Creating a Leadership Laboratory

How to choose between virtual learning and face-to-face human interaction? In the case of leadership development, the value of live human interface almost always supersedes the ease of high-tech. In this case study, our Thought Leader Partner BTS develops a behavior-rich business simulation for a Fortune 50 company’s use as a “leadership laboratory” to develop the capabilities of high-potentials. The initiative blended a business simulation with live interaction and feedback, creating unsurpassed value for leaders and peripheral value for the entire organization.

By Jim Bowles, Ed.D. and Rich Dapra, Ph.D. of BTS, USA Inc.

The word “simulation” conveys a technology-stoked world of unlimited possibilities. Avatars and Wii’s bring the power of virtual interactivity to people who are now, or will soon be, shaping the very nature of how we work. We can continue to expect to see applications of virtual technology that will challenge workplace ethicists, policy makers, employment lawyers, and instructional designers.

The barrier between where the application of rapid technology innovation permeates the more traditional world of “face-to-face” learning continues to be hard to nail down. However, there is a point where the value of direct human interface with rich human interaction, particularly in the world of leadership development, supersedes the “wow” factor (and apparent pragmatic advantages) of the application of the “virtual.” Integrating a “business-rich” laboratory setting, dependent on live human interaction, into a traditional business simulation is key to creating enhanced peripheral value of the experience.

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