Cristian Mitreanu, creator of the TEDxUIUC event, had put his expertise to work and created a new video game to teach us the fundamentals of making decisions at work. His game, OFMOS, is an innovative casual video game that mimics the basic actions taken by a CEO when deciding what the company should offer, when, and to whom. Rather than dealing with two separate portfolios, one of offerings and one of customers, this new theory allows us to analyze a company as a single portfolio of business entities. These entities are virtual business spaces defined by an offering and a set of customers, who have the same behavior relative to that offering. They are called "ofmos," a term derived from the combination of words offering-market-cosmos.
In a beta-test of the game, 4 MBA students played and provided feedback and comments about their experience. Keep reading to hear from Srini, Koichi and Brett...
One Second-Year MBA student, says:
"The game is innovatively designed, easy to learn yet challenging to play. The game moves quickly and requires you to stay on your toes. Business students can use it to understand how businesses need to constantly create new growth opportunities while their existing products move through the product lifecycle. Students would also understand that businesses need to diversify their offerings across premium to value goods."
Koichi Sato, Second-Year MBA:
"OFMOS is interesting but challenging because we need to determine what combinations of business units work the best in a short time. As I proceeded to harder levels, I failed many times and analyzed all the information available quickly to execute my plan.
If you are engaged in business, managers have to make decisions in many cases in terms of financial strategy, marketing strategy or organizational strategy. In any of these cases, one of the most important things is learning how to organize the information available in a short time and determine which strategy the company should take as soon as possible to capture the market or maximize profits. This experience helps to enhance the ability to analyze the information appropriately in a short time. Since we are supposed to be future business leaders as business students, this basic ability definitely helps us to acquire the sense of business.
As I mentioned, this game requires to make my decision in a short time. It reminds me of my experience as a project leader in new service development section. Almost all the decision should be made at appropriate moment. So this game absolutely helps me to enhance my skills as a decision maker. Moreover, this game contains some funs as well. I can say that the game will give us useful experiences with well-developed essence of business."
Srini Venugopal, Second-Year MBA
"I immensely enjoyed playing the game. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in business or anyone looking to get sensitized to the general dynamics in business. While the game is entertaining to play, there seems to be more to it than just entertainment value. It enables visualization of the general dynamics in the marketplace and the process of running a business. This leads to enhanced comprehension of the dynamism in the market and consequently, better understanding of strategic business decisions required for marketplace success. I wish to congratulate Cristian and team for this stupendous effort in distilling the essence of business and capturing it in a manner that makes it easily accessible and enjoyable, simultaneously. Indeed, an impressive feat.
For those whose curiosity is piqued, I recommend reading the article by Mitreanu titled “A Fundamental Theory of Business”. I wish Cristian and team success in this endeavor of making mundane concepts in business come alive."
Brett Miller, Second-Year MBA
"I enjoyed playing the Ofmos game. It made me think about the life of different types of products and how they perform in an evolving market. In Cristian's game the market for products is constantly maturing and that has an impact on the value of each product that you have out there. The evolving products in the game reminds me of the philosophy of continuous improvement, which is more related to operations management, but I think it also applies here also. To win the game the player needs to be continually planning and designing new products while checking on and actively killing off old ones. I know Cristian says strategy might be a bad word, but I think there is a strategy to this game, and it's one of continuous product development and improvement."
**OFMOS is intended to be enjoyed by most adults, with various levels of involvement -- from superficial immersion, where the player manages a system of moving objects, to deep immersion, where the player acts as a CEO running a large corporation over extended periods of time. The prototype, which can be downloaded at www.ofmos.com, is primarily intended to test the appeal of the game mechanics.