“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”
What are they?
Stakeholder simulations immerse participants in a world of dilemmas and decisions. The increasingly complex world of business and sustainability requires leaders to be able to explore an issue from the perspectives of different stakeholders. By doing this in a simulation leaders are able to practise and develop their leadership skills whilst also increasing their awareness of an issue directly related to the sustainability of their organization.
How do they work?
These simulations are bespoke and can be designed in a way that best supports the learning objectives. They might be used an introduction to a leadership programme – a ‘feature-length’ icebreaker – or as a learning vehicle towards the end of a development programme to put into practice the leadership skills developed or tools taught.
The key to the success of these simulations is that they provide a series of dilemmas and different perspectives that need to be considered for participants to arrive at a business decision. They are immersive and totally involve the participants in the dilemma. This may involve the participants acting on behalf of their own organization and actors playing the roles of the various stakeholders (e.g. NGOs, media, customers, suppliers, government officials). Alternatively, the actors’ roles could also be played by programme participants.
What impact do they have?
These simulations go beyond case studies as the participants are physically involved in the conversations, dilemmas and debates. The participants need to draw on their leadership capabilities whilst exploring what, for most of them, is new territory. As these simulations focus on issues that extend beyond the boundaries of the organization they create awareness of the impact that their products or services have and, therefore, act as a great catalyst for discussion on the role that the organization has to play in creating a sustainable world.
Example simulations include:
- Expansion of operations – should an organization expand its operations in a certain location that might have a negative environmental and/or social impact?
- Supply chain dilemma – should an organization continue with an existing supplier or move to a new one?
- Innovation – should an organization invest in product innovation for certain products/markets?
Simulations can cover topics such as:
- Labour rights
- Environmental protection
- Community engagement
- Supply chain management