CONSORTIUM Business Simulation: An Experiential Masterclass on Collaboration

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated April 2022

Frustrating conversations with customers!

Customer: “Have you got a Simulation on Collaboration?”

BSL: “We have a number of Simulations which include major aspects of Collaboration?”

Customer: “Great - but have you got a Simulation that’s all about Collaboration?”

BSL: “Er… No - not really!”

We have had rather a lot of these conversations in the last 2 years.

To be honest they left us a bit confused and wondering if we were missing a trick? 

So, we did a bit of research in the market using our well-regarded 6-Level model of Collaboration (see below).

The results were startling – most leaders are only operating at the three lowest levels of Collaboration and are missing major opportunities for their organizations and teams. 

That might explain why customers are asking these questions!

6 Levels of Collaboration

Designing a great Collaboration Simulation is a really tricky!

Armed with this information, we ran some internal design sessions on what a “Total Collaboration” Simulation might look like. They did not go well. The first design was too complicated so we threw it away. The second design was too industry specific and would need customised every time – we threw that one away too. 

Goldilocks and the porridge came to mind! 

This one is too complicated, this one is too specific – can we find a design that’s “just right”.

However, they say third time lucky and in our third (and probably final) attempt to design something we got lucky and came up with a Simulation design which we felt was sufficiently generic, simple and flexible to achieve the goals. CONSORTIUM was born!

We needed a scenario which would give participants the opportunity to experience all 6 levels of the Collaboration Model. To achieve this it would be necessary to create a situation of mutual dependency between the different teams playing the Simulation so that “if one fails all fail!”. We also wanted to place the customer at the very centre of things thus allowing participants the opportunity to negotiate and collaborate with the customer as well as the other teams. 


In the CONSORTIUM Business Simulation Game each Team (of up to 6 teams) are an artisan coffee roaster with unique coffees and production capacities.

As well as being competitors to each other, the roasters have been trying to work together as a loose consortium and have just won their first contract. 

This contract is with a major food retailer who want to create an artisan coffee selection box with one pack of each roasters distinctive coffee all nicely branded in the retailer’s colours. 

The roasters have been given a test project to see if they can deliver, brand and package a significant number of selection boxes over a 4-week period with the promise that IF they can deliver on time, on volume and on quality then a major national contract will follow!

For more information

The CONSORTIUM Business Simulation is now live!

Please contact us if you would like to receive a full information pack. 

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More about Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Founder of Business Simulations Ltd.

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