What are
Social Simulations?

Social Simulation is a type of a multiplayer serious game with a focus on direct interaction among participants. The emphasis is put on a “serious goal”, be it message transmission, competence training, strategy development or learning. The scope of social simulations developed by Centre for Systems Solutions varies thus from training and educational contexts, business and organizational settings to social awareness-raising projects.

A special type of social simulation, a strategic simulation (policy exercise), may also be designed and applied to collaboratively diagnose, analyze and solve a specific real-life problem requiring strategic decision-making.

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  • <h3 class="icon-slide">1. PROBLEM</h3>

    1. PROBLEM

    Today’s world societal, economic or environmental challenges call for innovative approach to strategic decision making that would integrate
    a wide range of data, insights and tacit knowledge.
  • <h3 class="icon-slide">2. Different Perspectives</h3>

    2. Different Perspectives

    Social simulations provide an accessible problem representation and bring together stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, values, tasks and goals, offering them a unique opportunity to explore the issue from a number of perspectives.
  • <h3 class="icon-slide">3. Communication</h3>

    3. Communication

    Not restricted to any particular mode of communication, the participants engage in brainstorming, consulting or negotiating processes across diverse groups, triggering free exchange of ideas and bridging communication gaps.
  • <h3 class="icon-slide">4. Complexity</h3>

    4. Complexity

    By the step-by-step process of exploring variables, identifying interconnections, testing possible solutions, and observing their outcomes, the totality of the problem is revealed.
  • <h3 class="icon-slide">5. Creativity</h3>

    5. Creativity

    The playful nature of social simulation helps participants discover their creative potential and go off the beaten track. Abstract ideas become tangible, giving way to new original and inspiring pathways into the unknown.
  • <h3 class="icon-slide">6. Consensus</h3>

    6. Consensus

    In the safe environment of social simulation, participants are more inclined towards cooperation, developing empathy and mutual trust. Thus even if debates become sharpened, all voices may be heard, trade-offs negotiated, and a joint strategy adapted.
  • <h3 class="icon-slide">7. Commitment to action</h3>

    7. Commitment to action

    Social simulations help stakeholders to realize their own responsibility within complex systems and understand that they have enough experience, knowledge and determination to use their newly gained insights to face real life challenges.
soc_sim_01

Problem

Today’s world societal, economic or environmental challenges call for innovative approach to strategic decision making that would integrate a wide range of data, insights and tacit knowledge.

soc_sim_02

Different Perspectives

Social simulations provide an accessible problem representation and bring together stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, values, tasks, and goals, offering them a unique opportunity to explore the issue from a number of perspectives.

soc_sim_03

Communication

Not restricted to any particular mode of communication, the participants engage in brainstorming, consulting or negotiating processes across diverse groups, triggering free exchange of ideas and bridging communication gaps.

soc_sim_04

Complexity

By the step-by-step process of exploring variables, identifying interconnections, testing possible solutions, and observing their outcomes, the totality of the problem is revealed.

 

soc_sim_05

Creativity

The playful nature of social simulation helps participants discover their creative potential and go off the beaten track. Abstract ideas become tangible, giving way to new original and inspiring pathways into the unknown.

soc_sim_06

Consensus

In the safe environment of social simulation, participants are more inclined towards cooperation, developing empathy and mutual trust. Thus even if debates become sharpened, all voices may be heard, trade-offs negotiated, and a joint strategy adapted.

soc_sim_07

Commitment to Actions

Social simulations help stakeholders to realize their own responsibility within complex systems and understand that they have enough experience, knowledge and determination to use their newly gained insights to face real life challenges.

Areas of application

Strategy Development

Strategy Development

Strategic simulations provide an opportunity to look into possible future developments, while addressing urgent problems. Based on a real world situation and empirical data, they engage important stakeholders in a collaborative process of building a realistic yet simplified representation of their specific challenge.

Organizational Change

Organizational Change

Social simulations improve communication and cooperation within and between teams. Participants exercise the negotiation skills to reach compromises and collaborate for a common cause, which leads to their commitment to implement a shared vision.

Experiments

Experiments

Social simulations can be applied to run experiments in different fields, including economics, sociology, psychology, and others. Using a programmed interface and a wide array of settings helps the researcher to create a controlled environment for an experiment and to include different experimental treatments.

Education,<br>capacity building

Education,
capacity building

Engaged in an experience that feels real, participants retain more information and learn faster. Social simulations turn classrooms into safe learning environments that allow students to test their assumptions and knowledge, and make mistakes without bearing their real costs.

Catalogue

We offer a wide array of social simulations on different topics. From a board game on the role of diversity in resilience building to an online multiplayer simulation exploring social aspects of climate change. The titles that you can find here have already been used by many educators, sustainability professionals, and policy makers all around the world (see our projects).

Most of our games are free for non-commercial use, and many of them can be downloaded and printed at home/office. Click on the image to learn more about the game.

The World’s Future

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Collaborate towards the Sustainable Development Goals

A playful environment for practicing strategies to secure global future. Inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

Nexus Game

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Managing water-food-energy nexus

A collaborative exercise in harmonizing interconnections between water, food, and energy combined with practice in building effective upstream-downstream relations at the transboundary level.

Energy Transition Game

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Shape the future of the energy sector

A playground for practicing social and technological transformations and exploring climate-friendly energy futures.

Green&Great

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Connect sustainability with business success

An experience that leads to deep reflection on business sustainability as a source of competitive advantage. Suitable for both professional training and university courses.

Lords of the Valley

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Collaborate to safely navigate through complexity

A laboratory for practicing strategy, collaboration and leadership in a complex environment. Applied in many contexts: from improving communication between stakeholders in river basins to diagnosing dysfunctions in international organizations.

New Shores

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What price are we ready to pay for progress? Stable climate and democracy shouldn’t be taken for granted

A reflection on both democracy and climate change. Players settle on a virgin island, exploit its resources, and passionately argue about how their society should work.

About That Forest

...

How incentives, institutions, and worldviews sustain the common good… or lead to the tragedy

A sandbox for exploring how individual and collective behavior is affected by economic incentives, institutions, and moral norms. Regularly used as an experimental research tool.

Flood Resilience Game

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Identify novel policies and strategies to improve flood resilience of communities at risk

An exercise in both short- and long-term decision-making under flood risks. A starting point for mutual learning for communities and flood professionals, igniting a meaningful discussion on what works, and for whom.

Evacuation Challenge Game

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Embed the sensitivity for cultural differences and disabilities in disaster response

A quick, perspective-changing exercise in bridging communication, language, and cultural barriers during emergency situations. Used and praised by both disasters professionals and people outside the field.

Cultural Memory Game

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Draw from the memories of the past to secure a safer future

A youth-oriented exercise in linking the signs of past catastrophic events with disaster awareness, prevention, and preparedness. Earthquake and flood versions available. Can be customized to reflect a specific city’s situation.

Gifts of Culture

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How to collaborate towards a common cause in a diverse community

Simulation of negotiations and cooperation between diverse groups of interest that share the same flood-prone river valley but have different views on economic, cultural, and organizational issues.

InDilemma

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A mix of beautifully choreographed dance performance and a game that engages the audience

While presenting the main ideas behind the Game’s Theory, InDilemma performance touches on inequalities, shrinking resources and living space, leaving the audience with much to reflect on.

PIPES

...

Public Infrastructure Participatory Engagement Simulation

Simulation that recreates essential features connected with highly interdependent water infrastructures, highlighting decision-making challenges and their consequences.

Forest Rules

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Explore the dilemmas of sustainable forest management

Fast-paced, engaging simulation of basic dynamics behind forest harvest and regeneration processes. Perfectly mirrors complex social structures that emerge while governing the commons. Regularly used in university courses.

Forest@Risk

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How to govern the commons in the face of disaster risk

An experimental game exploring community pathways to sustainable forest management and disaster preparedness. Regularly used in university courses.

A Common Dilemma

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Learn how to avoid the tragedy of the commons

An interactive decision game that recreates dilemmas connected with harvesting common-pool resources. Designed to be used in workshops and courses on sustainable management of common-pool resources.

Bengaluru Quest

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Politics of sustainability in the city of burning lakes

An environment for exploring behavioral, social and institutional challenges of a sustainability transformation. Participants work on the real-world case with a universal relevance and use their knowledge and creativity to face a complex, ambiguous, and uncertain reality of modern policy making.

Workshops with our social simulations

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