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Key Takeaways

Your brief summary of the key points. Continue reading to understand more about business simulations.


What is a Business Simulation



A model of a set of problems that can be used to teach someone how to do something, or the process of making such a model.

“Astronauts are trained using a space flight simulation”

Unfortunately, most of us are not astronauts, so what do simulations in business mean to the rest of us…

What is the meaning of Simulation in Business?

Simulations navigate complex real-world challenges through highly engaging gameplay. Supported by expert facilitation, participants draw on their own experience coupled with industry best practices to solve these business problems. Participants transform existing processes and systems in ways that can be applied in the workplace.

What is an example of simulation in business?

A well-designed business simulation or serious business game provides an opportunity for employees to learn about the business they work in, key concepts within core business functions, how they are interconnected, and how their individual roles all impact business success.

Business simulations are interactive and immersive learning experiences where participants can experience real-world business scenarios to develop an understanding of industry best practices and their application. They allow the participants to bring their own knowledge and experience and provide the opportunity to test their perceptions and responses, while gaining new knowledge and experience to experiment with and test in a safe environment.

Business simulations can be delivered as in-room events or in a virtual format. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. For example, during the global Covid-19 pandemic, there was a pivot away from in-room simulations to the virtual format.

While virtual delivery methods have improved significantly in recent times, our experience over the last 20 years tells us that in-room business simulations deliver higher levels of business value, participant engagement, adoption, and knowledge retention.

Simulations are often used as key components of cultural change programs to help drive business transformation, particularly in large and complex global enterprises.

What are the types of business simulation experience?

The term ‘Business Simulation’ means many different things to many different people. Broadly speaking, simulations in business fall into two main categories: those that are predominately people-centric versus those that are more mathematical, and model-based.


1. Experiential Business Simulations

Participants are tasked with running a business in a simulated environment based around realistic real-world scenarios. The experiential simulation provides an environment where participants can solve problems, identify solutions, and develop reusable real-world skills in a relatable, risk-free environment that creates an interactive and fun experience.

Experiential business simulations are typically used to support business transformation, engagement, and adoption.


1. Discrete Event Simulations

These simulation models allow a business to observe specific events that contribute to the development of new or improved business processes.

2. Risk Analysis Simulations

These solutions are designed to create scenarios for risk analysis. They can be particularly useful to organizations that are embarking on large-scale project implementations that are both complex and require changes to technology systems or processes.

3. Process Simulations

Process simulations are designed to model interactions between multiple systems. They attempt to use advanced mathematical modeling to analyze data, such as sales performance and forecasting data, to drive process improvement.

What are the three types of business simulation?

In the context of people-centric business simulations, there are three main types:

1. In-Room Simulations (Synchronous)

A real-time, facilitator-led event that takes place with a group of participants at a physical location. These events are highly immersive and collaborative and provide participants with the opportunity to receive feedback from an expert facilitator with real-world industry experience.

These simulations have a long track record of driving business value, adoption, and knowledge retention. Furthermore, as team-building events, they can be used to bring co-located or disparate teams together, break down silos, and enhance integration.

2. Virtual Simulations (Synchronous)

A real-time, facilitator-led event that takes place with a group of participants online. The use of virtual simulation has increased in recent years with the advent of home-working. These events can be easier to deploy and an effective modality for individual learning. However, their efficacy in driving true transformation is hindered by the limited opportunities they provide participants for team working, collaborative ideation, and immersion.

3. Virtual Simulations (Asynchronous)

These simulations allow participants to access content at times suitable to them in a single-player capacity. Single-player simulations can offer an inexpensive and flexible solution in an individual learning context, but fail to capitalize on key simulation dynamics, such as team building, expert facilitation, and peer feedback.

What are the advantages of simulation in business?

Business simulations deliver high levels of value when integrated into cultural change programs and business and digital transformation initiatives. They serve as an innovative and powerful way of increasing awareness, driving engagement and adoption, enhancing knowledge retention, and promoting collaboration between employees at all levels.

Simulations are most effective in to driving business value and consumer experiences through collaborative team-building and problem-solving.

Specific advantages of using simulations in business include:

Replicating real-life experiences within a safe and engaging environment

Simulations should be designed to mirror relatable business challenges and provide participants with an experience that mimics the real-world journey from the current to future state vision.

Breaking down organizational silos

Simulations work best when they bring participants together to form cross-functional teams and enable them to collaboratively design integrated processes, systems, and ways of working that drive successful business outcomes.

Experience a complex transformational journey that parallels real-world challenges

True transformation is complex and hard! Simulations allow participants to experience a relatable, multi-stage journey giving them a 30,000ft view of the entire landscape and to experience how the future state could look and feel.

Generate excitement and engagement and produce demonstrable mindset changes

One of the best ways to secure buy-in is to engage stakeholders in the design process. Simulations enable participants to identify, develop, and implement business solutions in a safe environment. With a little guidance from a skilled facilitator, these light-bulb moments will align with best practices and the desired business outcomes.

Bridge the gap between best practice awareness and knowledge and its practical application

Through expert facilitation, participants will apply their existing knowledge and experience with new practices, concepts, and ways of working in a practical and measurable (quantitative and qualitative) way.


In summary, business simulations navigate complex real-world challenges through engaging gameplay, typically supported by an industry expert facilitator, and are often used as key components of cultural change programs to help drive business transformation, particularly in large and complex global enterprises.

Business simulations can be used as part of other change management transformation tactics and strategies to help raise awareness, increase engagement, enhance knowledge retention, and to drive adoption in a new, engaging, and innovative way.

Is your organization currently trying to drive transformation, and are you facing challenges in driving engagement and buy-in for business-critical initiatives? If so, there is likely to be significant value in exploring whether an existing, or tailored, simulation event can support your people through the change journey.

About Simplayfi

At Simplayfi, we have over 15 years of experience supporting large complex organizations globally in leveraging experiential business simulations to engage their teams and drive cultural change and business transformation.

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Email us to book a 30-minute free consultation with one of our industry experts to discuss your specific challenges and explore potential business simulation solutions that may support your current initiatives.

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