Day 48: The Sydney Apprentice

We woke up early for a full day challenge for the Business and Economics students. Each class had an intense, involved activity with a presentation at the end.

The Business class spent the day creating a marketing and branding campaign to bring the Canadian camping gear company Mountain Equipment Co-op to Sydney, Australia. They had to research demographics, look for prime storefront property, scout the competition, and design a localized campaign to reach customers. There was too much work for one person to do. In order to win, the groups would have to discuss their strengths, trust their leaders, delegate and work!

Meanwhile, the Economics students were working every minute on their own project. Economics is a great mix of human psychology and mathematics and we wanted to give them practical experience experimenting in this world. So the Economics students embarked on a full day challenge to create a system allowing individuals to optimize their own behaviour in strategies to reach victory. That’s right, they had to design a game. In the morning, the Economics class played some award-winning card games, like Bohnanza and Sushi Go, that are great fun and excellent for teaching lessons like opportunity cost through game mechanics. During the day, they designed the game, asked for advice at Sydney’s specialty game stores, and gathered arts and crafts to create a prototype.

Eight hours later, we all met up one last time in Rushcutters Bay Park for presentations. Yvee’s Business group stood out for their strong beginning using a tasteful “Welcome to Country” opening where they acknowledge the city of Sydney’s aboriginal heritage. This was something we had learned about from Lex, our local friend who spoke to the class, and proved to be a powerful connection. When the Business presentations had wrapped they headed over to the Economics students. The moment of truth had arrived. The Economics class had to watch others play their game armed only with the instructions. They watched, as flies on the wall, as their classmates tried to figure out the rules and have fun.

Sam, Sydney, and Olivia’s game, entirely based in players competing under different styles of auctions proved to be a real winner. At the same time, Nisey, Athena, and Ilana’s game caught fire for its faster paced style as players worked against AND with each other to develop their nations. It was a successful experiment with a lot of learning in real time. As Economists, they tried to account for how individuals would behave in their designed system. Reality can be a fast and cruel teacher to theorists. We were impressed by the amount of effort put in to the work, the class threw themselves at the assignment and created some worthy games. We hope to see all of our students’ products in stores soon!

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