Yesterday we did this really cool computer simulation called “The Beer Game“. In it, everyone sits in a classroom together and performs different roles within a supply chain for a beer company: retailor, wholesaler, distributor, and manufacturer. I aboslutely love simulations like this. You get the chance to see — in real time — the effects of business decisions. I didn’t realize this was such a popular simulation, but from the Wikipedia article (linked above), it looks like it’s used throughout business schools and corporate training.
HBS is in a great position to collect large amounts of data every time we run an in-class simulation. Like the Shad Project, 900 datapoints collected across the sections offers room for great analysis (and pretty charts). I’d love to post some of the outcomes of this simulation here, but I’m not sure if it would compromise future instances of the game. Needless to say, the supply chain I was on performed in a “textbook” abysmal fashion.
HBS has a capstone course called “The Manager as Integrator” (TMI). It’s a business-level simulation where you compete against other teams and (hopefully) incorporate principles from all the first year courses. I’m really looking forward to it… games are amazing ways of communicating “sticky” concepts.