There are two fundamentally different approaches to looking at developing ‘business understanding’ using a business game.

Thinking inside the box: You can get a Hosted ELK service and develop a personalized model of the business. Consultants come in and ask a battery of questions about the company, the industry, what drives the results, where the current problems are, what senior management would like to see in terms of learning and changes in behavior and improved metrics, and more; and then they prepare a finely detailed (and hopefully accurate) model that will ask all the questions, and provide all the answers.

This gives little room for creative decision-making, but you do have organizational alignment.

Thinking outside the box: The alternative is to work with a more generalized model. If it is a good tool, the simulation will model the fundamental dynamics of the industry (cost structure; the nature of competition; constraints on expansion) as well as the fundamental aspects of business (managing separately for both cash flow and profit; strategic positioning); and it will probably teach the essential financial statements (P&L or Income Statement, and Balance Sheet). It should allow participants an open-ended decision-making experience where they find their own way. It will NOT present a ‘correct’ response to these problems, but will offer various strategic directions, any of which could be successful so long as it is managed well by the team… and any of which will fail if it is managed badly.

From this you will have people who may not have the same questions and answers as the management; but they will better understand management decisions. They will also generate a wide range of creative responses and be better decision-makers themselves.


Income/Outcome business simulations are very clearly “Outside the Box” solutions. We rarely incorporate specific situations or problems in our finance training games (though it does sometimes happen). We focus on big-picture learning that breaks down the silos, and can be applied when the situation changes suddenly and unexpectedly.

In our workshops, managers (and other learners) are encouraged to think through the basic challenges of business… there are no ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ answers to strategic problems, only opportunities and threats that are constantly arising in a changing industry and marketplace.