SimuReal

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SimuReal is action learning in hyperdrive.

Catherine Perme and Alan Klein

SimuReal is a ‘whole system’ method using simulation and real work to help an organization become more visible to itself.

By the end of a SimuReal event, the participants will have completed an important task.

Developer: Donald C. Klein.

Length: One day.

Group size: Limited only by size of venue.

SimuReal (this is the correct format) enables members of an organization to work together on a real organizational task so that they can see the whole organization in all its complexity, become aware of, and skilled in, dealing with organizational dynamics, and determine what, if anything, needs to be changed.

The method is used to help organizations explore differences, solve complex problems, redesign work processes, agree goals and develop plans for realising them.

The SimuReal event takes place in a large room which, when the participants arrive, becomes a microcosm of the organization in action.

The departments or other organizational units are located in different parts of the room according to their place in the actual organization.

This is the ‘Simu’ part of SimuReal.

The ‘Real’ part is the task or project that the organization will undertake.

The task is conceived by a planning committee, whose members are drawn from the organizational units.

The committee prepares all aspects of the SimuReal event including the room layout and the decision making process.

The SimuReal process consists of three action periods, each around one hour in length. During these periods the participants address the task exactly as they would if they were at work.

Each action period is followed by an analysis session, lasting around 45 minutes, in which the small groups reflect on what worked during the action period and what did not work so well, and decide what they will do differently during the next action period.

The findings of the small groups are shared in the large group.

After the third and final analysis session the management team or other decision making group meets in the centre of the room, fishbowl-style, to decide what changes need to be made in the light of the day’s events.

The planning committee will have already agreed the form of the decision making process with participants prior to the event.

Further reading

Large Group Process: Simureal, by Kristina Harkin. The Prezi is not working properly so go straight to the transcript. An excellent overview with some quotable phrases that I will include here later.

Simu-Real: A Simulation Approach to Organizational Change (links to single page pdf)

SimuReal: Action Learning in Hyperdrive, a book by Catherine Perme and Alan Klein (son of Donald Klein), 2008

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