Serious Gaming

The latest insights demonstrate the positive impact gaming can have as a developmental tool. The process of simultaneously acting, experiencing, and learning in a well-thought-of setting provides a great amount of added value. In this case, games are utilized as realistic simulations of situations with which management and key figures deal on a day-to-day base. Smart HRD has been certified to deploy the refined and sophisticated games created by Actee ( These games deal with situations related to change management and leadership. A Smart HRD advisor provides feedback, and guides and analyses the candidates. A complete simulation takes approximately a day.

When is it applicable? 

These games are applicable when the need arises to gain insight into or experience with:

  • Different levels of change
  • Leadership styles and their effectivity related to these levels
  • Recognizing resistance and how to deal with it
  • Working as a (management-) team in order to come to the right decision when tackling dilemmas

The games can be utilized as a learning tool to:

  • prepare management for upcoming change.
  • provide management with the ability to effectively participate in permanent change and withstand resistance
  • raise awareness among management-teams regarding their own behavior (interaction, decision-making, leadership styles)


The setup of the simulation consists of a combination of a big, round floorboard and a laptop. The board symbolizes the process of change. The candidates move across the board using a boat, which represents the (management-) team. The board consists of ten positions (representing a level of change and resistance), each having a stakeholder. The team’s job is to ensure the boat runs through the entire process of change with as many stakeholders on board as possible. The simulation runs on a laptop: a challenge will be presented to the team on each turn, and it is on them to select a fitting intervention. This intervention has consequences on the boat’s position, as well as the position of the stakeholders.

It is possible to play the game with 4 to 8 teams, which adds in the element of competition. Our experiences: participants immediately feel included in the game and learn more and more about change, leadership, dealing with resistance, and how to tackle dilemmas using teamwork while, simultaneously, forming a common view on these subjects. Our advisor gives an analysis on the chosen interventions and the related leadership styles. This feedback helps the candidates with their next steps.

Theoretical framework

The sophistication of the game can be found in the connection made with the theory of Kotter (levels of change), Maurer (change and resistance), Goleman (leadership styles), and MBTI (which was utilized to construct the personalities of the stakeholders; making their reactions likely to appear in real-life scenarios). This gives rise to a logical frame of mind in which the theory is remembered.

Size of the group

The maximum amount of contestants is 40.