How Apprentices dealt with “Organisational Chaos”

The session we had the other day with our ILM apprentices from Cefas was a fantastic occasion to reflect not only on Business Management, but on the qualities that should be at the base of every learning experience.

Our 5 apprentices, were invited to tackle the Assessment Criteria…

Explain the process of developing an organisational strategy”,

…by our trainer, Matt Reed. They could engage with this subject in any way they preferred from giving a presentation, to writing a report, to creating a mock seminar….any way at all as long as it met that criteria and the key word of explain.

The apprentices decided to design a board game, drawing inspiration from ‘The Game of Life’ and deciding to call it ‘Organisational Chaos’. In the ‘The Game of Life’ players have to choose their life path, making sure that they take the most profitable decisions and spend their cash wisely.

The apprentices designed ‘Organisational Chaos’ in a similar manner: instead of making choices to become the wealthiest player, the participants had to play in order to gain Manager Points and implement the best company strategies.

The apprentices developed content with three different coloured cards, each one referring to an aspect of organisational strategy:

  • Purple Environmental Cards, exploring “The analysis and assessment of current internal and external environment” and containing factors that are affecting the company in either a good or a bad manner.
  • Green Decision-Making Cards, concerning “Strategy formulation and planning at high level”, requiring responses from the players about various questions and issues.
  • Pink Action Cards, related to “High level planning translated on operational planning and team/individual action”, where the apprentices wrote down successful or disastrous actions applicable in a company, with a certain number of manager points assigned to each one of them.

“Decide whether you want to invest on existing customers or advertise to new ones”, read one of the players, after having drawn a Green Card. The apprentice thought a bit about it, then answered “Both!”, but at the back of the card there was not a similar option. Operational Strategy is about this, handling difficult situation and taking effective decision. For this reason, rather than adopting a traditional, classroom training approach and explaining how to build a company operational strategy to apprentices, Matt suggested that they tackle this topic both creatively and actively.

“People learn so much better when they are in a position where they have to give solutions themselves, without any mediator. I was very impressed when I heard that the apprentices decided to design a game in order to explain Operational Strategies, it made absolute sense to me. Games are educational: when we grew up, we learnt many things through them. They are also kinaesthetic, as they engage both minds and hands. A game also accommodates different learning styles. I believe characteristics are shared both by games and learning: they should be rewarding and fun!”.

The gender-neutral characters the apprentices have created

Certainly, looking at the video we took during the day, our apprentices can say the same thing!


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