GAMES CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER STRATEGIST
Martin Reeves and Georg Wittenburg, 2015 articulately highlight benefits that games have in making better strategists. Games have been perceived to be a thing of passing time and fun. Little do people know that games can be decisively helpful in making strategy? In an organizational setting, games can by large increase the executive productivity in terms of strategic decision making and implementation. Especially in a dynamic and competitive business world of today, strategic thinking in top level management not only relies on available data but also skills in data analysis and relating data to organizational needs. It is for this reason that Martin Reeves and Georg Wittenburg highlight five distinct benefits of suing games for enhancing strategy formulation and executive skills.
Firstly, Martin Reeves and Georg Wittenburg assert that games provide inexpensive, real-time feedback. Games have a distinct feature of providing feedback resulting from user interaction through playing. Feedback in most cases is presented in scores where the user can use the score as a basis of bettering his or her game and aim for top scores. Martin Reeves and Georg Wittenburg articlutae that smart games keep managers in flow zone. For instance, a business simulator can provide a player with idea on starting and managing an airline by facilitating strategic decision making to a player and providing feedback from past decisions.
Secondly, Martin Reeves and Georg Wittenburg proclaim that games allow managers to deeply engage with ideas by incorporating interactivity. Games are more engaging and interactive in the sense that they provide a platform for analysis situations, finding possible solutions, deciding on available alternatives, executing decisions and a reflection of the decision outcome. Games also extensively provide a virtual reality platform where people can play together and challenge each other. As a result of game planning and changing of game strategies based on what the opponent has decided, is intuitively beneficial in enhancing strategic skills. For instance, a company achieved unceasing advantage of providing strategic responses to challenges by creating different teams playing competitors and regulators.
Martin Reeves and Georg Wittenburg further discern that games allow structured analysis of an executive behavior. Games have specialized tools that allow for analysis and improvement on future interactions. Presentation of game scores facilitates comparisons between players. Additionally, the presence of replay provides a platform for tracking or following the actions undertaken by the player in reaching at a particular score. Furthermore, it allows users to see the consequences of their actions as indicated by the authors.
To add on, this article provides that games allow different scenarios to be tested. According to the authors, strategy games anticipate and amplify reality by acting as a vaccination. Different scenarios allow players to be flexible in making strategic decisions for different situation. For instance, tech entrepreneurs were drawn to the play ‘The settlers of Catan’ since it closely approximated entrepreneurial strategy. The changing business environment of today requires managers to always adjust their decision making strategies.
Last but not least, games can be rolled out easily to managers. Games and simulation have an unlimited scope as their impact is felt across various fields. Games can be used in to provide skills in strategic management of an array of businesses effectively.
Points of agreement/ disagreements
Firstly, I agree with the fact that games provide inexpensive real-time feedback. This is very true and evident from all programmed games. Games on completion of a given mission present scores, which are results of the user’s decisions. For instance, a mission simulator can provide a player with idea on starting and managing troops by facilitating strategic decision making to a player and providing feedback from past decisions. The scores in earned in the mission are real-time and facilitate timely changes in strategies.
Secondly, I agree with the author’s assertion that games allow managers to deeply engage with ideas. Managers are able to flawlessly engage with ideas by developing analytic skills through replays, comparison and scores. For instance, replays in games and simulators allow players to see their previous decisions and understand what could have led to a ascertain outcome of the game. Games provide an inclusive interactive platform to facilitate strategic decisions making.
However, I disagree with the fact that games can be rolled out easily to managers.
Key Leanings from the reading
From this article, I have learned that it is crucial to adjust strategies to suit prevailing circumstance in an organization. It would be costly if rigid management structures prevent flexibility of strategic decisions making since this is a cornerstone to organizational success. If business does not adjust their strategic decisions in a dynamic and competitive environment, then the business may not be able to withstand the competitive forces of the market.
Another lesson learnt is that, games are effective in improving analytical skills of managers and executives. The top executive, who usually require much analytical skills as the nature of their positions demand, need to spend some few time playing games in order to strengthen their analytical skills.
Implications for gaming in strategies
This article highlights one major implication of games. This is the implication of interactivity in games to improve strategic thinking. It tries to impute that strategic business decisions require critical and analytical thinking skills which if not put into action, may consequently lead to non-strategic decisions. This relies heavily upon constant interaction in games by users. In order to develop and strengthen strategic decisions using games, interaction is imperative. In the context of game theory, new directions include the effects of game descriptions on choice (‘framing’), strategic heuristics, and mental representation (Camerer, 2003, p.225). Therefore, the co-ordination of mind triggered by the impact of games can make it easy to change the way one approaches a situation in an organization. Interaction through analyzing some aspect of the game like scores, replays and targets improve strategic thinking (Sher, Koenig and Rustichini, 2014). Executive and top level managers’ interaction with the system is very critical as this ensures gradual positive changes in an organization. Just as in games, the executive are required to use analytical tools available which improves interaction with the organization system (Penczynski, 2016, p.84). For instance, strategic video games promotes self-reported problem skills and indirectly predicted academic grades (Adachi and Willoughby, 2013, p.1052). Applicably, in anorganisational setting, games indirectly predict organizational progress in terms of goals and objectives achievement. To further echo on the implication of interaction in an organization, Zahra and Nambisan, (2012, p.219).The nature and effect of the dynamic interactions in a business ecosystem can have profound implications for organizational success. Therefore, strategic thinking relies upon interaction of the executive with both the internal and external factors. Managers need to know that system interaction is the heart of making proactive and reactive strategic decisions. With system interaction skills gained through games, executive are able to obtain and analyse quantitative information which makes it difficult to make strategies (Pagani and Otto, 2013, p.1568).
Adachi, P.J. and Willoughby, T., 2013. More than just fun and games: The longitudinal relationships between strategic video games, self-reported problem solving skills, and academic grades. Journal of youth and adolescence, 42(7), pp.1041-1052.
Camerer, C.F., 2003. Behavioural studies of strategic thinking in games. Trends in cognitive sciences, 7(5), pp.225-231.
Pagani, M. and Otto, P., 2013. Integrating strategic thinking and simulation in marketing strategy: Seeing the whole system. Journal of Business Research, 66(9), pp.1568-1575.
Penczynski, S.P., 2016. Strategic thinking: The influence of the game. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 128, pp.72-84.
Sher, I., Koenig, M. and Rustichini, A., 2014. Children’s strategic theory of mind. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(37), pp.13307-13312
Zahra, S.A. and Nambisan, S., 2012. Entrepreneurship and strategic thinking in business ecosystems. Business Horizons, 55(3), pp.219-229.