CNTRD is Changing Consulting

Written by Mikey Hsiung, Co-Founder of CNTRD

We’ve been pretty quiet the past few months, but not without good reason. CNTRD is changing consulting. We’ve been working on a new service: business simulation games. 


Industry Experience

The past 3 years, I have consulted organizations of various shapes and sizes (check out our work). I have learned that discovering novel solutions is merely an executive’s first of many tasks. For strategy consulting to be worthwhile, leaders need buy-in throughout the organization. However, more often than not I’ve seen strategy consulting advice fall apart during implementation because information deteriorates as it moves through the organization.  


Why Consulting Sucks?

What makes learning and persuasion so hard in consulting? 

Many consulting projects end with the consultancy’s leadership succinctly summarizing dozens or hundreds of hours of work into whatever details, findings, and recommendations can squeeze into a polished slide deck. A presentation and a slidedeck, that’s it. 

Often, the information dump fails to permeate the minds of the listeners. A consequence of the lack of clarity among leadership is a haphazard, high-stakes game of telephone. . Without the opportunity to truly engage with the consultant’s solutions, the initial momentum of change quickly fizzles out in the organization. 

Anyone that has gone through school knows that lectures and reading assignments fail at creating lasting learning or impact. So why does the consulting industry continue to provide just a presentation and a slidedeck? 

In order for consulting advice to have an impact, the client involved must (a) be engaged in learning and (b) learn to make better choices. The contemporary consulting model does not engage the organization’s stakeholders  

Any strategic change will require people to switch how they make their own choices on behalf of their organizations. A consultant is doing a disservice to their client by ignoring the process of learning and practice. 

CNTRD’s new business simulation game seeks to change that. 


Why Games?

A game can teach us things that a presentation and a slidedeck cannot. 

While being troubled by the problems inside the consulting industry, I came across a brilliant philosopher from Utah Valley University, C.T. Ngyuen. He argued that games are not just frivolous pursuits that kids play. Rather, games are a highly engaging form of art that manipulates our agencies. In other words, games train us to think about and experience choices. 

In consulting, games can help clients engage in practicing and experiencing choices. Games take clients away from the high-stakes business environment and into a lower stake setting where players experiment and learn from their mistakes. It’s also more fun and engaging than a presentation and a slide show. 

CNTRD plans to use the properties of games to help people become better adapted to strategic settings.


CNTRD is Changing

Through piloting multiple gameplay simulations, CNTRD will be making business simulation games available as a service very soon! 

Our design philosophy is very simple: 

  1. Deploy well-researched concepts and frameworks from academia and industry 
  2. Create custom simulations that allow clients to practice making relevant choices
  3. We review the science and learning from the gameplay with the client

Our first business simulation will be based on the framework that a lot of my clients have loved in the past: The Competing Values Framework by Anjan Thakor. This is just a teaser for the future. More details to come!