What's Hot and Trending in Business Simulations

Rommin Adl
Executive Vice President

Business simulations have long been recognized as the leading method for engaging learners and developing new skills in a safe environment where people learn by doing. From critical business capabilities like business acumen to softer leadership skills like coaching and giving feedback, smart leaders choose business simulations because they deliver the essential experiences necessary for shifting mindsets, and developing and embedding new skills.

As experts in the field of business simulations, we know that this approach to learning is far from traditional. Innovating business simulations occurs almost continually, and as a result, they have evolved to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world. Today’s simulations use cutting-edge technology to be more scalable, flexible and accessible to participants when, where and how they need it at work.

We spoke with our experts around the world to understand how business simulations have changed to meet today’s needs. The following are some of our findings on what is hot and trending:

  1. Leveraging Agile approaches to create better simulation experiences
    Agile approaches leverage design thinking to provide a better user experience. Using Agile processes to create business simulations allows us to more readily create and deploy multimedia elements such as audio or video, which help to greatly enhance learning. Studies show that videos and audio trigger responses that cannot be created with text alone, helping participants to learn more quickly. In addition, Agile enables the creation of more complex simulations and learning journeys where participants can take on multiple roles, providing an experience that more realistically reflects their everyday work.

    Early prototyping, where mockups of the decisions that a participant will make in a simulation as well as the feedback they will receive are created very early in the process. This allows stakeholders to view, experience and provide more informed input, leading to final deliverables that are even more closely aligned to exactly what the end-user needs and will experience.
  2. Virtual simulation experiences enable rapid deployment and flexibility
    Virtually delivered business simulations allow for large-scale deployment. Leaders can reach thousands of people in a short timeframe, effectively cascading learning to the critical mass of people required for large-scale capability development and strategic transformation.

    Virtual simulation experiences are more flexible. Digital capabilities enable programs to be completely paperless and can eliminate the expense of travel. Participants no longer need specialized printouts because the essential information can be accessed via an internet connection and a computer. Allowing for the delivery of live classroom sessions in a central location, digital simulations reduce travel to just another floor in the building. In the past, companies and their participants in remote locations would find it difficult to attend classroom sessions due to cost and time away from the job.
  3. The rise of data analytics
    Business simulations provide rich data and insights. As participants make decisions on how they prioritize executing key initiatives or engage their teams in difficult conversations, their decisions are recorded. This provides a whole host of valuable information that can be tracked, analyzed, and leveraged by the cloud-based simulation platform.

    Analytics can be used at the individual level to inform coaching conversations; or strategists can review the data, determining potential barriers and risks to successful strategy execution.

    Simulations can connect to an organization’s Learning Record Store (LRS) so that the data can be used for people analytics.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) starts to find a place in business simulations
    Still in its early days, AI promises to provide a wealth of information and experiences that will improve leadership development and ensure successful strategy execution. Incorporating IBM Watson APIs into one of our leadership offerings allowed us to identify the tone of the language used in a coaching conversation. This provided leader coaches with valuable insights into how their feedback was received and how the tone of the language could impact the coachee. In this case, AI augmented the live instructor-led feedback. Moving forward, the possibilities that AI present for business simulations are limitless.
Is Strategy That Important

Business simulations have evolved significantly over the last few years. From virtual deployment to the use of data analytics and AI, today’s simulations are no longer a group of people huddled in a room around a computer. Simulations provide interactive, engaging experiences that can be delivered effectively and efficiently to large groups of people, translating learning directly back on the job and creating large-scale, transformative behavioral change.

The future of simulations is bright. With the incorporation of AI, tomorrow’s simulations promise continued advancement and new innovations that will provide more insights and even better participant experiences resulting in better skill development, more rapid career advancement and accelerated strategy execution.

About BTS

BTS focuses on the people side of strategy, working with leaders at all levels to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions and deliver results. At our core, we believe people learn best by doing. For 30 years, we’ve been designing fun, powerful experiences™ that have profound and lasting impact on people and their careers. We inspire new ways of thinking, build critical capabilities and unleash business success.
It’s strategy made personal.

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