How to spice up your introduction to The Fresh Connection

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The Fresh Connection (TFC) is an innovative web-based business simulation game. It engages participants in turning around a manufacturer of fruit juices. In teams of 4, participants will represent the functional roles of VP Purchasing, VP Operations, VP Supply Chain, and VP Sales. Participants will be confronted with various real-life, real-time dilemmas. Cross-functional understanding and collaboration are key components, as teams work together to turn the company around.

How to introduce The Fresh Connection to your students can be an exciting experience. It’s a way to motivate them to make this virtual company their own. Many professors make use of storytelling to introduce the simulation. Either by playing the TFC introduction video in which Bob McLaren, CEO of The Fresh Connection, gives a dramatic introduction to this virtual company and it’s poor financial situation. Or by roleplaying the part themselves.Hearing Bob elaborate on the scenario surrounding The Fresh Connection. How TFC is suffering immense losses and how he, the CEO, has chosen you to be on his next management team can motivate students to take responsibility.

“It is very important to motivate, challenge and give responsibility to the student from the first moment they are in contact with The Fresh Connection. To make them feel that the TFC company is theirs, is the key to success” Igor Lopes, professor at the Technological University of Havana

Interactive voting as an introduction to The Fresh Connection.

Most educators have at least part of their classes online. It is a continuous challenge to motivate and engage students, especially online. The Fresh Connection voting session is a highly interactive tool developed to introduce The Fresh Connection to larger audiences. It is also an effective way to kick off training programs. Our Voting Session tool can be easily used to engage students online and in the classroom.

What is included and how to use it?

The Voting Session includes a manual, a PowerPoint presentation with basic concepts and questions to vote on. Additionally, it includes 3 rounds of The Fresh Connection to simulate the impact of the chosen actions.

During this session you go over the roles superficially. The PowerPoint presentation includes 2-3 questions per role. The slides will give you the information needed to take the decision. However, you can also go over the reports with your students to show them where to find the information needed. You can either use the decision chosen in the slides or create scenarios of your own for this first introduction.

The Voting session manual will instruct you what are the important details to mention in each slide and what question you can ask to your students to stimulate discussions.

Students may say that it was hard to vote on answers, since they did not know the other questions and answers, or they didn’t have time to calculate the best answer. This only proves how important it is to communicate and exchange information in the team, before making decisions.

Context for virtual business environment

Education associate, Yeri Villamizar has frequently used the voting session in her training. It allows the audience to have a clearer understanding of how the simulator works and the type of decisions that are normally made.

“At the beginning is important to explain the game, the type of company, the financial status and the need for a new functional team. However, the most important thing is to connect the simulator with the real life of a company and the theoretical concepts that are normally taught and thatthe simulator helps to explain them in a practical way.” Yeri Villamizarr, lecturer at Universidad EAN and President of the CSCMP Colombian Roundtable

In her experience as senior trainer, Yeri has seen how students struggle to connect decisions and results. To discover that their decisions are related to the communication and agreements within the team. Thus, it is essential to have an interactive session at the beginning where they understand the sensitivity of their decision and the importance of designing a strategy as a team.

Practical tips & trick

Most educators have at least part of their classes online. This presents an additional challenge to motivating and connecting with students during the first lessons. Our Voting Session tool can be easily used to engage students online and in the classroom. Popular platforms like MS Teams and Zoom enable you to share your screen. This way you can show the PowerPoint presentation included in the Voting Session. Later when taking decisions, you can also guide students through the simulation environment.

To prevent switching between the presentation and the simulation when taking decisions, you can do the following:

  • Take screenshots of relevant screens in the simulation game and include them in the presentation. When taking decisions, use the screenshots to explain the information needed and annotate the final decision. After all decisions are made, introduce the decisions in the simulation and calculate the results.
  • Prepare the questions in Zoom polls before the lesson. When taking decisions, share your screen and navigate through the simulation. Launch the questions in zoom polls and let students vote. Introduce the decisions that has most votes into the simulation and calculate the results.

Want to learn more about how to introduce The Fresh Connection in your course? Do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to explore the possibilities of implementing The Fresh Connection in your course and answer any questions you may have!

Already using The Fresh Connection in your course? Feel free to contact us so we can provide you with access to the Voting Session.