Nashville business leaders experience Interplay

Event raises $1,400 for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

Nashville business leaders experiencing Interplay last Friday spent the day with Brent Snow and learned firsthand from the creator of the popular business simulation.

Originally developed for Apple and Microsoft, Interplay helps participants understand the complexities of running a business from a broader perspective.  During the simulation, they create and manage a fictitious company in a fun, yet competitive, environment.

The event was organized by Advantage Partner Bennett Phillips, who moved to the Nashville area in 2015 and wanted his inaugural event there to benefit the community. He encouraged attendees to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee as part of their RSVP. He and Snow matched the contributions, providing Second Harvest with a total donation of $1,400, enough for 5,600 meals.

Second Harvest was also the venue for the event, and in the spirit of the day, the fictitious companies in play were in the food industry (the simulation is usually customized for specific businesses as part of its implementation).

At the end of the day, Snow shared what inspired him to create Interplay and other simulations:

"One of the reasons I started designing simulations is that I had a chance a number of years ago to go through a manufacturing simulation and it was a significant learning experience for me. Along with giving me a number of great insights about the manufacturing world I was working in at the time, I also had a valuable personal insight.  It seemed in the simulation that I had an ability to quickly see patterns and also the potential implications of many of our decisions, but I was having a lot of trouble explaining what I was seeing in a way that made any sense to others on my simulation team.  And so my team wasn’t able to make use of some of these insights and didn’t perform as well as it might have.

"I realized afterwards that I got this insight from the simulation experience…  that I couldn’t articulate what I was seeing, and this was probably true in other contexts as well.  It was an important leadership lesson for me.  And so I realized simulations can be very powerful multidimensional learning tools — you learn about the subject matter of the simulation — and they also provide the potential to learn much more as well.”

He told the group he hoped their experience would have a lingering effect:

You'll have some lightbulbs go off as a result of having been here."

Participants share what they learned:

  • "I really enjoyed the hands-on experience. It's the perfect way to learn."
  • "It's challenging to focus on other areas (people, org., etc.) when so focused on my own role (finance)."
  • "(I gained) confidence in business acumen skills to better communicate with my business partners."
  • "Managing conflicting priorities is the key to success."
  • "Trade-offs, negotiations/compromise for long-term gain."
  • "It's important to weigh all factors to strategically decide where to invest."
  • "What I like about this game is I can really see the power of key stakeholders who are willing to put into it the amount of effort that we put in today to understand each other's language ... in a playful, fun environment."

About Brent Snow


As the founder and creative director at 10,000 Feet, an Advantage thought leader partner, Brent is the driving force, and chief instigator during intense design discussions when addressing a client's strategic learning challenges. Brent brings a singular ability to listen and perceive the crux dynamics of a situation, and then imagine ways to bring these dynamics to life.

Along the way his work has been featured in Fortune Magazine, CIO and Fast Company, televised globally by the International Institite for Learning, and given a Best Practice award from the American Society for Training and Development.

And yet Brent would also be the first to admit that the work of 10,000 feet is on a continuous learning journey -- not a literal journey like he often takes to different parts of the globe to work with clients -- but a continuous journey of becoming ever more masterful in creating the best simulation tool, best perspective broadening experience and best interactive learning design that will create actionable new perspectives.

Brent lives in Vail, Colorado.

Julie Wolpers

A web developer, editor and marketing consultant, Julie creates compelling content for brands and helps coordinate and execute the Advantage marketing strategy.

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