General Simplification

Occasionally a user may wish to simplify the INTOPIA model. Reasons to do this may be a feeling that an undergraduate class might otherwise be overwhelmed by its complexity, that a limited number of features are to be highlighted, or that the time available is too limited for participants to master the admittedly numerous details.

The pressure of time may mitigate against companies being able to master the initial entrepreneurial decisions, and notably defining the concept of the business in terms of products, regions, functions performed, and clienteles served. The facilitator may elect to make these decisions in advance by constructing certain standard company profiles, such as being a chip manufacturer in the U.S., a PC maker in the EU, a world-wide wholesaler, or a vertically integrated electronics company in either of the two main regions. S/he may then simply allocate profiles to teams, or arrange an auction of different profile types. Another means of cutting through the intial "clutter of complexity" is to limit company activities to a single operating area for a few Qs.

It is also possible to eliminate the initial entrepreneurial decisions by letting teams in a later game simply begin their operations with outputs from companies in an earlier run (and not necessarily the last Q of that run).

Foreign currency management presents an area of intricacy to students as well as managers not generally exposed to it. For simplification purposes teams may be told that they may make use of several options of "automatic" conversion without any opprobrium with regard to performance evaluation. (Naturally, successful pursuit of active currency management is a plus.) In practice, most managers do not get directly involved in routine currency problems, but participants need to be reminded that other than temporary exchange rate changes inevitably affect the competitiveness of the countries (and firms) involved, and hence is (or should be) a major concern to every manager.

Other ways of simplifying the finance function is to place the simulation on a cash basis by setting the future amounts payable/receivable percentage rates to zero, and not to introduce any changes in currency exchange rates. Participants need not necessarily be told of the latter policy in advance. For suggested details of simplification, see the Itemized Simplification.
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Flexibility & Modularity
General Simplification
Itemized Simplification