Selecting simulations: Concepts over context

April 9, 2024
Selecting simulations: Concepts over context

When selecting a simulation-based management development program, one of the major factors that our clients weigh is the business context of the simulation. Should the simulated business closely mirror your actual business for relevance (close context), or be far removed from your industry’s dynamics for a fresh perspective (remote context)?

The answer depends on the program’s objectives and target audience.

We at enParadigm, from our experience in training nearly 2,000 senior managers, find that both ‘close context’ and ‘remote context’ simulations have their uses. This post provides a framework for you to select the best fit for your needs.

Program objectives

Your program objectives play a vital role in determining the best business context for your simulation program. The closer a simulation is to your business, the easier it is for your managers to relate to it and apply learnings back at work. However, for ideation and strategic big-picture thinking, they need to move out of their comfort zone - an unfamiliar (remote) business context is critical. Simulation based learning often play a crucial role in fostering innovation and strategic thinking within management development programs.

  • Close context simulations are ideal for programs that aim to improve execution
  • Remote context simulations are better suited for programs that focus on innovation or strategic thinking

Target audienceYour target audience is the other important consideration to select the ideal business context for your simulation program. Junior and middle managers, who need more familiarity with your business’ dynamics, might be better suited to work through a close context simulation. Your senior managers, on the other hand, are experts in your industry - and therefore subject to its eccentricities and inherent biases - getting them to reorient themselves to a new and unfamiliar industry is usually a prerequisite for learning:

  • Junior and middle managers prefer close context simulations
  • Senior managers need (and revel in) an unfamiliar, remote context simulation

Thus, both types of simulations have their uses, and how closely your program should mirror your own industry requires a close examination of program objectives as well as its target audience.enParadigm offers both types of simulations, and, should you need assistance picking out the right program, our experts will be happy to help. Contact us

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