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3 things I learnt about Entrepreneurial Thinking from FreshBiz

adminbmt November 7, 2013

Fresh Biz is a board game that has been designed to induce Entrepreneurial mindset into the participants. I had heard about this game a couple of months back when they did a launch in Bangalore. The founder/inventor Ronen Gafni and his team had come to India and that had made news. Ronen, a serial Entrepreneur from Israel created this game in 2010 because he simply believed that doing is the best way of learning. The world has shifted from the industrial age to the information age. Some of the greatest world’s greatest thought leaders have time and again emphasized that despite this shift, a vast majority of us are playing with rules and tools that are outdated and irrelevant today.

What are these new rules? What are the new tools & techniques? Well there are plenty. But these are not points that someone can give you on a platter. The best and the most effective way to learn them is by implementing them. Now, this is where games make it fun and effective. The key word in the new age is “learn” not “be taught”. In real life, it takes time for us to be able to see how our actions are shaping, for the results to show up and for us to take corrective measures. Hence, we lose focus, don’t usually know where we are going & why and forget to have fun while living life. In a simulated environment, we live out our entire life in 2-3 hours. Below are some advantages of that:

We get know what the end result is. What we want to achieve.
We know how to get there, we can put a strategy and stick to it
We know the rules, we know the tools. And we have the opportunity to learn to use them effectively.
We are not afraid. We learn to take risks and learn from our mistakes.
Having fun becomes an integral part.
We observe what others are doing and we learn and we improvise.

And the greatest outcome is that at the end of the game, you know who you really are. An egg when it cracks from within is life. If it is cracked from outside, it’s an omelette. At the end of a game you can introspect. How you play the game is usually how you play life. You will see the mistakes that you are making and take corrective actions. One size will never fit all. Learning from games is the greatest way to take what is most relevant to you and grow from it.

Fresh Biz is a board game that can be played by 4 people. There are 4 quadrants on the board, which represent different phases of one’s life. There are different action cards, business opportunities, stocks, loans, etc which you can use to get to the “island” within 90 minutes. The rules of the game are generally as broad as they are in life. You can or cannot do what you can or cannot do within a legal and ethical framework. You are encouraged to think out of the box and collaborate. I could see from the ambience that everyone was having amazing fun.

For me, following are the 3 greatest takeaways were:

1. A Coach can help you gain a quantum leap

There was a point in the initial part of the game when Saif(who is a 10th standard kid, who offers to coach people during the game), offered to coach me. He said, give me $ 1,000,000(in the game of course) and I will help you gain pace. I was leading anyway. I did not see why I needed a coach. And I thought the price he was asking for was ridiculous. He then gave me a tip for free which helped me earn 2 million in one move. I was faring far better than the rest, I already has set up businesses, but I did not see an opportunity that was right in front of my eyes. Immediately I got him on board paying him a million and that turned around the way I played the game. He would give a tip every now and then that would either give me huge profits or save me from huge penalties. I had maximum businesses, I was getting maximum profits, I was getting great deals and I was having great fun. Most importantly, I was doing all of this effortlessly. The million that I gave him for being my coach was now just peanuts.

In real life too, we come across people who are willing to help us make our journey of life smooth and efficient; a lot of times, these coaches don’t cost us anything. Still we don’t value them or use their expertise and experience to grow. I’ve learnt that when I find a coach who can help me gain a quantum leap in life, I will hold on to him/her with all my might and GROW.

2. Everybody can be a winner

We’ve been exposed too much to quotes like dog eats dog, be first or be lost, save your ass first, etc. But interestingly, in this game the agenda was never to be the “first” to get to the island. The objective was just to get to the island. You could do anything within ethical boundaries to get there. And those who were able to get there in less than 90 minutes were those who collaborated with the others on the board. When someone got an opportunity to setup a business but did not have the cash to do that, another player offered to fund it in return for a share of the profits. When a player had an offer to share some bonuses from the bank with other players, others were seen sharing it with those who needed it the most; not with their best bud. Towards the end of the game there was no “competitive” spirit. It was a “collaborative” spirit. It was as if the 4 participants were never opponents, they were partners.

My lesson is to immediately start looking for opportunities for collaboration in business. The quote by the legendary philosopher “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” makes so much sense now.

3. We all have our Action Cards

Action cards were cards that we received that we could use to our benefit. The key to maximizing profit was timing. Examples of action cards were “Invest in a business at half the establishment cost”, “Get an interest free loan”, “Move your business from its current position to any vacant position”, etc. While we could use these cards to benefit ourselves, there were a lot of cards that were useless to us. But there would be occasions when someone else could benefit immensely from that.

Some of us were looking at others’ cards and asking for favours, or exchanging action cards during the game. But, it was later when the facilitator made us realize that if all of us would have kept our cards open and shared it with every one, we actually had had 20 action cards (5 of ours and 5 each of the other 3 players).

I realized that we all have action cards in reality – resources, connections, talents/skills that we might be able to use for our growth. Some of these actions cards we have might be very useful for others around us. And they might have action cards that we can use. I am going to make a list of my action cards and see who may want to benefit from them.

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Contributed By:

Srikanth Acharya

Srikanthacharya.com

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