We continue to develop and rollout our new web-based simulations here at Harvard Business Publishing (recently the name changed from Harvard Business School Publishing). I already posted a writeup on our pricing simulation so today I'd like to give some info on our second simulation, a leadership & teams simulation called Everest. As with all of our sims, this one is designed primarily for business school students but can also be used with undergraduates, executive education, etc. Unlike the pricing simulation, this simulation is team-based.
I'll use the same format here that we used for the pricing sim, so first a quick recap on the product line. These simulations are meant to be topical in nature within a single discipline so that faculty might use them to focus learning on some key objectives. They are also designed to be extremely usable from both the user and administrator perspectives. More information on our our thoughts about simulation design and effectiveness can be found elsewhere on this blog -- click on the "simulations and games" category on the home page.
Development Model & Simulation Authors
The development model includes a three-pronged approach:
- Our HB Publishing product development team serves as the product authority and contributes project management and product line design.
- Our simulation partners at Forio Business Simulations provide their Broadcast simulation platform (a feature-rich, web-based platform) as well as system dynamics modeling and business consulting experience.
- HB Publishing selects faculty authors to serve as subject matter experts and content authorities.
We couldn't be happier with our authors for this simulation. We worked with two professors distinguished for their work in this area: Michael Roberto of Bryant University and Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School. These are two of the authors who created the Columbia's Final Mission multimedia case for Harvard Business School, itself a very popular team dynamics and organizational decision-making learning tool.
The following is taken from the Facilitator's Guide for the simulation:
This multimedia multi-user simulation presents a series of problem-solving and decision-making challenges to student teams in the classroom. The simulation story line involves a challenging expedition toward the summit of Mt. Everest, and the teaching goals pertain to leading effective team decision-making processes. Students begin the journey by logging in to assume five different roles on an assigned team. Each participant is given resources and information that his or her team must process effectively to make a series of critical decisions about the timing and execution of hiking along successive camps in its ascent to the summit.
...In each round of play, participants can assess their information and process it as they choose. Teams then can discuss, share, process, and analyze the information about health, weather, resources, and other factors delivered to their screens. Then, team members must decide whether to try to hike to the next higher camp.
This simulation is designed to provide an engaging, experiential learning environment for students. The basic architecture includes:
- a Prepare section which is used once and optionally referred to later by players (and players can be restricted to this section only until an administrator ‘opens’ the full simulation to students);
- an Analyze section that provides users with current information that they must peruse in order to make effective decisions;
- and a Decide section where players enter those decisions for processing by the simulation.
This turn-based simulation then processes decision input data and adjusts the environment accordingly so players can assess the changes before making additional decisions.
Features & Learning Objectives
The Everest Simulation includes the following features:
- The simulation is team-based with each team of mountaineers requiring 5 users to play. However, if the class is not divisible by 5 then multiple Observer roles can be assigned to one or more teams allowing extra students to still participate and offer valuable post-play observations during debrief.
- Students prepare once (with how-to, summary, and scenario-specific information); then each round of play requires the decision of whether to hike to the next camp, stay at the current camp, or descend (which you might elect for health reasons, etc).
- The Prepare section includes an engaging introductory video with insights from a real mountaineer (see below for link to video).
- Team members are able to chat with one another via built-in chat functionality, and administrators are able to send chat messages to entire teams.
- The simulation may either be run where each individual team leader chooses when to enter decisions and advance to the next round, or where a faculty member chooses to advance rounds for all teams at once.
And the following learning objectives are achieved:
- To learn about how to build, participate in, and lead teams more effectively.
- To learn how teams can solve problems and make decisions more effectively in difficult situations when members have different information and opposing interests.
- To examine how teams can improve the way that they make decisions.
- To explore how different leadership approaches can affect team performance in situations with time and competitive pressures.
- To examine how teams and their leaders deal with potential tradeoffs between short-term task completion and longer-term team effectiveness.
- To examine how cognitive biases impair decision making.
Educators can sample the simulation as detailed below. Some access is only provided to qualified educators and trainers who contact HBSP Customer Service as noted. The full Facilitator's Guide with Teaching Note is available to qualified educators and trainers.
- This short simulation overview video explains the simulation from the student’s perspective. It uses voice-over and animated screenshots to step users through the simulation.
- This Everest Experience video features an interview with a mountaineer discussing the challenge of climbing Mount Everest and sets the tone for students playing the simulation.
Student Experience Login
- To experience the simulation playing each of the five roles, log in to the above URL using any of the following (the password and login ID are the same):
- leader/leader | physician/physician | photographer/photographer
marathoner/marathoner | environmentalist/environmentalist
- leader/leader | physician/physician | photographer/photographer
- This will place you into Round 3 of a sample simulation where you can navigate the Prepare, Analyze, and Decide tabs. Note that you will not be able to submit a decision or advance to the next round.
- To experience the simulation as an administrator, contact HBSP Customer Service.
Contact HBSP Customer Service at 1-800-545-7685 (outside the U.S. and Canada, 1-617-783-7600)
to purchase or request educator access to the simulation: Everest Leadership & Teams simulation #2650