Intopia - Independent Review




At present, we have only one full-fledged review of INTOPIA, written by Professor Peter Palij of Columbia University. Dr. Palij's review appears in Simulation & Gaming journal, Dec. 1995 (Vol. 26, No. 4), pp. 524-527. Individual reprints for scholarly purposes are available upon request from INTOPIA, Inc., 2604 E. Second Street, Bloomington, IN 47401, USA. Fax (24 hours): (812) 333-5075, or email thorelli@indiana.edu.

For present purposes a few quotes from the article will have to suffice:

"On the surface, student play follows a relatively standard pattern. Each firm receives limited initial capital and for each country must allocate the capital between plant and equipment, research and development (product and process), marketing activities, financial management, and shareholder dividends. Specific allocations depend on the firm's goals, general economic conditions, consumer demand, interfirm alliances, and interfirm competition. These decisions are described by way of a series of brief electronic forms, each focusing on a specific type of decision. Once the decisions for a period are complete, the firms turn in their decision floppies (now: email in their decision files). The administration program (now: Master Program) then reads the decisions for processing. The facilitator may adjust economic and firm-specific variables (e.g., inflation, price freezes, labor strikes) before the simulation processes the decisions. Finally, the firm results and any purchased marketing research studies are written to the student floppies (now: FORMIN) and the next decision cycle begins. If kept paperless (encouraged by the structure of the simulation), the processing of a decision for a simulation with 20 firms requires less than 30 minutes on a modest 486 computer. Typical firm results generate 10 to 15 pages of printouts per period, depending on the amount of research purchased" (p. 526).

"The 163-page administrator's manual (Compendium) is the most comprehensive I have worked with...Similarly, the 165-page student manual (Executive Guide) leaves nothing out and includes a full set of decision forms. Both manuals are extensively indexed" (p. 525).

"The flexibility and breadth of INTOPIA raises it well above most simulations. Its international focus and requirement that teams integrate functional decisions into a cohesive set of actions make it a benchmark for measuring other competitive simulations" (p. 527).

Recently, Prof. Israel Nebenzahl, a beta-tester of B2B, stated in his report:
"By and large, the program is very easy to use."
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