Process Simulation

Articles and opinions

Articles and opinions


Test and prepare yourself for the market entry by means of a Market Entry Simulation 

By Kristofer Erlandsson

What is a Market Entry Simulation?

It is a simulation of the entry process the company is facing. The responsible team and people will be confronted with and have to manage a number of critical situations, factors and challenges related to this process.

Is it a computer game?

No, we see an added value in training the relevant process actors together. In an individual situation. you miss the group dynamics. Clashes between different attitudes and behaviors due to cultural and other factors are also easier to illustrate in a meeting between living people. And since we so far mostly create the simulations one off for each particular customer computerized simulations does not make sense economically either. 

How do you know what the critical factors are?

The information on the critical factors in general and country- and branch specific factors we get from our extensive databank and global network as well as from the customer. On this basis we create scenarios, synopsis and instructions for a realistic and relevant simulation exercise. We supervise the carrying out of the simulation and lead the very important reflection to secure most possible learning.

Why not just lecture the clients or give them a report on what they have to think of?

Information you hear and read you forget or interpret using your mental filters or "spectacles". But what you experience you rarely forget. This is learning by doing, the most efficient training method. Our motto is: We don't teach but you'll learn! And it gives other bonuses!

Which, tell me?

The exercise is a team building activity in itself and will help you make the team more operational. Many international M&As fail to deliver the benefits due to clashes in management cultures. Mixed management groups are rarely operational from the start or never get going due to internal fighting. And if you consider cooperating with other companies locally and public institutions you will encounter yet another set of problem of different management and political cultures. 

What clients would benefit from this kind of exercise?

We believe that any company regardless of size and branch benefits if they are about to step into a new market. It always boils down to a limited number of people in a group that have do the hard work. We offer these groups a facility to test the strategy and improve the group's ability to cope with the challenges they will meet. To make the inevitable learning process shorter and cheaper by doing the costly mistakes in the simulation instead of in real life.

What is the future of our society: democracy or technocracy? 

By Alina Landowska

Yesterday The World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution published an article on Operating System for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The very first sentence is symptomatic: „Society’s operating system needs an upgrade.” Repeating further that what we need is „to think and act quickly”, does not raise optimism. What’s the hurry? And are we already a technocracy?

Most explanations of democracy’s problems focus on the challenges it faces. Listing them again is simply boring. Indeed, we need a change. To tackle the problem we need to get to the cause rather than the symptoms. We can’t fix a problem through doing what we did to cause that problem. We won't manage problems of the lack of food provision or a global warming with the methods of our current socio-economic system. We need to look at an alternative way of doing things - not only upgrade the existing system. Does an alternative way mean a technocratic way when our society will be controlled by an elite of technical experts?

The consequences of (economic, social, technological) globalization at national development must be challenging. Especially, technology development at global scale creates interconnected and interdependent world. Thus a national policy-making seems to be more and more difficult to respond. Who will we empower to make critical decisions about who can access vital opportunities. Is increased reliance on expertise in policy-making good or bad for democracy? Hopefully, the new operating system, as the WEF suggests, will not be designed as a protected umbrella for technical experts, free from direct democratic pressures.

Not technology itself solves human problems. What about anthropology?

By Alina Landowska

Unsurprisingly many practitioners work with academics. Depends on geographical location. No need to explain why. But working with humanists, in particular with anthropologists, seems to be unpopular. Luckily not for all. Anthropology and business have quite a long history of working together (if we can say so after 20 years of coomon experience that some call it the misalliance). Anthropologists became a valued consultants, researchers, analysts and managers in the biggest corporate giants, e.g. Apple, Boeing, Hallmark, Intel, Kodak, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, Walt Disney and many others. As Robert G. Tian, Alfons van Marrewijk and Michael P. Lillis presents in interesting way in General Business Anthropology (2010). 

Business or industrial anthropology, sometimes identified as applied anthropology, is everywhere. You do not believe it, check it out. As usually the problem is linked to correct interpretation of the definition. Making things simpler, I will refer to the American Anthropology Association which states that anthropology is nothing else but: “the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, anthropology draws and builds upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences”. An applied anthropology focuses on three main fields of operation: 1. research on the process of producing goods/services, as well as on the organizations in which production is carried out; 2. marketing research and consumer behaviour on the markets; 3. activities related to knowledge management, intercultural communication and designing new products/services/systems.

If so, how great results you may expect? Marketing adopted number of ethnographic techniques (e.g. participant observation, in-depth interviews, filming, and mystery shopper). Let me just give you a few most known examples. David Howles based on historical data concluded sensual preference of consumers in his book on A Cultural History of the Senses in the modern Age (2014). He was able to identify what emotional consumers’ prefer to buy, i.e. which aroma attracts consumers from a certain culture. Sensory, actually a multi-sensory, branding is a top issue in marketing currently. Other anthropologists, Werner Sperschneider and Kristen Bagger, developed a methodology called design-in-context while they were working for Danfoss A/S. Lucy Schuman, Professor of Anthropology of Science and Technology, before coming to Lancaster, was working for many years at Xerox. Her book on Human-Machine Reconfiguration: Plans and situated actions (2nd edition published in 2007; 1st edition was published in 1987), have changed norms for design of interactive systems (human-computer interactions, HCI). Nowadays, there are more and more interesting case stories like these.

For many years, quantitative research has been more appreciated then quality research. Finally quality matters, also in research. Ethnographic fieldworks have changed. Also ethnographer should seek to understand the world as such, here and now. The challenges remain making anthropology a factor of economic development. An opportunities just arise and are waiting behind the corner for both sides, anthropology and business, as you can read in the latest post on Business is Booming for Business Anthropology published by Robert J. Morais and Elizabeth K. Briody on the American Anthropological Association website. 

Hopefully you agree now that anthropology matters more than you have previously thought.

Process simulation

By Kristofer Erlandsson

Simulation is one of the most powerful pedagogical methods used to train and develop the skill proficiency of an individual, group or organisation. The technique has long been in use by the military for wartime preparation and crisis situations; but we have adapted it for civilian use. Thus making it an exemplary method for Executive education and to train work groups. In simulated decision-making situations, the participants must solve “day-to-day” problems, as they would face them in reality.

The participants’ experiences greatly influence their perspectives and give a deeper understanding as to what the demands posed by a rapidly changing ‘’environment’’ can require of them. With the simulation, the participant’s theoretical knowledge, problem-solving ability and cooperative skills are trained. In addition, they learn from their mistakes thus strengthening the impact of the learning experience.

Depending on the kind of challenges facing the organisation, we identify together with the client which process will be simulated. Together, we analyse the characteristics of the process, the critical situations and the strategic options that will be emphasised. On this basis, we construct a simulation model that departs from its “real-life” scenario.

The simulation begins with a scenario that introduces the participants to the simulation process with “day-to-day” critical problem-solving situations that they may encounter in their realistic situations. By letting the participants ‘’live’’ with their decisions through different stages of the process, the simulation becomes dynamic and can bring about varying results. Depending on the background experiences and the personalities of the participants, they can “play” different roles in each stage and they should execute all instructions and tasks to be solved in either a group or individually. Special emphasis is placed on conflicting goals and ethical dilemmas.

Chance is not the decisive factor in the results. Since a process simulation consists of a controlled chain of reality-based learning situations and is not a game based on chance, the results are traced back to the preceding decisions and actions made by the participants under the simulation. Thus providing the evidence to be evaluated.

The learning process is reinforced through feedback discussions in which all actions and decisions made by the participants are analysed in depth such that the participants can draw their own conclusions. Feedback and evaluating the input during the simulation can often give the “aha, I see” experience and increased self-awareness. One gains a deeper insight into the specific details in a series of events, including the reactions and reflections of others in one’s environment. The “spin-off- effect” is one of strengthened cooperation within the group.

In simulation models and the programs we develop, we want to ensure that they live up to the following pedagogical standards in order to attain its full pedagogical value.

• The participants shall be informed well in advance as to what will be expected of them so that they are well-prepared when the simulations starts.

• Participants will not have the possibility to distance themselves from the simulated course of events, so as to prevent them from drawing the conclusions necessary for learning. This particular problem is avoided by choosing a relevant series of events, and its overall realism.

• The simulation is realistic in such a way that the course of events will include details such as documentation, specific concepts and situations.

• The realism increases and the simulation becomes a more dynamic and engaging learning process for the participants when the participant has to learn to “live with” their final decision throughout the simulated process.

• The simulation must be of particular relevance to the participants. Their need for training is reflected in the strategic dilemmas they confront in simulation, thus giving insight into where there will be need for improvement.

• The exercises given to participants to solve, must be possible to solve with their own knowledge although with background assistance from the simulation leader.

• We must have the opportunity before each course begins to judge each participant’s ability and personal qualifications or prerequisites in order to handle different roles and assignments in the simulation.

• The simulation is not to be treated nor understood at any time, to be a game and to not be taken seriously.

• In a simulation, the development of the course of events will be traceable to the actions and decisions of the participants.

• The program will take place so long as the participant has an opportunity to mentally prepare for the simulated reality and until a sufficient number of steps in the simulated process have “played out”. The experience must take place for no less than 12 hours and preferably over 18 hours.

• A simulation program to be carried out several times should be tested as a prototype before its final use.