Interview with Sylvain Daudel, Director of Family Business Centre, EDHEC Business School
In collaboration with Deloitte, the EDHEC Family Business Centre developed Pandora®, the first “serious game” for family businesses. The simulation reproduces decision-making within the fictional Sanchez family business. Users are guided through the Sanchez’s family history, and are presented with the challenges and strategic decisions they face. The aim of the game is to teach users about corporate finance by finding financing options within the family firm context. Tharawat spoke to Sylvain Daudel about the effects of gamification on family business education.
What was your vision for Pandora®?
Our starting point was based on intuition. People in family businesses have little exposure to capital restructuring options and their possible consequences. We wanted to build a simulation that would present the differences between key financial options, like private equity, bonds (convertible or not), asset sales, IPOs, debt, and so on. We knew we needed to situate such an educational tool within a ludic environment to attract family members with little knowledge in finance.
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What do you believe are the advantages of the gamification of learning?
Gamification helps present information in a playful way and also promotes teamwork. Pandora® is played in groups over the span of one day. Participants receive a lot of background information about the family and business through an interactive interface. They can meet the family, send messages, explore the business, and retrieve the information they need to help make decisions at a later stage.
How did students react to the experience?
People love the story-telling aspect of the game. They like to meet the Sanchez family characters, some of who remind them of people in their own family.
The family and business narrative is simple and complete. It is not too complex to absorb and, at the same time, presents a real challenge to understanding the various issues and options. People who have played Pandora® so far have found that time passes quickly and that they have many fruitful discussions.
What particular characteristics of family business education lend themselves to gamification?
I think many different types of “games” can be developed. They will never replace actual experience and academic frameworks that have already proven so useful. “Serious games” can become very good complementary tools that help tackle particular issues of governance, finance, and family communication. They offer a safe place to experiment.
Tharawat Magazine, Issue 27, 2015