Adapting to a Startup Spirit by Playing

Courses, Camps, Incubators: Startup Founder Education is Wide. Anyone who switches to a startup as a former employee of a large company would best prepare by participating in a business simulation. DiG Associate Ruediger Petrikowski is heavily involved in the startup community as mentor at Fintech Incubator F10 in Switzerland. F10 uses the DiG – Discovery – InnovationGrowth  business simulation to select its future startups.  DiG allows to see how teams are able to work together, learn from each other and their failures and think in multiple scenarios and options to develop appropriate concepts for exponential economic growth.

Experienced employees from large companies who are attracted to startups are an important element of successful startup ecosystems. With their experience and their networks, they can significantly advance the development and scaling of a new company. In this respect, it is an important trend, in Switzerland more and more startups can recruit employees with this experience.

Petrikowski explains the conditions in a large group differ from a startup. The approach, such as pricing or market strategies that work well in corporations, will often be less successful in a highly innovative, unknown small business. “Employees who come from large companies will automatically try to transfer their experiences”. 

Among other things in this incubator, Petrikowski uses a game. “In this game, for example, participants need to think in multiple scenarios and options to develop appropriate concepts for exponential economic growth without relying solely on the traditional milestone approach,” explains Petrikowski. In particular, employees with experience from large companies get an impression of the special features and conditions that make startups. At first, it seems surprising to address important and conflicting topics through a game, but the results of research about learning support this path. “It is undisputed that learning sticks more efficiently while participating in a  game compared to traditional courses or group work,” says Petrikowski.

The game called DIG – Discovery  Innovation  Growth-  was developed at INSEAD. It’s a business simulation where three to five participants take over a business of one-year-old and have to bring an innovative product to the market. The insights that participants gain in half a day are enormous. There is much to learn about the right team composition and roles in the team. For example, it is possible to learn about the difference in pricing strategies of a startup in comparison to a global market leader. But existing similarities are also evident. “For both worlds, for example, innovation and good customer loyalty mean that profitable growth is possible,” says Petrikowski.

That the game really leads to findings, Petrikowski sees not only when used in startup programs; he has also experienced this himself. When he played through the simulation he realized one thing above all else: “Different perspectives have to be represented in a startup team. It just does not only need execution minded people, but also visionary and creative minds. “At the same time, he’s known another advantage of the game – it’s more fun than any good traditional education.

The original article published in German by Stefan Kyoracan can be found in the Startup Ticker

Ruediger Petrikowski is DiG Associate and heavily involved in the startup community as partner at Leverage Experts for the CFO & M&A Advisory Practice, board member of the Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC) and mentor at Fintech Incubator F10.



DiG – Discovery Innovation Growth – The purpose of the game is to create the appropriate competencies, attitudes and behaviour to power customer-based growth in a business. It can be used over a period of  minimum 3- 4 hours. Web-based, it can be used easily with any PC or tablet without local installation.