What The Heck is a Business Simulation Anyway?

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “What the heck is a business simulation?” Believe me, there are times when I still ask that question. In reality, the terms business simulation, business game, and gamification, all have similar definitions, but with slight differences. The greatest outlier is business gamification. This was a term marketing people loved and even TedTalks got involved in the hype. It has since died down significantly, and in a lot of ways, is disliked by many. So, as a result, I’ll focus on Business Simulation to keep things focused and simple.

What the heck is a business simulation?

To pull directly from Wikipedia (if its on Wikipedia, it must be true, right?): Business simulation is simulation used for business training, education or analysis. It can be scenario-based or numeric-based.

I’m not really sure this helps a whole lot. In general, we like to tell people: A business simulation is a game based action learning module that take parts of your business, mimics them, and combines this with your training goals and objectives. Still not helpful, ya, we understand. The super easy definition is: Business Simulations are scenarios that are created in order to let training participants practice your training content without the risk of doing it in real life.

The reason these definitions are so grey is that this means many different things to many different people. Let’s look at an example:

Training goals: Leadership Development- A business simulation will be used here to let people live a few positions above their current level. For example, a VP might live as the CEO. This forces them to think like a leader and practice being a leader before they are actually ready to do so. This will require them to be good at business, management, strategy, execution, and change management (to name just a few things). As a result, participants can practice your leadership development training content and really get to know it.

Hopefully, this helps just a little.