Developing Custom Business Simulations

Article by Scott Thompson, 14 Sep 2021

We offer a portfolio of Business Simulations ‘off the shelf’ that cover a wide range of Leadership and Management topics however sometimes our Clients ask us for a custom Business Simulation.

Building a Business Simulation from scratch is a sizable undertaking and usually takes around 6 months to complete.

Our development technique follows an 8 step process from scope to delivery.

  1. Scope - What are the key learning objectives that the Simulation must address? At this first stage our Learning, Development and Design Team will be involved.
  2. Programme Design - How should the Simulation be delivered and packaged? The Simulation is a learning tool that should be used as part of a wider programme of learning. Our Learning Team works closely with the Client’s L&D department to ensure the Simulation and Programme it supports fit.
  3. Business Logic Design - What are the inputs and outputs that drive this Simulation and what effect should they have? Our Development Team will write logic unique to each custom Simulation.
  4. Presentation Design - How should the Simulation be presented to the Users. Our Design Team will sit down with the Client and compose a User Interface (UI) that gathers inputs and presents outputs in an intuitive manner.
  5. Document Design - A big part of our learning methodology involves digesting and responding to information from supporting documentation. A credible set of documents making up the “back story” and news updates will make the Simulation experience more immersive but takes time and skill to author. Our Learning and Design Team will work together to provide engaging and well presented custom documentation.
  6. Testing - An often underrated part of any design/development project. We know from experience that it is very unlikely the first iteration of the Simulation will be the final one. Through user testing and pilot sessions the Simulation will be put through its paces and benchmarked against the learning objectives defined in the Scope.
  7. Design Iteration - Programme, Business Logic, Presentation and Document Design will be refined and retested.
  8. Training - Typically with a made-to-measure Business Simulation the client will want their L&D Team to deliver the Simulation. Our Learning Team will provide ‘Train the Trainer’ (TTT) sessions so that the delivery can be handed over to the Client’s inhouse Team.

8 steps to Business Simulation Design

6 months may seem like a long time to deliver a Tailor-Made Business Simulation from scratch but as you can see the process is intensive and there are no shortcuts if you want to deliver an immersive learning experience that challenges and engages the Leaders within your organization.

Foundation Simulations

If you are looking for a shorter time to market (and less costly approach) there is however another option - Building a custom Simulation on top of one of our Foundation Sims. We have 3 that support Project Management (SPREAD), Situational Judgement (DECIDE) and Business Strategy Simulations (DILEMMA).

A Foundation Simulation is a starting point that accelerates the custom Sim development process by allowing our Clients to take advantage of predefined generalised logic and functionality designed with a certain Leadership Topic in mind, e.g. Project Management.

While Foundation Simulations offer less flexibility in terms of custom logic and presentation this hybrid approach still provides plenty of options to make a completely unique Simulation in a fraction of the time.


If you would like to talk to our Team about a Tailored Business Simulation or one of our Foundation Simulations please contact us.

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More about Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

Scott is an keen advocate for technology in learning and, as Technology Director at Business Simulations Ltd, is responsible for overseeing the archiecture, design and development of all our platforms.

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