. With some basic forms and thinking, you can very easily create business simulations that are paper based that participants will love.

Some Tips to Paper Based Business Simulations

1. Make the 'grading' process easy on the facilitator - If you go with a paper based or inexpensive business simulation, you should make sure the facilitator has a nicely laid out form to score or grade participants. If you leave it up to the facilitator to lay out, something will certainly go wrong.
2. Provide clear instructions - Inexpensive paper based business simulations can sometimes be more difficult to understand. This is especially true when it comes to the process. You should make sure you have very clear instructions for both the facilitator(s) and for the participants.
3. Focus heavily on the story - This is very important. Because a paper business simulation will lack the 'sizzle' of a computer based solution, you need to make sure there is an engaging story. Participants will thank you.
4. Provide great visuals - This is an attempt to add the sizzle back into the program. Very well thought out visuals within your business simulation will also provide clear information that will help the participants more easily use your solution.
5. Try to reduce paper - Paper based business simulations can quickly create a sea of paper. Be nice to mother nature and try to be conscience of the paper usage.

Hope this helps!

Business Simulations and Human Interaction

Hello Business Simulation and Serious Game Users-

Should human interaction play into the world of business simulations? Human interaction is defined as voice interaction and/or motion interaction. This is a recently common and good question. In a past life, we've worked on voice recognition and reaction software (and hardware). We still dabble in it from time to time. When it comes to business simulations and serious games for corporate training and development, we just don't see a good fit here yet. Its possible, but it still requires a great amount of lifting and money. There are ways to get around this.

Depending on if scale is an issue, it might be effective to have team to team interaction instead within your business simulation solution(s). Is it possible to give criteria to other participants and have them act as the recognition software? This accomplishes two things:

a) Massive cost and complexity reduction and
b) The trainee becomes the trainer which creates hugely positive learning

We dunno, but what we do know is that when it comes to learning and development business simulations and serious games, we just don't see a fit for things such as motion and speech recognition. These solutions usually only create marginal results and cost a lot in time and money to create. Just our thoughts, but of course, we know there are others who think differently.

Have a great week!

Three Tips To Getting Started Using Sims and Games

Hello World-

How about three tips to getting started using business simulations and serious games. Its been awhile since a post like this has appeared so here goes:

3 Tips to Getting Started Using Business Simulations and Serious Games

Tip 1: Start Small- Whether you are building a solution for your company or hiring an outside contractor to build one for you, start small! If you're going with an outside vendor, you will feel some pressure to go large. Remember, this is your project and you should control it. Sim Bloat has many negative effects such as hard to launch, hard to control, learning focus creep, etc. In the beginning, just go with a few game or simulation exercises. As you learn more, you can add more. Just start small.

Tip 2: Own Your Solution- This really applies if you're going outside your company for a business simulation or serious game. You should make certain you can run the program how, when, and where you want without paying a toll or tax. Of course, this only applies if you're going with a custom solution. If its a pre-made solution, then you should expect to pay for usage.

Tip 3: Ask around before you leap- Have you asked others in your industry about business simulations or serious games? It might be time well spent to ask others and learn from their mistakes (and successes). Most often, people are happy to share. If you can't find anyone, just drop us a letter and we'll be happy to try and connect you.

Yes, this is very basic and entry level, but a good reminder and starting point no matter. If you're just starting out, these are easy places to start. Just remember, start small, retain ownership, and ask others. Its basic, but in many cases, the basics are the best.
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