By Steve Hemmings
For the airline industry safety is a major issue not only from the point of view of its reputation but also the strict regulations that apply in the markets in which it operates. But flying has become one of the safest forms of transport as a result of airlines dealing more effectively with the two factors that can have a negative impact on safety, mechanical failure and pilot error.
To deal with the first airlines have put in place rigorous safety and servicing procedures to ensure that their machines are always in the best mechanical order. But pilots continued to learn their trade on the job, that is until the technology became available that made it possible for them to realise the benefits of the ‘Flight Simulator’. Now pilots can learn the characteristics of a particular airplane and are able to practice how to make difficult maneuvers or deal with dangerous conditions without putting the plane or its passengers at risk.
In recent years there have been number of instances where passengers have been most grateful that the pilots were able to deal with what would otherwise have been a disastrous situation. In interviews afterwards the pilots concerned often credit the time spent in the Simulator as being the key reason that they were able to avert disaster.
If we apply the Flight Simulator analogy in a business context we could describe the overall benefits of business simulations as follows.
- The basic purpose of any simulation is to experiment with reality – without ruining the business.
- The design, data and delivery of a simulation set a powerful learning engine in motion.
- A simulation imitates a system (such as a business) in such a way that participants can try out different strategies and working practices. “What happens if…? By doing so, they learn how the system works, what the business drivers are, and what it takes to optimize performance under different conditions and in different scenarios.
- A simulation creates system thinking. As a result, people tend to adopt a different more holistic frame of reference - a big picture understanding.
So to sum up business simulations could have an important part to play in helping to develop the levels of business and commercial acumen that you need to ensure that your business continues to be a flyer.