Global Quality Leader expands capabilities using Gamified Team Simulation for Global go to market launch

Case Study by Ken Thompson

Background to the customer

SQS (now Expleo) are the world’s leading quality assurance specialist, with thousands of staff globally, providing expert guidance in quality improvement strategies that deliver exceptional business results.

Customer Needs

At the end of 2017, SQS announced an ambitious plan to extend their enviable reputation in world class software quality and testing into the fields of Management Consulting, Business Agility and Digital Transformation. The new plan was to be launched with regional leadership teams at the annual SQS leadership conference in the beautiful Italian resort of Baveno in an intensive 3-day programme.

SQS Global head of Business Agility and Innovation and Strategy expert, Craig Thielen, took the lead in designing and running the conference and quickly lined up top speakers, industry thought-leaders and strategic customers – creating a 360-degree experience. Craig also identified that the final piece in the conference jigsaw should be a team simulation to tie everything together in an engaging, educational, fun and memorable way.

The Solution

The conference design was signed-off and agreed just before Christmas, but time was now very short for the simulation with the conference scheduled for mid-February!

Craig contacted Ken Thompson at to quickly establish whether it was still possible to provide a custom simulation which could be used at the conference to reinforce engagement on the new plan.

Fortunately, Ken was able to offer Craig the SPREAD simulation platform – a fully configurable web-based business planning simulation which would allow the modelling of all the “go to market” activities which would be needed for successfully executing the plan.

The requirement was also for 12 teams to be able run the simulation simultaneously and competitively over four 1-hour rounds at key points during the conference. 

The SQS2018 simulation went live on St Valentine’s day at the opening session of the leadership conference – just 1 month after Ken and Craig held their first simulation design meeting in the SQS offices in Moorgate, London!  

The screenshot below shows how each team could select a maximum of 4 activities each month for 12 months with the objective of building awareness and engagement in the market leading to new paying customers for the new SQS Management Consulting, Business Agility and Digital Transformation services.

Image - Main Team Simulation Screen

The impact of each of 30 possible activities was defined in a comprehensive handbook given to each of the 12 teams. Each activity could potentially affect one or more of the following key market indicators:

• Readiness to Go to Market

• Engagement with key Market Influencers

• Mitigation against identified Market Risks

• Direct Market Engagement Activities

Four rounds of the simulation were played, each round each representing a business quarter where 3 months decisions had to be made by each team.

Every round each team also had to plan for and conduct a short sales interview with a senior executive from a prospective customer.  Each team's interview was scored by the executive and entered into the sim. This score affected each team’s sales performance - great interviews increased a team's sales in the next month (just like the real world!)

At the end of each quarter all the teams’ results were revealed on an Olympic-Style Leaderboard showing exactly how each team was performing against key indicators of success. At the start of each quarter important new market updates were released which impacted the next quarter’s market for each team. After the last quarter’s run of the simulation the final leaderboard was revealed in dramatic fashion to the whole group. 

Image - Final Team Leaderboard

The post simulation analytics highlighted some exceptional team performances (see the magic quadrant teams below – top right). More importantly however it also revealed that every single team had collaborated to achieve and, in most cases, exceed the minimum sales targets which had been set by the SQS CEO, Dik Vos, at the start of the simulation.

Image - Team Performance Analysis Screen

Figure - SQS Teams working on the simulation

Overall Conclusions & Value

“BSL’s methodology and supporting technology simulation has come at a pivotal time for SQS in terms of transforming of our go to market messaging and evolving sales team maturity.  The sessions proved to be highly interactive with a splash of great fun thrown in for good measure. Ken is an excellent facilitator and feedback from our teams has been unanimously positive.”

Rob McConnell, Global Head SQS Digital Labs

“Ken and his gamified learning system were the perfect combination for our event.  We believe deeply in the 70/20/10 learning model yet designing a simulation for over 80 participants in a short timeframe takes an enormous effort.  Ken is a real pro and his system is proven.  The magic however was his ability to tailor it to our environment and specific objectives.  The result was a lively, engaging, challenging but well-rounded experiential learning experience that got rave reviews and more importantly, provided the experience to take our organization quickly from learning to a change in behaviour and ultimately results.”

Craig Thielen, Global Head SQS Business Agility

For more information

SPREAD is a powerful Adoption Model Simulation Platform which can be configured and customised to represent any kind of internally or externally-facing programme such as large-scale change roll-out, new business/product/service launch, new strategy implementation. SPREAD, COHORT (Stakeholder Change) and CHAPTER (Team Change) are a powerful portfolio trilogy of learning simulations covering all the main Change Management scenarios.

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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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