A simple explanation of why games
and simulations provide powerful
To the left is the classic
Lemonade Stand simulation.
On first look, one might assume that this is a simple game for kids. But, on deeper investigation, a powerful learning experience is revealed. Give it a try and you'll discover how a simple game can provide deep learning that is much more effective than traditional methods. Read below to discover how these concepts can be applied to any business process or skill.
Here's how. The objective of the game is to make as much money as quickly as possible. To do so you must price your lemonade, determine its quality (sweet and lemony is best!), and order enough inventory (lemons, sugar, and cups) to make it.
Quality is a challenge because the tastier the lemonade the more it costs to make, which affects your pricing. It also affects your inventory because a tastier drink requires more lemons and sugar.
The weather is also a factor. Lemonade sells better on hot and sunny days, and not so well on cold and stormy days. The weather, of course, is unpredictable and the forecast is often wrong. But, you must forecast how many sales you will make in order to purchase just enough inventory to match demand for the day. Purchase too much and it risks spoiling. Don't purchase enough and you miss sales.
Every decision has a consequence. And, your performance is tracked and evaluated continually.
You could try to learn all this using traditional learning methods: reading and discussing the issues, and perhaps doing some simple exercises. But, until you are running a lemonade stand business, you will never truly experience how all the variables are connected (and experience is what ultimately changes behavior and improves performance).
What might take hours, days, or weeks to learn using traditional methods, can now be learned in minutes inside a simulation. It's the difference between theory and practice. It's what transforms knowledge to wisdom. It's the difference between making costly mistakes in the real world versus hitting the ground running. It's why pilots learn to fly in flight simulators.
Now, let's take it to another level. We could add employees, and their behavior would be modeled so they act like people do in the real world. You would have to manage them well in order to succeed. How much will you pay them? Will they show up on time? Will they show up at all? How productive will they be?
We could take it even further by adding other businesses that you must compete with in the simulation. Now you have to consider the pricing and quality offered by your competitors and how you stack up. Imagine if those competitors are not run by the computer, but are your coworkers — across the hall or around the world. Now, you have another level of engagement — healthy competition.
Oh, and did you notice that this is FUN too? Did you also notice that there isn't a lot of reading? It's all about doing — and very visual. Visual means it can transcend literacy, language, cultural, and other common challenges.
Your business doesn't sell lemonade? That's ok. Any business process or skill can be simulated: sales conversations with customers, risk management challenges, customer service interactions, high-risk situations, and more.
The Lemonade Stand game is a basic simulation developed by MediaSpark and used in many schools. For more information on custom training simulations that match your needs, contact us. To see more detailed and comprehensive examples of business, finance, and related simulations, visit the GoVenture products page.