Although for some the COVID lockdown has created feelings of isolation and disconnect, it has provided the Team Entrepreneurship (TE) students at Bishop Grosseteste University the opportunity to trial world-class simulation software that allows remotely and virtually 'run' an entire company.
The software, called ‘Evolution’ allows participants to 'take over' a virtual company which has a trading history, product in development, staff and premises. As its new managers, they must use all of the information available to them in order to make decisions that affect staff, buildings, raw materials, sales and ultimately profitability, running the company over a number of virtual years. As in real life, all decisions impact on profitability and bad decision can have an adverse effect.
Senior Lecturer Chris Jackson discusses how the software, created by a York based company called Simventure, became an invaluable tool on the course:
"I had come across their product online while researching materials for both the TE course and the new MSc International Business and noticed that it's used globally by some big business schools. I wanted to know more, so I just picked up the phone and struck up a conversation with the company. It turns out that their CEO and I share similar backgrounds and are pretty passionate about entrepreneurship. The programme seems a perfect fit for the MSc, where we'll now be using it as the backbone of one module."
"With the continuation of lockdown after Christmas, we realised that there was a possibility that Team Entrepreneurship students could struggle to create the learning experiences needed for them to be able to complete assignments - the Evolution programme seemed to be a perfect compromise, and we'll be introducing this to our learners in the next few weeks.".
"We want to keep our students' learning as real as possible while encouraging them to try new strategies and tactics. Of course, things may go wrong, but then unlike real life, Evolution has 'pause' and 'rewind' features!"
Alongside this, students are currently testing their business thinking and planning capabilities by using another online tool called Validate. Not only can this be accessed remotely, but it encourages learners to share their work with their peers and with supervisors. It doesn’t take students long to realise that the answers that they are looking for are neither in their heads of in text books - by gamifying their learning they are challenged to take their thinking outside of the classroom.
Unlike many traditional models of venture creation, Validate also features sustainability in the initial stages and challenges the learner to map their thinking to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Now also introduced as an integral part of future business courses, this is another way in which BGU can combine ethical and sustainable thinking in our programmes.
If you'd be interested in experiencing a 'virtual' business experience for your students or staff, you can contact Chris Jackson at email@example.com.
Image credit (©Simventure)