Mahesh Joshi, GMU School of Business – Business education today requires an approach towards teaching that enhances the problem-solving and decision-making skills of students. These skills are hard to provide through lectures and traditional pedagogy, specifically in a strategy management course. Traditional methods of teaching that use lectures and case-based study provide a partial learning experience especially in an exceedingly practical subject like strategy management (for a detailed discussion. Experiential learning methods and simulations can be a complement to traditional teaching methods, especially in the field of strategic management.
Simulation games engage students and allow them to have a realistic interaction involving strategic decision making, problem solving and implementation of their theoretical knowledge. However, most of the time, simulations lead to a linear pathway rather than a dynamic interplay as the software responds to decisions taken by players in a linear pre-decided manner dictated by the logic programmed into the simulator. Also, the decision making is primarily focused on analysis and logic in a simulation and the critical role of an institutive gut feel practiced by most General Managers is missing.
Given these limitations of a standard simulation game, “BiggieBills” the interactive strategy board game was invented in 2016 and received a patent from USPTO in December 2019. This game uses a dynamic (not static) framework to ensure that decisions of one team impact those of its competitors. The objective was to provide yet another option for students to use their theoretical knowledge on strategy management in a close to real life situation to increase student learning.
This is game is played four teams of two to six players using four different cards: Growth Cards- allow players’ entity to grow if it suffices given criteria, Challenge cards- allow teams to challenge competitors’ actions and enhance player interactions, Industry Conditions- provide changes in business environment to which teams must adapt, and, Bonus Cards- provide bonus opportunities with which teams can challenge their opponents or defend against a competitor’s challenge card. Each team is responsible for a business entity with a pre-determined amount of bank balance.
Of course, the critical aspect of any educational game is the efficacy. From its early development time, the beta testing involved efficacy of the game through a reflective exercise by students at the end of the semester. Results will be discussed in the session.