Introduction Students studying for construction-related degree programmes undertake a variety of modules designed to equip them with the technical skills needed when they go out into industry. However, how often are they given an insight into the challenges and decisions that face corporate management on a daily basis in the ‘real world’ ? ENGINUITY competitions bridge this gap, providing a practical and engaging supplement to undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and putting the “theory learnt into practice” in an inspiring leadership and management exercise. Using a sophisticated computer simulation, competing teams are given the task of managing a UK-based global construction business, with jobs, clients, competitors and people across different continents and countries, resulting in unique challenges and opportunities, which will require some special management skills to be successful. Each team’s progress against the other competing teams is based upon league tables based upon a number of Key Performance Indicators. ENGINUITY competitions have already been integrated into the annual teaching programmes of a number of universities in the UK and Worldwide.
Showcase Some of the Universities using ENGINUITY are outlined below.
The Task A fledgling UK-based multinational construction company, with its headquarters in London, has been trading for just one year. A new management team is needed to run the company for the foreseeable future. The first task facing the new management team is to form a business strategy to satisfy the high demands of the company's shareholders, who are keen to see a quick return on their investment. Although based in the UK, and subject to UK tax laws and interest rates, expansion into overseas markets, and different continents, may be an attractive proposition. A lot will depend upon the prevailing economic climate in the UK, and worldwide. Working in different countries will present some particular challenges to overcome, such as client restrictions, global competitors and environmental problems (extreme weather conditions, civil unrest, local labour problems etc). However, the potential rewards and opportunities of operating globally, such as worldwide client base, niche markets and lucrative large-scale contracts, may outweigh the risks. The decisions that have to be made each period, and the fate of the company, lies in the hands of the new management team.
Decisions are made for a period, which represents a quarter (3 months), in key business areas. Making Decisions
Timeframe Each team starts the competition with the same company, which has already been operating for one year. They must manage their company through 2 possible stages. Later Years (“Head to Head”) During the Later Years, the teams compete ‘Head to Head’ against each other for both new contracts, and for the services of the same key personnel, in particular project managers. This creates an even more uncertain environment in which the management skills, team dynamics, global market strategy and client relationships formed in the Early Years are put to the ultimate test. Early Years During the Early Years the management teams are competing for new work against simulated companies, based in particular countries, who may tender for work in their own country only, or worldwide. Each rival company has their own unique profile and tendering history, which has to be carefully scrutinised in order to formulate an effective procurement strategy for competing against them.
Measuring Performance The success of the company is determined by 10 key performance indicators. The indicators are all weighted at the start of the Early Years to reflect their variability, and initially sum to 1,000 at the end period 4. Each company’s progress against the other competing teams is based upon the total of the performance indicators using the Enginuity League Table, which is displayed on the competition web page at the end of each round.
Success of Failure The decisions that have to be made each period, and the fate of the company, lies in the hands of the new management team.
Managing The Global Business Corporate level Understanding the industry UK and worldwide Economic climate Availability of work Rival competition Client expectations Forming company strategy Satisfy stakeholders Improve asset value Achieve profitable growth Increase market share Manage risk Enhance company reputation Operational level Making key decisions Finance Marketing Overheads Procurement Construction Overcoming problems Changes in economy Job delays New competitors Changing client requirements Personnel issues Supply chain problems Management skills required Interpreting reports Measuring performance Analysing information Solving problems Making effective decisions Managing the global business involves demonstrating and developing a range of leadership and management skills. Key Features
Effective team working will be vital to ensure that the company runs smoothly. Team Working Deciding upon the structure of the team, individual roles, and who should lead the team Identifying strengths and weaknesses Resolving conflicts as they arise “I was team leader this year of my group in the Auckland and Canterbury Universities Enginuity Competition. I have thoroughly enjoyed the competition not only because I get to compete against my fellow University students but also because of what I have learnt about the nature of the multi-national construction industry. Enginuity has taught me a lot about business that I didn’t already know; in terms of all the decisions that a company is required to make and the impact that these have on its profitability and success. The competition models well the variability of the real world and hence the need to have strategic plans for any unexpected events that may occur. It has been a lot of fun working in a small group where I’ve formed some great friendships and learnt valuable teamwork skills. I highly recommend Enginuity and am thankful that I had the opportunity to compete in it.”
Assessment Having taken part in an ENGINUITY Competition, it is important to assess what the teams have learnt from taken part. The teams will need to describe :- The initial state of the company when they took over Their strategy for running the company during the early and later years A review of their performance against the initial objectives How their strategy was changed according to their progress The lessons learnt, their strengths and weaknesses, team dynamics etc The assessment can be delivered in a number of ways. A written Business Performance Report A slideshow presentation
How It Works Up and Running (Pre Competition) Participants split into teams, and registered for the competition Instructions, information and data ed to the teams to get them up and running Teams install the software, and have some time to practise learning how to play Enginuity, know as trialling Full 7-day support, with detailed feedback given to the teams The Competition (Played Remotely) A number of rounds played against computer-simulated rival companies, known as the Early Years A number of rounds where the teams compete directly against each other, ‘head to head’, known as the Later Years Assessment in a number of ways, such as presentations or business performance reports Feedback to review progress, strengths and weaknesses, and what has been learnt
Considerations When Setting Up A Competition W HERE ENGINUITY FITS IN Decide upon the appropriate course/module for the ENGINUITY Competition. TEAMS Number or students taking part Number of teams (between 3 and 6 team members is recommended) STRUCTURE Allow 3 weeks for trialling Number of weekly rounds of the Early Years Number of weekly rounds of the Later years Normally run over a 12 week semester with a :- 3/4/4 format for 10 or less teams (trialling / early years / later years) 3/8 format for more than 15 teams ASSESSMENT What format should assessment take :- Presentation Business Performance Report We will provide performance summaries in pdf format for each team at the end of the Competition. TOOLS/SUPPORT Software, tutorial and learning tools can be downloaded from the website Full 7-day support/feedback by We can deliver/provide introduction and feedback sessions Bespoke competition web page COST Depends upon the particular structure of the Competition, but guaranteed to be cost effective value for money.
Further Information Further detailed information can be obtained from the website at: or by or by contacting in the first instance Mike Fletcher Tel/Fax No: +44 (0)