5 Tips To Learn About Business Simualtions and Serious Games
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!
Custom Business Simulation Game or Canned?
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?
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
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
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.
Learn About Business Simulations & Serious Games
business simulation book from here. This is a link that will connect you to the Amazon store.
The Business Simulation Book Will Help With:
- Learning about the various types of business simulations and serious games
- How to set yourself up for success using business simulations and serious games
- Help you sort through if you really need a business simulations and serious games
- Help you save tons of money and retain ownership of your solution
- Set your program up for sustainability
- Overall, save money, and be more successful using business simulations and serious games
Hope this resource helps you!
Top 3 Questions About Business Simulations
What is the most common question heard about using a custom business simulation within corporate training and development?
Top 3 Questions About Business Simulations
Questions 1) I'm not familiar with business simulations, what should I know?
This is a huge question. Here are 3 tips to get started using business simulations and serious games:
1) Start small! Don't try to do everything in the first go around. You can always add to the size of the solution later. Start small and build up. This will prevent early failure.
2) Start with a simple branching story. You might already be doing this, but try to make the story more aligned with the goals and objectives of your corporate strategy.
3) Call around and ask others. Talk to either people who have done this before within companies or call vendors that are friendly and happy to talk to you without the sales pressure. Tell them what you're hoping to accomplish and get some advice where to start using a custom business simulation.
Question 2) Do I need a custom business simulation or pre-made?
If you need to align your training around your corporate strategy or leadership model, an off the shelf business simulation might be challenging. If you're looking to train a more standard topic such as business acumen, an off the shelf solution will save you time and money.
Question 3) How do I get started?
Try to go on to forums or groups and find others who have already used a custom business simulation before. Ask lots of questions. This is probably the best place to get started.
Hope this helps!
Gamification of Corporate Training
Apologies that its been awhile between posts. Travel to Asia and Europe. Anyway, the topic today is:
Gamification of Corporate Training
Gamification is the same as business games, serious games, and business simulations.
The reason this is being discussed is that it seems to be causing confusion with people we talk with. Once again, its all the same thing.
Have a great weekend!
5 Tips- Self Facilitations is Definately on the Rise!
It is now overwhelming, self facilitation of business simulations and serious games is seriously on the rise. This is terrific news! Facilitation belongs with the owner. Since this is on the rise, here are some tips to self facilitation:
Tips to Business Simulation and Serious Games Self Facilitation
1. Help Build the Solution- If you didn't build it yourself (or don't plan to), work with a simulation provider who is happy to have you very involved in the process. This will help transition the simulation faster!
2. Practice Practice Practice- Work with the simulation expert to get up to speed on how to facilitate these solutions faster. The goal is to move the program management to you!
3. Start Small- Don't try to build a business simulation or serious game that is huge. You'll get buried. Start small where its more comfortable. You'll thank yourself later!
4. Build a Facilitator Pool- Don't try to do everyone of these on your own. See if you can get a business simulation facilitation helping hand. You have enough work to do.
5. Partner Wisely- If you don't do this on your own, find a partner you trust, enjoy, and can learn from. This will help you greatly.
That's it. It getting close to the weekend so we tried to keep this one short and sweet. Hope it helps!
Business Simulation Serious Game Focus- Say No!
Historically, business simulation and serious games have been very large. Much of this was due to a blanket content strategy. One effect of the economic downturn has been extreme focus. This is a good thing. When you are working on either building your own business simulation or hiring an outside company to do it for you, you should really carefully watch the size. Remember, the larger the business simulation, the more resources it will take to support and facilitate the program. This includes travel costs, facilitation costs, facility costs, etc.
The main point is this: See if you can more effectively focus your business simulation or serious game around your training content and business requirements. You'll wind up saving money and people's time.
Hope this helps!
Resources to Learn About Business Simulations and Serious Games
Does anyone know of a simple entry level and easy to understand guide to using business simulations and serious games? If you do, please drop us a line. This is something we think people would find valuable. We might try to write an eBook about this. If you have anything you'd like to see covered in the eBook, please let us know. We'll do out best to incorporate it.
Have a super weekend!
Help! Business Simulation or Serious Game?
The main solutions where serious games are commonly used are situational. In other words, scenarios that take place in a setting such as an office, room, or building. In other words, these are commonly the 3D type solutions (called simulations as well). As has been suggested because we have only seen marginal ROI on these very expensive solutions. If you have a monster budget, then go for it.
We know, this is a short post. We'll post more this week. If you have any topic you'd like us to talk about, drop us a line.
Tip: Business Simulations and Serious Games Size Matters!
You should emphasize focus and not 'do-everything-for-everything' type of solution. Customers have had to completely trash many many days, weeks, months worth of work to basically start all over after their solution did not focus on the goals of the program. In most cases, their business simulations and/or serious games were created by an outside vendor who, of course, was happy to make a huge solution. This wound up a waste of time and money.
In the end, I recommend you err on the side of simple. This is often the best bang for your buck and we've seen higher scores with smaller focused solution.
Hope this helps!
Tips to Successful Business Simulation/Serious Game Facilitation
Do you have to facilitate a business simulation of serious game soon? Are you simply thinking about taking the task on and want to know some tips? Great! We can help with that. Whether you're a seasoned corporate training and development manager or a rookie, these tips should apply no matter what. Some you might already know, especially if you have been doing a lot of management training. Even if you do, a little reminder never hurts.
Tips to Facilitating a Business Simulation and/or Serious Game
Tip 1: Practice! Really get to know your game and/or simulation very well. Preferably, if you can assist with the development, this will be a huge help. You should play your serious game or business simulation many times before you even begin to facilitate it.
Tip 2: Be a student. What we mean by this is: Attend one of the corporate training sessions that uses the business simulation and/or serious game. This will help you live a day in the life of a participant. From this, you'll know what works and doesn't work. Make sure to take notes at the end for yourself.
Tip 3: Entertain! This isn't new, but its worth repeating. We have seen many time a strange seriousness that covers facilitators when they work with business simulations or serious games. They suddenly become very serious. Why? You don't need to! These are forms and games. Have a great time with it and your participants will too.
Tip 4: Know Your Stuff. If this the topic of this business simulation or serious game is unfamiliar to you, proceed with caution! You should know the topic(s) very well. Better than your participants. Otherwise, you risk losing credibility and thus, the participant's confidence.
Tip 5: Have fun! Remember, whether this is a business simulation or a serious game, it is a form of business game. Have a good time with this. Bring your great experience and sense of humor. This will help keep engagement high and learning even higher.
We hope these help!
Tools to Creating Your Own Business Simulation/Serious Game
So, you're interested in creating your own business simulation and/or serious game for corporate learning and development. Great! We often see the biggest stumbling block to computer based solutions being the complex development tools. If you're looking to create basic solutions, there are many tools out there. Here are some basic tools that can get you up and running.
Basic tools for business simulation and/or serious games:
1. X-Code from Apple- This is an object oriented development platform for iOS devices. This has great visual tools and is totally object oriented which makes developing solutions easier.
3. iTunes U from Apple (iTunes)- We know, this isn't an actual development tool, but its an absolutely amazing resource for development assistance. If you're new to programming, applied mathematics, or application architecture, this is an incredibly valuable resource for simulations and serious games.
These are great places to get started for business simulations or serious games within corporate training and development. Programming isn't easy, but these resources can help make it easier for you.
We hope this helps and have a super week!
How To: Assess a Business Simulations/Serious Game Training Program
This article will share some common practices we see in training and development assessment when using a Business Simulation and/or Serious Game. This how to is not rocket science, and will not require any statistics to complete. This is a common sense guide and/or suggestions from what we've seen succeed in the past.
How-To: Business Simulations and Serious Game Program Assessment
Step 1: Write down the 3 learning objectives from your training and development program(s).
Step 2: Before participants engage in the business simulation or serious game, give them a set of 5-10 questions that measure their knowledge of the learning objectives. For example, if you are trying to teach them how to read and income statement, provide and income statement and ask 5 questions about it. This is now your baseline for comparison.
Step 3: Run the participants through your training program which includes either the business simulation or serious game. Just run the training and development program as you normally would.
Step 4: As part of the ending exercise, have the participants complete the same set of questions from step 2. This will act as your variable to compare to the baseline.
Step 5: Compare the scores. You should see an increase. If you want to get fancy, enter the scores into Excel (or SPSS) and run a statistical significance test. This is especially useful for training program sustainability.
We told you, this is designed to be a fundamental How-To Measure Success in a Business Simulation and/or Serious Game within your corporate training and development program. We know this is common sense, but usually its best to use the basics.
We hope this helps and Happy Valentines Day! (smooch!)
5 Tips Technical For Simulation and Games Setup
When we setup a business simulation or serious game for play, we've noticed that we're often carefully watched how we setup the computers. Granted, our setup is a little more advanced than most. We use private networks (VPN), secondary routers, etc. But this is not needed. "How about some tips to a successful business simulation or serious game setup?" you may be asking. Ok, no problem here they are:
Top 5 Technical Tips to Setting Up a Business Simulation and/or Serious Game
- Tip 1: KiSS!!! Keep It Simple (Sam/Samantha ;^): Go with the most basic setup that works. This is always the best solution. It may not look like it, but we always default to this. Since you'll be working on your own network, you won't need the setup we use. Just go simple and you'll be happy!
- Tip 2: Question Technology: Take a step back and make certain your goals can't be achieved with paper and pen. Don't let the sizzle get in the way of learning and development.
- Tip 3: Practice, Practice, Practice: Setup your entire room days before the event. Do as many run throughs as feasible. We know its a lot of time, but its worth it in the end, trust us!
- Tip 4: Start Small and Grow: If this is one of your first solutions, go small! Do not try to boil the business simulation and/or serious game ocean! The best solutions we've seen are the smallest!
- Tip 5: Double check auto updates: Some computers (especially IT setup computers) are set to automatically update and then restart. The last thing you want is to have this happen during a business simulation and/or serious game training and development program. Call your IT dept or look at the auto update settings on your computer and see if you can turn them off.
That's the 5 tips. They are fundamental and sort of common knowledge, but we thought these would help you get off the ground. Even though they are common sense, its good to repeat them. Its usually the basics that are overlooked.
Have a great week!
5 Tips: Do I Need a Simulation or Serious Game?
We decided to take a step back, take a breath, and help you ask a simple question, "Do I really even need a business simulation or serious game within my corporate training and development program?" - This is actually a great question! We have 5 tips to help you decide if a business simulation or serious game is really needed.
5 Tips To Assessing Usefulness of a Business Simulations or Serious Game
1. Do you have clearly defined outcomes from your training program- If you don't have learning objectives, a simulation or game will not help very much.
2. Are there budget or resource constraints within your training program- You need to ensure you have all the necessary skills and resources to ensure you can handle a sim/game development project. Just check ahead of time.
3. Do you have organization buy-in- Its important that the correct people within your organization are bought into the idea of a business simulation or serious game BEFORE you start development. This will help greatly!
4. First, invest in the content and the people, then invest in the simulation or serious game- This is important! We firmly believe that investing in your developers or trainers should be job number 1! This will help preserve sustainability and great training.
5. Look back at how the idea of a simulation or game came about- Sometimes, it helps to see where the idea of business simulation and/or serious game came from. If it was brought up on a whim, you might want to ensure its a good idea in the first place.
There are many other things to look at, but this is a good start. Taking on a business simulation and/or serious game can be a daunting task. Make sure it's useful before you take the plunge.
hope this helps!
Business Training Simulations and Serious Games
Apologies for the terribly long time between posts. Its been a much busier 2013 than we had anticipated. But we're back.
Ok, we often get the question, "What is the difference between Business Simulations and Serious Games?" We have a pretty strong opinion and I doubt its very popular: Very little. In our opinion, they are both game based. It seems as though serious games is popular from a marketing position. Its a lot easier to sell something that feels very trendy. Ever since the TED talk about gamification, serious games has become very sexy to talk about. There is nothing special in this except it sells.
As we suggested, this is going to be a very unpopular opinion. But in the end, action learning, simulations, business games, war games, and serious games all describe 95%+ the same things. We will admit that the terms gamification and serious games sounds a lot more interesting and exciting, but don't fall victim to marketing. They are all basically the same thing.
Have a great day!
Happy 2013 From Simulation Development Group
We'd like to wish you a happy 2013! We all think its going to be a great year here. May your year be productive, fun, challenging, and rewarding. Let us know if we can help you learn about business simulations or leadership simulations.
Engineering, Sales, Marketing Aligned With Business Simulations
First, we apologize for the long lapse in posts. We just finished up over 50 deliveries in 2 months. Its nice to be home :).
Tip: Using A Business Simulation To Achieve Sales, Engineering, and Marketing Alignment
Tip 1: Work from the finish line backwards- Write down three clear objectives of what participants need to know that would help create departmental alignment. This could be product research method, customer requirements, or barriers to entry (just a few examples). A good idea to start is to brain storm as much as you can and then reduce it down to the top three.
Tip 2: From the top three objectives, write down three activities that would help participants live a day in the other capacity's shoes. For example: Marketing- Gather customer requirements, government regulations, and corporate objectives and deliver a product within those requirements (yikes! We know!). The goal here is to begin to draft out a day in the life of each functions shoes.
Tip 3: When drafting a training course, add a lot of real life examples. Preferably, add speakers to come in and talk about the experiences. Then align your business simulation around those real life experiences (or future realities).
The ultimate goal is to align with reality (or future reality) while providing a real life set of experiences that align with your program's training objectives.
Its nice to be back and we hope this helps.
3 Tips to Measuring Qualitative Activities in a Business Simulation
One the hardest things about creating a leadership development simulation is the qualitative nature of leadership. This makes most people ask, "How do I measure qualitative activities and the impact on business results within my business simulation strategy?" Its a great question which has a very complicated answer. But, we're going to try to simplify this and give you some things to think about.
3 Tips to Measuring Qualitative Activities within a Business Training Simulation:
Tip 1: Write Down The Impact on Business- If you want to teach the leadership development skill, it should have an impact on the business. Write down the top 3 places the leadership activity impacts the business. For example: Employee Engagement, Profitability, Ability to Hire, etc.
Tip 3: Create an Equation That Shows the Impact- If a team demonstrates effective leadership within the business simulation or serious game, have it impact the business in a consistent way. This will require that you create an equation to get this done. We'd tell you what this is, but we don't know what you're trying to impact or measure.
Tip 3: Keep Up The Consistency- It is important to keep the impact(s) consistent. Thus, if leadership impacts the business in one way within one of the outcomes, it must have the same impact elsewhere. If its not consistent, the simulation business game will loose credibility.
We hope this helps. Creating quantitative outcomes from a qualitative action is tough to accomplish within a business simulation. We hope these basic tips help.
Have a great day!
Top 3 Skills For Creating a Business Simulation or Serious Game
Interested in creating a custom business simulation for your training and development program? Great! We have 3 skills required to create a great business simulation or serious game.
3 Skills For Creating a Business Simulation or Serious Game:
Skill 1: Understanding of the business simulation experience- For a simulation designer to succeed, they must really understand that it's their job to create an experience for the participants. Because the business simulation or serious game cannot teach on its own, it needs an experience to do so. Thus, it is important for the designer to have a good understanding of what creates an experience.
Skill 2: Be collaborative- When designing a serious game or business simulation, the designer is going to have to solicit advice from many sources. In result, it is very important for the designer to be of a collaborative nature. If the simulation designer cannot be collaborative, it will be very difficult to gather the information needed to make a great business simulation experience.
Skill 3: Understanding of many design trades, but master of none- Well, maybe one is ok. The simulation designer will have to understand the importance of overall design and design balance. If the simulation designer is well versed in a one or a few, the simulation will feel this way. It will be unbalanced and hard to use.
Of course, this is just an overview of the many skills that are required. We just feel these are the critical skills necessary to succeed in designing a successful business simulation or designing a serious game. Its a tough thing to keep these skills in balance, but will pay dividends of balanced successfully.
We hope this helps when designing a business simulation or serious game.
Business Simulations: Top 3 Tips and Tricks to Starting
The question of the day is, "What are some tips and tricks to getting started with Business Simulations or Leadership Development Simulations?" We can help with this:
Top 3 Tips to Using Business Simulations or Leadership Development Simulations
Business Simulation Tip 1: Start out small- If you're using a business simulation vendor, don't cave to creating a big simulation (unless you agree its absolutely required). Actually, this even applies if your instructional designers are creating one. Chances are that a bite sized business or leadership simulation will take you a great distance. The trick is to really look at what the end goals are and ensure the simulation is re-enforcing this.
Business Simulation Tip 2: Start at the end- The best results of a business simulation comes from looking at your end goals and mapping the decisions and outcomes of the simulation to your end goals. We know this sounds reversed, but it is almost always best to start with the goals and work backwards.
Business Simulation Tip 3: Start with someone you trust- This applies to both in-house development and outside development. You really need to trust the person who is creating the solution because by nature, business simulations are very complex and will require a broad set of skills. Ensure you trust your partner or you will be uncertain and surprised at the end of the development process.
We know, this is a quick post, but we're in our peak roll out season. We promise, we'll add more soon.
Have a great rest of the week!
HR Magazine/SHRM Article: Business Simulations and Games
SHRM's publication HR Magazine published an article about using Business Simulations and Business Games/Serious Games within Corporate Learning and Development. The article was written by Drew Robb and in our opinion, he did an exceptional job. The article is titled, "Let The Games Begin". Simulation Development Group is referenced with real world examples from both Novartis and Caterpillar. The article is well worth reading because the journalist chose to examine what companies are doing in the space of business simulations and business games/serious games with particular focus on outcomes.
Mr. Robb took the time to talk to users (instead of vendors) about their business simulation strategy and results. The article is exceptionally well written, very concise, and packed with real world examples.
You will need a SHRM membership to read the article. It is well worth the time and you should take a break to read it when possible. We're quite proud of our reference in the article. Let us know what you think.
Have a great weekend!
Tips: Business Simulation or Business Game/Serious Games
Wow! This is a tough one: Should I choose a Business Simulation or a Business Game? Well, to be very honest, we view these as very similar. This leads us to try to define the difference between the two. Without going into too much detail, here are some points of difference:
Business Simulations and Business Games Defined (high level):
- Business Simulations model a specific strategy, process, procedure or goal set
- Business Games probably don't mimic or present much similarity to your business
- Business Simulations clearly mimic your organization
- Business Games don't necessarily model much to do with your business strategy, process, procedure or goal set
- Both Business Simulations and Business Games will try to reinforce the goals and objectives of your training program
Of course, this may suggest that there are huge differences between the two. In some cases, there is. But it is important to remember that when you're creating a business simulation strategy or a serious games/business games strategy, that both tools have certain gaming elements that are present.
Gaming element? What's that? In summary, a gaming element is a situation where participants are put into challenging situations where they are trying to win something that is tough, but attainable. Think of a basic board game. There are certain things you need to do to win, but a competitor might do it better.
Both business simulations and business games have this serious games element. Business Simulations are usually a little more advanced and if customized, will certainly be far more similar to your actual organization and its challenges.
So, which should you choose? Business Simulation or Business Games? We're going to take the wimpy answer here: They're both a good solution, but if you're looking for something a little more serious, a little more advanced, and a little more applicable to your business, then a custom business simulation is probably the right way to go. Of course, there are exceptions :^).
We hope this helps and have a great week!
New Leadership Simulation eBook Posted!
Have you used a business simulation for corporate learning and development and/or leadership development programs before? Unsure where to start, how to get the most out of it and how to set it up? If you're looking for assistance to learn more about this, great! We just posted a new eBook titled, "All About Business Simulations for Leadership Development". We're quite excited and we really hope this helps you.
How do you get it? That's easy. Just go to the home page:
Let us know what you think and also, please, if you have ideas of things you'd like to learn more about, let us know!!
Have a great week.
3 Tips: Capstone Sim or Regular Business Simulation
Are you trying to decide if you should use a Capstone Simulation (CapSim) or a regular Business Simulation? Hopefully, this quick article will help you decide.
Tips to Deciding if You Should Create a Capstone Simulation:
Tip 1: Assess if you need a capstone simulation: Start by asking yourself a simple question, "Am I looking to test participant skills or use a simulation to help them learn skills?" If the answer is that you're trying to teach participants skills, then go with a traditional business simulation strategy. But if you are looking to test skills delivered in previous 'classes', then go with a capstone simulation.
Tip 2: Last program or mid program: If you are going to use this simulation within one or several programs sessions, then go with a traditional business simulation strategy. If this is going to be the final part of a series of sessions, then you might want to think about positioning your custom simulation as a capstone style business simulation.
Tip 3: Would like you like it large, or manageable?: Capstone business simulations tend to be quite large, and thus, more challenging to manage.This is important to think about if you are building your own simulation or wish to facilitate it yourself.
We hope this helps you decide if you are going to go with a capstone business simulation, or a traditional business training simulation or leadership development simulation strategy. No matter which you choose, its great you're using a simulation in general.
We hope this quick post helps.
Using Business Simulations for Busting Business Silos
Does your organization have a slight problem with business silos? Are you looking to bust those silos? A business simulation or leadership simulation may be able to help you. How can a business simulation really help you reduce organizational silos or business silos? Its quite simple: Using business simulations for business silos enables the participants in the business silos to live the life of participants in other business silos. In other words, a simulation will enable participants to live and feel the impact their business silo has on another. The result is that participants will naturally understand how a non siloed way of working is superior. They'll also have a better understanding how their decisions effects other divisions within the organization.
Learn about business simulations for business silos:
We actually have a video about how a business simulation or leadership simulation can help you get an overview of how a simulation can help with your business silo problem.
> Learn about business simulations and business silos.
Its a humorous video, but actually helps get your head around business silos and using a leadership simulation or business training simulation to help you.
If you have business silos and are looking for a great way to engage and make an impact on reducing your organizational silos, think about using a leadership simulation or business simulation to help you reduce your silos.
Hope this helps!
Leadership Simulations: How to Measure Success
A common question we get is, "When it comes to measuring success, how do we know when leadership simulations are successful?" This is a great question. We have some suggestions for ways to measure if your business simulation for leadership development was successful.
How to measure the success of leadership simulations:
1. Give a brief formal questionnaire before your leadership development program. Ask participants 5 simple questions that will help measure their pre-program understanding of your leadership competency model.
2. Deliver any or all of your leadership development simulations. You probably only have 1, but in some cases, this might be broken into sections. Deliver all of your leadership training programs.
3. Give a very similar, but different questionnaire at the end. You need to make sure it's asking the same questions, just with different verbiage. The goal is to get a pre and post program assessment that measures the knowledge of your leadership competency model.
Now, just compare the results. You'll be able to very quickly get an actual percentage increase (hopefully) of how effective your leadership simulations are. This is very tangible and a useful way to measure success.
We hope this helps. Feel free to contact us if you'd like more tips and tricks.
Global Business Simulation: Tips To Execution
Are you rolling out a global business simulation program? Looking for some tips from a company that has facilitated a global business simulation on 3 different continents at the same time?
Top 3 Tips to Managing A Global Business Simulation:
Tip 1: Give yourself extra time! You are going to find that facilitating a global business simulation takes longer than you think. This applies to almost every aspect of the program. You'll run into electricity issues, language issues, time different issues, concept issues, etc... Just count on everything taking longer. Build in time buffers!
Tip 2: Get help from local contacts- When you facilitate a global business simulation, get assistance from contacts in the local geography. They will be able to assist with transportation, setup, etc... You'll find the local contact invaluable!
Tip 3: Get ready for lack of sleep. With the combination of time changes, travel, and setup, a global business simulation will take the sleep right of you. Our tip? Drink lots of water and remember, you will catch up on sleep eventually.
We can't emphasize enough the fact that running a global business simulation is challenging. We also can't emphasize enough that its also very rewarding. Have a great time, learn from the culture(s), and don't forget to drink a lot of water.
We hope this helps!
Leadership Simulations: Tips To Implementing
Thinking of implementing Leadership Simulations? Excellent. How about some tips of ideas to think about?
Here are our top 5 tips for taking on leadership simulations:
Tip 1: Ask yourself, "Can I really simulate leadership?" The answer is probably no. But you will be able to setup business simulations that will enable participants to experience the impact of effective leadership on the business
Tip 2: Don't try to do everything! Take one aspect of leadership and one aspect of the business and map the two together. Once you've successfully mapped the leadership impact, move on to an additional one. After awhile, you'll have a good handful which is manageable.
Tip 3: Look around at other leadership simulations. Chances are, there are others in the industry who have done this already. Call some others, look around, and see what you think. You'll quickly realize what works and doesn't for you.
Tip 4: Talk to leaders within your company. Ask them specifically what they would like others to learn within the organization. You will begin to see patterns. From there, go back to tip 2 and make certain you've mapped the appropriate leadership skills.
Tip 5: Think if leadership simulations are really a training priority within the organization. These are complex animals and there may be lower hanging fruit that has equal or greater levels of importance.
Overall, when thinking about business simulation exercises, think about integrating a leadership component into the mix. This will help with succession planning and effective leadership development programs.
Hope this helps!
Business Simulations: Good For Leadership Development?
Is it really appropriate to use business simulations within corporate training and development programs? Again, great question, but actually, its very hard to say decisively. Some will say absolutely while others say its tricky. Even though we write business simulations and business training exercises that are most commonly used within corporate leadership development program, we say, "Its tricky."
Business Simulations Within Leadership Development Programs:
Why do we say it's tricky. Well, this is because connecting behavior to business results gets challenging at times. This is what we do best and have been doing it for years. That being said, we still find it very tricky at times. Every company has it's own leadership competency model that is used in many ways. Also, business methods vary greatly. This is why each of our simulations have to be custom built. It is simply impractical to assume that pre-made generic business simulations can fit all circumstances.
In our experience, business simulations and business simualtion exercises are a great tools, but it takes devotion from Training and Development to create the connection between behavior and business. But, this can certainly be done and has been done many times successfully.
If you decide to embark on using business simulations within leadership development, just be prepared to think carefully about how and why. Something we're very familiar with and enjoy very much.
Just food for thought and we hope it helps!
Tips to Building Your Business Simulation Strategy
Lately, we've been getting calls with people asking, "What is the best way to build a strategy that includes using a business simulation?" This is a great question and to be honest, we didn't really have any tips to help. So we took the time to create some. We then shared them with some of our partners and in the end, everyone gave us their thumbs up to the following 5 tips:
Tips to Building Your Business Simulation Strategy:
- Become one with your corporate strategy- Before you build your simulation strategy for business training, you should know your corporate strategy very well. Talk to your corporate leaders about this.
- Know what drives the the business- Every enterprise has drivers that push the the organization forward in order to achieve it's strategic success. Sometimes its net profits, other times its cash on hand, or it could be just about anything. You'll learn what drives the business by reading your CEO's letter to shareholders in your annual report. At least this is a good place to start.
- Clearly define your training and development goals- You should have a very clear set of desired outcomes from your training and development programs. Take a look at those and ask yourself, "What content really needs an action learning module?" You'll quickly see what does and doesn't. Whatever does, see if a business simulation exercise would help with this.
- Look at your development resources- Whether we like it or not, we're all shackled by what's available. You'll need some good strong engineering and instructional resources. Once you do this inventory, you'll quickly realize if a business simulation is within reach.
- Examine the size of the training program- The training program you are thinking of using a business simulation within should be pretty healthy in size. If its a 1/2 day program, chances are the time and resource commitment might not be worth it. But if its a multi-day leadership development course. Then yes, its definitely worth the time.
Hope this helps!
Why Use A Business Simulation Exercise To Improve Leadership?
The question is: Why use a business simulation exercise within leadership development? Well, we thought we'd take one step even further back to ask, "Why build a high potential bench?" Well, we looked to PDI and found a great research summary.
Research: Leadership Simulation Exercise:
A recent study by PDINinthhouse found that organizations with more advanced high-potential strategies are:
- Almost 12 times as likely to impact business growth and bottom-line results
- Almost twice as likely to be able to address global business needs
- Nearly three times as likely to be satisfied that their high-potential strategy is driving business/talent goals
- More than three times as likely to realize improved retention in key leader roles
- More than twice as likely to realize ready bench strength
Note: all information is take directly from PDINinthhouse's web site and is publicly available.
So, what does this have to do with a Business Simulation Exercise? The thought is that if you can build and engaging leadership training program utilizing a business simulation, you will engage your future leaders, build their leadership skills, their business acumen skills, and help them learn about the business they are about to help drive towards a great future. Also, if you're interested in world class leadership training content, you should certainly talk to PDI. We are strong supporters of their work.
Hope this helps.
5 Tricks To Successful Business Simulation Exercises
We often get the question, "How can I be successful at creating business simulation exercises?" Thus, in today's post, we have 5 tips for you that will help you build a successful business simulation exercise solution. Here are our top 5 tips and tricks:
5. Start at the finish line- This means you should start by asking, "What do we want the participants to walk out with?" This will help guarantee that your training and development simulation will be aligned with the goals of the corporate strategy.
4. Kiss! Obviously, we don't want you kissing your business simulation exercise (or participants for that matter), we mean that its incredibly important to keep your training and development simulation simple! There is a great tendency to make business simulation exercises incredibly complex. They don't need to be so keep it simple!
3. Business simulation exercises can be paper or computer based- This sort of goes along with tip 4. What we're saying here is that some of the most effective simulation exercises we've seen within training and development are paper based. They are easy to create and very effective when done right. Just remember tip 1.
2. Align the exercise with your corporate strategy- Don't create a rogue business training simulation. Create a nicely aligned business simulation exercise that fits within the corporate strategy.
1. Avoid the flash! In other words, don't get drawn into a business simulation exercise that is all glitz and no content. This training exercise is designed to reinforce your training content. Don't use it just to look flashy. Participants will see right through it.
Hope this helps and have a great day!
Business Simulations: To Use Or Not? Tips To Decide
Let's take a step back today and ask the basic question, "Should I begin to enter into the world of using business simulations within my corporate training and development or leadership development program(s). Well, this is a great question because business simulations are very slick, but aren't always the best tool to use. Here are some tips to decide if using a business simulation training program is a good idea or not.
Tips To Decide: Using Business Simulations
Tip 1: Most importantly, do you have the time to devote to building business simulations? If you are barely getting home in time for dinner as it is, you probably don't. Managing a business simulation is a big task. Count on it taking up about 5+ hours a day during development.
Tip 2: Do you have the technical expertise? If you don't know computer programming or have had little exposure to analytical statistics, you might get very frustrated very quickly.
Tip 3: Think about outsourcing the project: If you answered no to the above tips, but your participants are looking for business training exercises that business simulations create, then you might want to consider outsourcing development. There are many firms (including us) that would be helpful to getting started.
Overall, if you are caught in the perfect storm of needing action learning, but not having the time or expertise to create business simulations, feel free to give us a call. We aren't a sales-e organization and would be happy to help you learn more about getting started.
Hope this helps!
Business Simulation Facilitation Skills
We just helped a customer begin the process of self facilitation. They did great! While one of the trainers was facilitating, the manager of the program asked me, "What does it usually take for someone to facilitate a business simulation." The answer is very simple: Strong business acumen, strong technology acumen, strong training acumen, and a flare for entertainment." No problem, right? We know its a lot. But the point of this post is to remind you that it is indeed done and can be done very well.
Have a great weekend.
Not A Business Simulation, But Still Amazing
This isn't a business simulation article, but it really is still amazing to read. Its about the upcoming revolutionary version of SimCity. For those that remember the black and white grid, you will be shocked. We love Maxis. They inspired many of us to get into modeling and simulations.
Happy Reading! http://www.computerandvideogames.com/344432/previews/simcity-the-legendary-city-simulator-returns-to-its-hardcore-roots/
Have a great weekend!
Forbes: Serious Games and Simulations
Interesting article available online about the outward use of serious games or business simulations posted yesterday. Mostly focused on sales, but still interesting.
Do You Own Your Business Simulation?
We have noticed a funny thing: As the economy has improved, we have been receiving more interest in a full ownership business simulation. Why is this funny, well, this is because full ownership means full responsibility. Full responsibility means more resources. More resources means that corporations are investing in their employees once again. This is great news! It is great to see trends moving back towards more investment in training and development. It's even greater to see companies self facilitating their own business simulation or leadership development simulation.
We'd like to hear your opinion... Do you see more investment in corporate learning or in training development/leadership development? From our close contact with our customers, there is a resounding yes. But this is a bad sample because most of the companies we work with invest very heavily and very carefully in their training and development programs. We hope to see more self facilitation of a corporate business simulation. We like to see self sufficiency!
Have a great week!
Simulation Train the Trainer or Not?
Are you thinking of utilizing a train the trainer solution in order to facilitate your very own business simulation? Great! Go for it! We have a couple things to think about when taking on this project.
1. Allow an extra 20%. What? Hu? What do we mean by this? Well... When it comes to facilitating a business simulation, give yourself about 20% extra runway to get it off the ground (in time and effort).
2. Pick trainers or teachers that have a nice balance of business acumen, facilitation, and technology skills. You don't need rockstars in any one, but a nice balance of all three.
3. Keep the business simulation small. Chances are, your appetite is bigger than your stomach and your stomach doesn't need much to do the job. We can't emphasize this one enough.
In summary: To facilitate a business simulation, you should plan for extra effort, find the right person, and keep it simple. If you remember these three simple concepts, you'll thank yourself later.
Hope this helps!
Traits of a Sucessful Business Simulation Facilitator
What are successful traits of a business simulation facilitator? This is a question we often get and a great one. It's very tough to nail down, but here are some critical traits:
1. Quick thinking- Ability to quickly look at data, present it, and respond to participant's questions on the fly.
2. Quantitative, Analytical, and Qualitative- Yup! All those things combined. Yikes! We know, its a lot.
3. Entertaining- The training facilitator must entertain the group. To be more specific, someone who provokes deep thought, knowledge discovery, and laughter. Yikes! We know, its a lot.
That's it. Just a quick post to talk about what usually makes a business simulation facilitator more successful. Of course, there's more to it, but these are our top three (for today :) ).
Hope this helps! Have a good afternoon.
Top 5 Throughts to Consider When Considering a Business Simulation
Thinking of using a business simulation? Never used a business simulation? Well, maybe we can help. Here are 5 tips to think about when considering a business simulation for corporate training and development:
1. What am I trying to achieve- In this tip, we encourage you to start at the finish line and run backwards to the start. If you clearly define your metrics for success, you'll create a more efficient and focused business simulation program (you'll also save some $$).
2. Decide if you need a custom simulation or an off the shelf simulation- Off the shelf is cheaper, but you'll be responsible for telling participants how this applies to them and their business. If you're teaching general concepts, go with a canned sim.
3. Start early! - Creating a custom business simulation or leadership development simulation takes time. If you call a sim provider to give just a couple weeks notice, you won't be happy with the results.
4. Do your homework - A business simulation training program is a complex animal. Take your time and do your homework. There are a lot of sim providers out there and we're all a little different. Give a few of us all a call and get to know us a little.
5. Do what's comfortable for you - In the end, if you pick a business simulation provider you can communicate with, you trust, and can count on, you'll be much happier. If you find a cheap provider that you have a hard time working with, you'll pay the price in time and frustration. Us crazy sim providers all have a different style and method. There is no one single best provider. Listen to your gut and work with a business simulation provider that you are comfortable working with. You'll be much happier!
We hope to do more postings now that we have our heads above simulation development water. Drop us a note if you want us to comment on something specific.
Have a great week!
The Business Simulation Assistant Tool Is Live!
We're pretty excited about the business simulation assistant tool. Keep in mind, its pretty rough around the edges for now, but hey, its just 1.0.
Enjoy and we hope this helps!
Tips and Tricks to Picking a Simulation Solution
The first time most all the companies we work with call us, they say something along the lines of, "Well, I'm just learning about using a business simulation." We're always more than happy to talk about things to think about when choosing a business simulation for training and development. Here are some tips:
1. Do you need off the shelf or custom business simulation- This may seem like a big question to answer, but you'll pretty quickly see what you need most. If the subject matter has very little to do with any specifics to your company, then an off the shelf solution may be the easiest way to go. If your training program is specific to your organization or company, then a custom solution will probably be best.
2. Should you build or buy- This is a tough question to answer. One which we can't easily answer. In our experience, it will usually come down to time, resources, and expertise. If you have a team that is exceptionally good as statistical modeling, software development, and business acumen, then build inside. If you only have an instructional design team, then go outside. There is a huge difference between building a training program and building a business simulation.
3. Should you self facilitate or outsource facilitation- Again, take a look at your internal capabilities first. If your facilitators either have strong business acumen or have the capacity to learn it very quickly, then explore self facilitation. But if your team is scared of the three financial statements and concerned with being "caught", then take a look outside. There is nothing worse for a facilitator than being run over by participants.
4. Should I build new, or reuse existing training program(s)- This is actually pretty simple: A business simulation should not replace your existing training content. So don't feel that the simulation will render your existing content obsolete. Just ask this simple question, "Is my existing training program still relevant?" If it is, then definitely continue to use it. If the content is out of date or irrelevant, then its time to throw it out or update it anyway. No matter the case, the simulation is not the training, it is simply a tool for more effective training. A good business simulation should fit nicely into an existing training program.
5. Should I pay a ton for a business simulation?- No. The simulation should not cost too much. If its too much of your budget, don't risk other programs spending everything on a shiny new simulation. Chances are, those dollars could be used better if its really that big of a percentage. Spend your money like investment advisors advise their clients: Diversity!
We hope this helps. Have a great weekend.
Right Tools For The Right Job
Have you taken time to think about what tools you're using for your business training or leadership development programs? If not, we actually think this is good. Why? Because most people think heavily about getting the right training tools well before they have clearly defined the job. To take a step even further back, have you taken a look at the core set of business training program needs? Where did your training program come from? Did it come from a program that has been around for awhile, built up over a series of annual need changes? If so, we're guessing you have a few training barnacles. What are we getting at?
We recommend you take an hour or so, look at your most important business training or leadership development program and look at the following: The training program need, the training program goals, and then the training tools. If you instantly look at the latter two, you will wind up with an unfocused training program that is trying to fix too many needs (some of which may no longer be relevant).
This brings us to the final point... what training tools are you using? Are you using a little bit of a lot of things? If so, you're going to get the same results... a little of this, a little of that, and not a lot of focus. This is especially the case when it comes to creating a business simulation for training and development or leadership development.
We bring this up because we just completed a very long and painful exercise of really looking at our backend office systems (which are very complex due to software development). We took a hard and focused look at the tools we use to create business training simulations and/or leadership development simulation software. In the end, we cut out roughly 30% of our development tools. This created an amazing amount of focus and we felt like our development systems went through a very much overdue car wash. Feels great and productivity is already much better and with less complaining. We just decided to apply the same concept to business training and leadership development. Hope the idea got you thinking about how and where your current training and development program come from.
We'll be writing more specifically about business simulations soon.
Almost Above Business Simulation Water!
Ok... Some good news for those that have been working with us... We're almost above the Business Simulation water line! Yes!
Again, I know we've apologized quite a bit, but we promise, we're just about to get our heads above water. We've really been buried trying to get custom business simulations for either learning and development (general) or leadership development programs out the door and in our customers hands. We had a sudden rush starting in December and one project in particular came in as a huge, "can you do us a favor and get this done really quick" manner. We aren't good at saying no when it comes to creating business simulations or leadership simulations. Thus, this put us back a few months.
Sooo.... if you have any questions, or topics you'd like us to touch on, drop us a note. We'll be happy to take a look.
Hope to write again soon!
SimDevGroup Business Update
Once again, as we've said many time lately, we very much apologize for the lack (and quality) of recent posts. We know we've said it many times, but we're just so totally swamped. This is great, and we're really excited, but we're all putting in over 14-18 hour days and working on weekends. We're also pretty much booked up for 2012, but this depends on the size and type of new business. We say this cautiously because we're not very good at saying no to things.
So, why do we bring this up? Because we pride ourselves on doing our best to try to consistently communicate useful information. We have failed at this in the past 3 months or so. We promise... We're going to improve starting the end of this month. Typically Q1 for us is always slammed and this year is off the charts. We hope to be back very soon to talk more about business training simulations and leadership development simulations.
In the meantime, if there's a specific question you have for us, please feel free to reach out to us. We don't bite!
Thanks for your patience!
All SimDevGroup Backend Systems In The Cloud!
This is more excitement for us than anything, but as of 2:33am this morning, all of SimDevGroup's backend management systems is 100% completely in the cloud. So, what does this mean and why did we do it? Here's why this matters:
- This reduces our IT costs by approximately 27% per year - Lower cost to us means lower costs for business simulation users
- This reduces our time on IT projects by about 73% - This is HUGE! This means we'll spend more time creating business simulations
- This reduces our Carbon Footprint. Its hard to measure and exact amount, but we don't have to run a closet of computer systems any longer.
- Since we're in the cloud, all computer systems sync in realtime. This means all simulation projects for training and development or leadership development are all in sync, all contacts, appointments, etc.
Overall, yes, we're excited, but anyone that uses SimDevGroup for custom business simulations or leadership development simulation should also be excited because this keeps our time to delivery down in addition to our costs of development.
Have a great weekend!
Formats and Methods of Business Simulations- The Big Debate!
What format do you deliver your business simulation for training and development? Paper, Visual Basic, Flash, Flex, Compiled C, Cocoa, C#, Java, Sign Language? We have to ask: Does this really matter all that much? If the end product is exactly what you were looking for, why do people care? We use all of the above and aren't married or religious about the method and we'd suggest that you shouldn't be either.
Different business simulations have different outcomes (aka: Goals for training). Shouldn't this alone dictate the idea that different tools should be used depending on the outcome specifics of your training program. Note: Not the outcome of the simulation, but the outcome of your training and development objectives. Why do we point this out... Because business simulations should be a second priority, not the first! The first priority is ensuring the goals of your training and development program are met. Then comes business simulations.
Why are we writing about this? Because this old argument keep reappearing and we just kind of roll our eyes. The only time this really matters is if ERP or LMS integration is ABSOLUTELY essential. Why are we shouting absolutely? Because we're not a huge fan of massive overkill in any situation much less for Training and Development. These systems are huge and often massive overkill. Just IOHO ;D.
Anyway... why worry about the development environment? You should worry about the outcome and alignment. This is the most important part. Go with the 80/20 rule and you'll be happy.
Hope this helps. Have a great week!
Business Simulations New Year's Resolution
We've had a terrific 2011 and 2012 looks to be even better. This year, we are cutting back the number of business simulations we create (gasp!). Traditionally, we only do a handful. The reason is that we spend about 25% of our time doing research and development. The goal is to create the world's finest business simulations or leadership development simulations for training and development at the lowest price possible (aka: focus!). 2011 we only spent about 15% of our time in R&D and we want to ensure this doesn't happen in 2012.
With this in mind, we would like to solicit your help!
Please send us an email and tell us what you'd like to learn more about. Most of the business simulation research and development is dedicated to finding ways to teach others how to use a business simulation or leadership development simulation within training and development. To drop us an email, just use the contact form that is at the bottom of most any of our web pages. We use these forms because if we don't, we get an uncontrollable amount of spam.
Again: If you'd like to learn anything about using a business simulation or leadership development simulation, please send us an email and we'll do our best to create a method to share this information.
Happy New Year!!!
Happy Holidays from SimDevGroup
Wow! The phones and emails sure have slowed down this week! This suddenly caused us to poke our heads out from building business simulations to realize that the holidays are here :) .
This is a just a quick note to say thank you and happy holidays! We've had a great 2011 and have built many exciting business training simulations and leadership development simulations. Thank you for trusting us as your partner. We've had a great time.
- SimDevGroup Team
Collaborating on Business Simulations
Again, sorry for the lag in posts... again, its the run up to developing business simulations for January delivery. Anyway, we just wanted to quickly talk about the importance of collaborating on projects. We don't know it all (Gasp!). Far from it. We know how to build business simulations, but you know your business, your needs, and your company better than anyone else: Especially us!
Thus, we cannot over emphasize the importance you should feel when working with us. When we create business simulations, we hope to get as much input, ideas, and nutty concepts from our customers as possible. Through collaboration, we hope to learn from each other and build the best business simulation or leadership training simulation possible. We're very un-uptight, we don't take ourselves very seriously, and we love learning from others! Thus, don't hesitate to jump in with us, give us some ideas, and learn.
Have a great half week!
Happy Holidays for Our US Based Customers
Specifically our US based community. We'd like to wish you a happy, safe, and most of all, FESTIVE holiday season. Apologies we've been quiet lately. Its our usual pre-January new business simulation development madness. We'll try to post more often.
Have a great holiday!
- The SimDevGroup Team
Business Simulations and 2012
We're hard at work creating new business simulations for 2012. Here's what we're seeing in terms of trends for 2012:
- Business Simulations for self facilitation are back on the rise- This is great, but we're being very careful about who facilitates and ensuring the readiness.
- Business Simulations for assessment- This is a new one. Companies are starting to use business simulations for situational assessment. Its fun and interesting to use business simulations in this way.
- Business Simulations for Leadership Development- Nothing new here. Just seems to be on the rise.
Those are our top three so far. It seems that companies are getting their 2012 programs off the ground a little late this year. Usually by November, we're most of the way through development. This year, we're about halfway through which is late. No big deal. Just a little different.
Have a great week!
How To: Taking Training Content and Creating A Business Simulation
A common question we hear is, "How do you take our training content and create a business simulation?" The answer is: Its not easy ;^).
Seriously, SimDevGroup follows a Lean Six Sigma process when developing a custom business training simulation. This is a great model to work with because it focuses very strongly on assessment, info gathering, info management, development, review, and redevelopment. This has worked for us for over 7 years and we have no plans on changing this.
Whether you are creating a customer business training simulation or leadership development simulation, or not creating a simulation at all, we recommend getting familiar with this model and at least following it loosely. To learn more about Lean Six Sigma, simply search online and a very diverse set of information will be returned. Apply what you see to your training program creation or leadership development program creation. You'll find it very easy to apply.
Hope this helps!
Being Product and People Centric
As you may or may not know, most of us here came from Apple. A few of us worked very closely with Steve and thus, its a terribly upsetting time for us. But we thought we'd take this opportunity to communicate what we learned from our years at Apple. Be product and people centric and delight people with whatever you do in your role. If you work from the user back, focus on ease of use, and relentlessly drive towards best results, you'll forever create great solutions.
Thus, we'd like to suggest that whatever business training solutions you create, work from the user backwards and relentlessly drive towards delighting and over delivering on what others expect from you. Its how we live here and we can't emphasize the wonderful feeling you'll get from beating people's expectations.
Have a great weekend!
Business Simulations: Competing Against The Computer
Apologies for the tardy post. We moved our offices to a new location. Need I say more? Didn't think so.
Lets repeat a question we're often asked: Do Business Training Simulations require that I compete against the computer? We say, "No! Try to avoid this!"
Having participants compete against a computer is actually kind of a bad idea. Why? Because participants don't believe the outcome and they know it's rigged. Also, people by nature love to have friendly competitions. Why do you think games are so much fun and so popular. This would also explain the explosion in social networked based collaborative games online. We advise you to take a hard look. Are the business training simulations you're currently using forcing the participants to compete against a bunch of computerized assumptions or are your participants competing against their peers?
In some cases, competing against an unreal competitor is fine. In most of the cases where companies are trying to teach specific skills (especially leadership development), this method just doesn't fit. All modeling should be relative to peers, not relative to R2D2. Having an R2D2 based competitor is a cheap way out of a complex solution. Its best if the teams see results based on the decisions of their peers. Just our humble opinion based on what we've see work and not work within the world of business simulations for corporate learning and development.
Have a great weekend.
Business Simulations and Assessment
Are business training simulations good for employee assessments? Yes they are, but we recommend being cautious with this.
We're not saying its a bad idea. Its actually a very interesting way to assess an employee's business capabilities. We only mention caution because if you try to assess and teach at the same time, most people who are making decisions within the business simulation will focus on trying to score highly. Thus, learning will be a very distant second. Its a great idea. We just recommend separating the two.
We have seen using a business training simulation for assessment and training both succeed and fail. As usual, it depends on the training topics, methods, and content. But, the short answer to, "Can I use a business training simulation for assessment?" is: Yes you can. Just think it through carefully. :)
Hope this helps!
Remember, Business Simulations Are Poor Instructors
We know, we know. We've said this many times (especially when you talk with us): Simulations are terrible instructors! Shall we repeat it? Thought not.
Ok, why are we bringing up the fact that business simulations or leadership simulations are terrible instructors? Well, this is because we have suddenly received a lot of calls lately about stand alone business training simulations as an instruction program. This is a poor fit for a business simulation. Business simulations are simply a highly effective tool for training content reinforcement. The best business simulations are those that reinforce YOUR training content (not some generic content or remote theory).
An effective business simulation is one that enables your training participants to practice and apply your training content. Instructor led (whether distance or local) is still the best way to encourage collaborative learning and people learn best from people. But a business training simulation is an exceptional tool to enable a safe way for participants to experience the positive impact of your training content on your business.
So, once again, a business training simulation or leadership development simulation is great for content reinforcement and application, but not so good as a stand alone instructor. For now, we'll leave it at that until we feel the need to repeat it once again ;^).
Have a great weekend!
Business Simulations Running on an iPad
These simulations take a lot of time to create because it requires they be written in Cocoa (within XCode) which is a very specialized application development environment that is on Mac OS X only. But... running a leadership simulation on an iPad is a lot of fun. We had a good time building it, runs well, but we're just looking for the right fit. This of course, depends on the customer. Thus, if you're really looking to run a simulation on an iPad, let us know, but be ready for some usage tradeoffs. iPads are still single user devices.
Have a great long weekend!
Quanititative Relavance In Modeling Behavior Within Business Simulations
How does one go about relating similar or like data and providing incentives to change behavior? Oddly enough, this is usually done in written form by building a story and a set of relevant circumstances. As technical and mathematical as the title of this post may seem, what makes this work for a business simulation is something as simple as a good story. The story really helps connect the quantitative relevancy of the training simulation to the actual real life events the participants are forced to work within on a daily basis.
Why do we bring this up? We want you to understand that you shouldn't worry about the quantitative relevancy model. You should be thinking most about the story, the circumstances, and what you want the participants to learn most. The story really connects participants to the 'why' behind the entire training exercise. Thus, our tip... When you're thinking about creating a custom business simulation, take time to think of the back story of the program. It will be time well spent.
Do Business or Leadership Simulations Have To Be Competitive?
Definitely not! In fact, many of our leadership development simulations are not competitive. The primary driver behind why some aren't is very simple: Need for more collaboration.
In many leadership development programs, the topic of cross function or cross division collaboration is a very important competency to build. The problem is that so many leadership development simulations or business training simulations are built with the assumption that teams are going to compete against each other. Does this sound like a very good way for participants to learn effective collaboration? We didn't think so either!
How does a collaborative simulation work exactly? Good question. This is very simple. The participants that are going through the business training simulation program are broken into teams, but not competing teams. Instead, they must work together to accomplish a common goal, but one that not a single team can control on their own. Isn't this really simulating how a company actually works? Of course it does. The groups and participants of the leadership simulation are still scored and evaluated, but in a very different way.
Thus, including a business training simulation within your leadership development program does not require the simulation to be based on a competitive model. Actually, we recommend against it. The trick is to build up the case correctly, group to teams in a logical and applicable way, and foster a collaborative environment and not you vs me environment. This creates a very healthy and energetic environment where participants are learning teamwork, cross collaboration, and effective communication skills.
The result is a very effective, applicable, and engaging leadership development simulation that is easy to facilitate, engaging for participants, and applicable to the business requirements.
We hope this helps!
New! Business Simulation eBooks Section Added! Learn Even More!
We are excited to finally announce that we have opened a new section: Business Training Simulation ebooks
This is where we will load up formal ebooks that are free to download and read. We have separated out ebooks from whitepapers. Whitepapers is where we will post more of our research type results and ebooks are geared more towards light and quick reading on specific topics.
Let us know what you think and we hope this helps you learn more about using business simulations within training and development.
Connecting Behavior and Leadership to Learning Objectives is TOUGH!
Don't kid yourself, connecting learning objectives to leadership development to behavior to business outcomes within a business training simulation is not an easy thing to do. It takes planning, forward thinking, and creativity to successfully accomplish. We have to be honest, its not something we do alone. We don't try to kid ourselves that we have the answers. We create custom business simulation solutions. With custom solutions comes a very high level of collaboration. The good news is that because its a highly collaborative process, the outcomes are usually very satisfying.
If you are thinking of creating a custom business simulation based on specific behaviors (like leadership competencies), buckle up. There is no one size method fits all. Its a learning adventure that is very well worth doing, but is definitely a process and a learning process to boot. If its well done, it will take a high degree of collaboration, commitment, and creativity. Most of all, it takes a grounded sense of what is truly accomplishable and facsilitatable. The fruits are well worth the labor. You'll wind up with a training support and reinforcement tool like no other. It will sing in harmony with the content you want to deliver and the business objectives you want to reinforce. A business training simulation based on leadership behavior is an endeavor that is well worth the time. We just wanted to let you know it will stretch your learning and development organization in ways you probably never imagined. The good news is that its like a good fitness routine: you'll come out stronger on the other side. We'll be right there with you as your workout buddy and trainer. Leadership development is a tough topic to teach. You think its tough to teach, try to simulate it ;).
Have a great week!
Learn How To Facilitate A Business Training Simualtion
Hello SimDev Community-
Would you like to learn how to facilitate a business training simulation? Great! It looks like we're probably going to open up enrollment for a small number of participants who wish to learn how to effectively facilitate a business simulation. We're not sure when and where yet, but if you're interested in attending, please let us know soon. This will be 2 days of informal, fun, and useful information.
You will learn the following:
- Manage the technology of a business training simulation
- How to setup for a business training simulation program ahead of time
- How to give insights into the results of a business training simulation
- Manage the participants, technology, and content all in tandem
- How to deal with a business training simulation "crisis"
Of course, we'll post more information when it becomes available. Hopefully, we'll have more information about this training course soon.
Have a great summer-e weekend!
Secret code: UCXXCR5W6XWY
Leadership Development Simulation Training?
Are you interested in learning how to build and facilitate your own leadership development or corporate training simulation? We have been getting quite a few requests for train the trainer solutions. We normally host train the trainer sessions for individual companies that are implementing a leadership development simulation or business training simulation. We do these all the time. But we have kicked around the idea of hosting a few companies at one time. In essence, a build your own leadership development simulation training summit. Is this interesting to you?
If you are interested in either a leadership development simulation training course or business training simulation training course, please drop us a form letter. We're going to take a temperature of the interest and decide in the fall if enough people are interested.
Let us know and how a wonder holiday (here in the states).
Another Revamp of Simulation Development Group's Web Site
We are almost out of this crazy simulation delivery season. Soon, we'll be able to take a breather and work on other things for a month or so. Thus, we're pre-announcing a slow migration to a new web site platform. What does this mean for those who use a customer business training simulation for learning and development? Well, it means you'll be able to learn more than ever. We try our best to make our site educational, but this can get challenging at times due to infrastructure. We plan on creating a new place for you to go and learn more about business training simulations, leadership development, or learning and development as a whole. We hope to finish the transition by the end of the summer. If we don't we're in trouble because the fall delivery season cranks back up and we'll be behind.
Stay tuned! More coming soon!
- SimDevGroup Team
New Advances in Delivery Technology in Learning and Development
Long time no talk and we hope to be out of the madness soon.
Facilitation a learning and development program is hard enough without having to worry about technology. The good news is: Technology is getting smaller and faster (gasp- Shocker, we know). When thinking about the technology needs of facilitation a learning and development business training simulation or leadership development simulation, you should think about a few things:
Our top 5 list of technology considerations to think about when facilitating a learning and development business training simulation:
1. Use Clean Technology- What we mean here is: Is the technology you're using very non-contaminated? Is the technology yours or are you using participant's technology. Our advice: Use your own clean machines.
2. Test and Test Again- Get your hands on the technology as early as possible and then test your business simulations on this technology as much as you can. You'll thank yourself for it later.
3. Forego Power For Predictability- We have yet to see a business simulation really use up the power of modern computers. Thus, if you can, try to get older machines that your IT department has cleaned up for you. Chances are, there are older computers laying around that will work great.
4. Scrap advanced technology for tested!- Don't feel the need to invite uncertainty into your program. Go without wireless if you can, its more stable. Go without advanced HDMI if possible, its more stable. Go without the flux capacitor, its more stable. Go with what works and has been around for awhile!
5. Keep Technology Local- Try to avoid a highly internet dependent solution. Make sure there are backups if the internet goes down. Believe us, it happens. Whether it be a hotel connection (very unstable), Corporate connections (firewall issues), or anything, make sure to have a local backup solution.
As you have probably guessed, we believe in the show must go on! No matter the case, the technology has to work. Even though there have been advances in technology, go with what works when it comes to using a business simulation within your learning and development program.
Where has SimDevGroup Gone?
Let's start off with an apology. Our postings have been less frequent. We warned this was going to happen in a previous post. April, May, and June have training simulation overlap in them. This wasn't intentional, but when it comes to planning outcomes, what really is? In results, we haven't been able to make many postings worth reading when it comes to business training simulations or leadership development simulations. We'll keep trying but until we get through this perfect storm of simulation programs, they might be a bit thin. :) Stay tuned.
Business Training Simulation Facilitation- Give Yourself Some Time!
If you give yourself just a little bit of time to facilitate a business training simulation, you will make mistakes and your prep work will be just adequate at absolute best. Net Net: Give yourself more time than you think you need. We can promise you, its more stressful than we make it look. Why? Because we have been facilitating business training and leadership training simulations for a long time. Thus, we can do it in our sleep.
Please, please... give yourself plenty of time to work with the simulation, look at the results, and build a learning story around the simulation. You will be much happier with your results and your participants will learn a lot more.
We hope this helps!
Mobile Site for Business Simulations
Last week, Simulation Development Group launched it's mobile site. We're pretty excited. You can now view business training simulations and leadership development simulation related information on the go. The site is optimized for most any mobile device and adjusts on its own. Thus, if you're looking to get information on business training simulation, learning simulations, or leadership development simulations from a desktop or any type of mobile device, the site will automagically adjust.
This is something that is long overdue and we just simply fell behind. But, its up and running. By no means is this final. Its just a starting point. We're going to continue to work on this and refine it over the the next couple of weeks.
To view the site, just to go simdevgroup.com with a mobile device and it will automatically adjust for you.
Leadership Development Simulations and "Business"
We have written extensively on utilizing a business simulation for leadership development. This is a fantastic solution for your leadership development program. Interestingly, over the past few months, we have had an unusually high number of inquireries regarding the business side of the leadership development simulation. Remember, when we say business, we are speaking generally. Every organization, from education to not for profits has a "business" side to it somewhere. Maybe your "business" is measured in the number of people you make smile. Great! We love it. But then you're in the business of smile development.
We post this note because you shouldn't feel like your organization (or sub-organization) needs to be in "business" because it doesn't. It just needs to have some sort of organization to it where somebody can learn something to better it's desired outcomes.
So, when you think of a business simulation, don't think briefcase, big glass building, and cubes. Think "me!".
Have a great weekend!
April Fools Day Simulation
We love pranks, fun, and laughing. Thus, we had to post something on April Fools Day. Did you know that April Fools Day has been traced back to the 1300s. WOW! People have enjoyed pranks and fun for many many years. Wikipedia has an interesting write up about April fools day here: About April Fools Day. What does this have to do with a business simulation, business training simulation, leadership development simulation, business silo simulation, or custom business simulation? Absolutely nothing. We just wanted to wish everyone a happy April Fools Day!
- SimDevGroup Team