Business Simulations: what are they and how do they work?


Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.
Steve Jobs

This is the reason why business simulations are good for business. They provide two key elements to ensure employees are focussed on collaborative teamwork to drive business success.  These are:

  1. A learning solution to ensure employees understand core business functions and how they impact eachother for overall strategic planning
  2. A risk-free environment to supplement employee understanding through experiential learning to test business strategy 

Research shows that people learn better when they are positively motivated and challenged. This is why business simulations are run as games offering participants information, the opportunity to make choices and immediately see the impact of their decisions. Important here, is they are based on gamification techniques to provide a fun and stimulating environment, which ultimately improves memory retention.  Essentially participants “learn by doing.”

How do Business Simulations work?

Participants access the simulation and enter a real-life business scenario by way of a virtual business.  They are given objectives to complete with supporting information from a combination of business functionality; such as sales, finance, marketing, operations, logistics, supply chain, human resources and leadership, (depending on the simulation type).  As the simulation progresses, participants are asked to analyse information, solve problems and make decisions.  The simulation reacts to choices made thereby offering immediate results in the following step, enabling participants to assess the quality of their decision and make appropriate modifications to improve their business success.  This continues throughout until the simulation is complete.

On completion the business simulation provides a clear dashboard with overviews on individual and group (or virtual company) performance.  These dashboards provide key metrics showing understanding and offer insights into mistakes – and more importantly – corrective actions taken, demonstrating participant(s) learning.

Are Business Simulations easy to run?

Yes.  Business Simulations are flexible to suit business requirements, giving complete freedom over length of time and depth of the learning environment. Simulations can be led by internal managers or facilitated by the simulation provider.  Business games be purchased as generic off-the-shelf simulations or completely tailored using internal business language and processes for enhanced learning. Based on cloud platforms, they require no specialist IT knowledge or complicated software installation, as they are easily accessed online.  Business simulations offer the scalability of being delivered at large scale corporate events, to mid-sized global business sessions, to smaller internal workshops, as well as for individual learning on a range of devices.

What are the benefits of running a business simulation?

  • It’s good for business.  Businesses become more efficient in internal processes, product or service delivery, sales and customer service; thereby gaining competitive advantage. Your business will have focussed employees, who make better business decisions, by understanding your business better.
  • It’s good for the individual. Motivated employees who feel valued, with an opportunity to develop their business acumen and leadership skills, will enjoy contributing in a collaborative work environment, as they progress their career.