Failing forward – Virtual Simulation Game

Dr Nasiru Taura, Dr Elvira Bolat & Joseph Reddie provide update on a project sponsored by the CEL Fusion Investment Fund for the academic year 2015/2016:

“Our project responds to repeated calls from experts to create a simulated virtual business failure experience – for teaching entrepreneurship and related courses. We achieved this, through collaboration between the Faculties of Management and Science & Technology – with a joint effort of interdisciplinary team. The project entails the design and development of a business failure simulator-game (prototype) for teaching entrepreneurial failure and learning from it to BU students. Experts broadly, argue that – streams of learning from ‘business failure’ leads to success eventually referred to as ‘failing forward’.

Our simulation/game could improve mental preparedness towards managing failure, uncertainties and expansion of opportunity search after failure. Due to its interactivity and intuitive appeal, we think our simulation would be positioned well to fill in a gap in our teaching/learning – since generally simulations although, among the least explored pedagogy of teaching, yet have proven time and again to be among the most innovatively engaging. Our Simulation game is developed in Unity with C#. The simulation is based on real data and real theories making it an evidenced based game. The simulation starts with a menu screen which gives the user a number of options to choose from and start the game.

In the current version of the game, the user can look at a report of digital businesses in Bournemouth. The user can also go into playing the actual game, in which the aim is to eventually create a successful business after failing numerous times. Progression is made by the user making the right choices throughout the business, if the user makes enough right choices within the business before failing they can move up to the next level. Each level the user progresses increases the number of options the user has within the business. The user has to establish their business at the start, giving it a name and choosing which type of business to go into. Then they have to choose where to allocate their money into. They then must get some offices and they would have the opportunity to hire employees as well.

Once they are an established business they can then create a product given some choices into how long they will take to create the product and whether they would like to prototype the product or not. All the choices the user makes affects their stock price and how many units of the product they will sell. If they make the correct choices they can progress to the next level. The correct choices change each level as they get more money and more options open, and they have to start taking more long term options. There is no true “end” to the game, the game simply ends when the user feels like they have learnt a lot and are now running a successful business. Teachers and educators who have had their students’ play this game could then get them to reflect (through a reflective essay) assessment on what they have learnt in hindsight”.

If you would like to know more about the project, please contact the investigators Dr Nasiru TauraDr Elvira Bolat & Joseph Reddie


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