Execs Are Experiencing the Evolution of Energy Through A Board Game

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Imagine an analog Sim City. Or a macro-sized Catan or Monopoly. Or maybe just wrap your noggin around the notion of an all-day executive seminar scheduled around a board game.

Newtonian Shift is such a game, and it’s delivered by the Advanced Energy Center at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. Effectively taking up an entire room, it simulates a changing energy landscape, letting players act as various roles (including utilities, and private and corporate end users) as they experience 15 years of sector transformation in just a few hours. The idea is that by actively engaging with extensive research–by playing it–executives will better understand internalize the impact of impending changes on their business. More so than they would just listening to a presentation, for sure.

Oh, and the game’s title refers to its setting, the fictional country Newtonia, which borders the playfully-named nations of Einsteinistan and Wattland. To get a better sense of how it plays, check this promo.

Suffice it to say, Newtonian Shift is the deepest dive, giving players a true lesson on its subject, not just an impression. It was initially commissioned by a Dutch utility, but it’s gone on to be played by executives throughout Europe and was recently adapted for North American audiences. If you watched the video and thought, “Wait… can I play, too?” you’ll be happy to hear this isn’t strictly the domain of utility execs. We reached out to MaRS and learned you can contact their  director of business development to inquire about a copy.

Speaking of entertainment and education intersecting at the office, Chris Sanders, the director of How to Train Your Dragon, once made a storybook for a Disney company retreat. Titled The Big Bear Aircraft Company, it used funny animals to advise execs on how to best develop projects to encourage innovation. Like any good allegory, though, its message applies just a well to workplace situations in other fields.

Are you eager to give Newtonian Shift a whirl yourself? What other “edu-tainment” games have made complex subjects fun and accessible? Share everything in the talkback. 

Featured Image Credit:MaRS

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