... where visionaries, game changers, and challengers discuss business models
After I finished the Business Model Generation I had an idea: Why not creating a board game for visionaries, game changers, entrepeneurs and whoever likes to create some business idea in a fun way?
I am a board game passionate especially in the more sophisticated, strategic sector. I had the idea long ago to create a game where managerial decisions are reflected in a board game in order to show managers how their decisions impact the company as well as the lives of their employees. Unfortunately it never saw light.
But now I am thinking about creating a game with certain mechanisms where players create their business models in a fictional/abstract market. The business models can then tap to some pre-defined market streams (which generate revenue streams) and compete with each other.
The idea is to generate an environment where business model can be tested and competed where the player can decide if the want to tap on or more market streams or tap another players business model creating a b2b supply chain. This game can be played at home, in meetings as well as in workshops with discussion rounds afterwards. The key is to design mechanisms which allow for a huge amount of iterations but also standardization in order to pour the concept into a board game which shall be educating and fun.
The whole idea is still in its ideation phase but I'd like to check if people are interested in joining this project. Everyone is welcome to be a part of this. Looking forward for feedback.
CU at the gaming table
Quinn... Interesting. Are you thinking about a digital game? My initial thought was to create something tangible lieke a real boardgame with cards and so on. But a digital version is also possible.
It will still need some time to develop a plan as I am currently moving to another apartment but I will work something out.
We could start with a BMC for this project
So we had the same idea! Well I think a board game can be easily used in strategic day as you mention it what resembles my initial thought of usage. The idea I had so far was as you say a BMC. Each player has a BMC and that there are generic building blocks for the BMC. Maybe resembled by cards or tokens. Depending on how you build the BMC you gain access to one or several market streams (e.g. mass consumer markets resembling low revenue per sold item but lots of customers. You will have to maximize your cost structure to get the most out of the stream. But there is easy competition so the overall revenue generated by that stream is easily challenged by other players who tap that stream) I'd like to have the system generic without the definition which product or service is created but focus on the overall thinking and procedures that drive business models. What I'd also like to include is the possibility for the players to either tap the market streams (5 different mechanics) or to try and become a key partner for other players effectivly maximizing the cost structures and sharing the market revenues from B2C markets. Enabling to build a Supply Chain. Maybe we can schedule a skype call someday.
I will discuss with a friend of mine who is an economics student and also a procurement manager like me to join the discussion. He is also a board game geek like myself. Additionally I am currently in a local network group in Graz where this project may find some attention.
I think that such a game needs a lot of brain power but is definitely rewarding.
Similar framework for generating and stimulating thinking and continuous interaction can be applied from the book " GameStorming" by Dave Gray
Thank you for the suggestion Karl, I will give it a shot on my reading list.
So well! I had some beers tonight and a nice brainstorming discussion session with my friend.
I now get some sort of basic concept relaized in my mind.
What do you think (it's very abstract and reduced to the basics for a purpose)
Goal of the Game:
Each player represents an entrepeneur building his/her own Business Model using the canvas and trying to maximize the different Models to gain profit (I have no idea how to include NGO's so far)
The game consists of several rounds divided into several (for now 4) phases:
1. Design Phase (Business Models are generated)
2. Revenues (Generating Revenues from Market Streams)
3. Payment (Paying the costs from the Revenues based on your Cost Structure leaving the profit)
4. Market Dynamics/Analysis (According to still to be developed mechanism the Markets change reflecting business activity)
1. Design Phase (the existing Model can be altered to improve efficiency or penetrate new markets or reshape strategy at all)
2., 3., 4. , and so on.
The canvas is used by each player as gaming area. The players choose several generic building blocks and place them on the canvas as needed. e.g. Building block "store" can be placed in Distribution channel, needs to be placed in Key partnerships representing partner stores or Key ressources representing the ownership of the stores. The store needs also to be placed in Cost Structure representing the costs involved to maintain a store.) Those building blocks form each players model and depending on their combination they create some sort of algorithm or equation which results in two figures. 1. Market Share or Value 2. Costs. Additionally the structure of the Models allow the player to get access to the different Market Streams.
Based on the Market Share Values and the Market Streams access revenues are generated/taken from the Market Streams. The overall buying power of each Market Stream is predetermined before starting the design phase reflecting Market analysis and research.
Players are also competing on the different Market Streams at it is assumed that each player is in the same industry.
The Market consists of 2 basic portions B2C (resulting in two Market Streams mass consumer and niche consumer) which is predetermined and changing and B2B which is determined by the players decisions (e.g. Player A is targeting for the mass consumer stream but has a high cost structure, Player B decides in the next Design phase to put Player A in his Customer Segment and focussing on serving the Player A who is then allowed to put Player B in his Key Partnership section resulting in a Supply Chain. From then on Player A is in B2C market with maybe better cost structures and Player B in the B2B market gaining his Revenues directly from Player A)
Depending on the Cost Structure and overall Model the cost value is calculated and deducted from the revenues leaving each player with their profits (which can also be viewed as Victory Points)
Based on the overall result of the revenue phase the markets are changed (e.g. mass consumer had a buying power of 10 gets a shift to 8 for the next round reflecting a recession) Player must then react to the new situation in adapting their business model. The mechanic behind the market dynamic is still unclear. I have now two alleys in mind: a) coincidental by e.g. dice or card drawing or b) by a certain mechanic which reflects the prior actions of the players and how they perform in each market. This mechanic will result in a more complex game I fear so I am not sure right now if it is worth to pursue.
The Mass consumer market is reflecting standardized products. The niche market is representing several smaller markets (e.g. luxury, customized, special,...) Still not sure yet. But I think that the each niche will get some sort of accessibility and different buying power based on the difficulty to penetrate the markets.
I hope the overall concept is clear and would highly appreciate any feedback and inputs.
What do you think?
I was just wondering what the "objective" of the game would be. I think this would be crucial in developing the game as I can imagine that this would influence how to go about.
1. If the objective is to have people understand the different building blocks and the interrelatedness of those, I think a board game would be a real asset. Computerized games make it sometimes hard for people to get an understanding of the calculation models and therefore for getting a real idea on the concept. The board game would be a playfull way to illustrate the building blocks and could be a part of a strategy day before you start working on the company model.
2. If the objective is to at the end decide upon which business model would work best and/or try to make it as realistic as possible, the market mechanism will be crucial and a dice or simple formulae probably would not be sufficient. I have done some business games myself in which the facilitators where able to change the market situation along the way and influenced the outcome for a great deal. Developing such a game would be quite a lot of work and probably should be computerized.
Anyway, as a psychologist I am quite interested and willing to help in developing a game by bringing attention to the learning aspect and way people would experience playing it.
Thanks for the feedback. Well my objective is No. 1. as I think the main asset is training the model, its develpment as well as the principles who the interrelated building blocks work.
However in Order to have some sort of mechanism which provides feedback to your model the market is needed although it needs to be simplistic in order to make the game overall appealing. I am a passionate boardgamer beginning from eurogames to cosims and the main challenge is to find the right balance between realism and playability.
I highly appreciate your help. You mention that you developed some games yourself. Which are they? Which mechanisms did you use? Can you maybe send some samples of the rules for further research?
As I mentioned I am a passionate boardgamer and therefore have a broad knowledge about severl mechanisms and how their dynamics work. In fact I love playing board games because of different mechanisms which can be tried. So I usually buy those games that promise totally different mechanisms and not because the feature a certain genre.
Objective 1 sounds interesting and feasible. And I like your comment about simplistic and appealling.
Unfortunately I have not been involved in developing games myself but I have participated in a number as well as worked together with a company providing games for management and schools. In this cooperation I was mainly involved in observing players, and providing them feedback from a psychological point of view (leadership, team processes etc). This is when I got a good feel on how these kind of games are being experienced by different people.
I am quite an enthousiastic gamer myself and although as a kid my brother and myself were constantly creating our own boardgames, I don't have the mechanism experience. However, I think I would be able to give some input and ideas on the usability, instructions, way it will be perceived by players etc.