The Saturn Parable

Participants are members of the Enceladus Expedition, the first commercial space mission

Instructor-led - Alternate Reality Course
Skills you'll learn
  • Team Leadership
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Organizational Leadership
Time commitments
Experience duration:
8 hours
Touch points:
Intro, midway, and final debrief lectures
Learning time:
2-part team based game experience
Full details below

Advanced Leadership and Strategy

Coming soon!

Acting in teams of 4-6 people, participants play the role of members of the Enceladus Expedition, the first commercial space mission to Saturn’s moon Enceladus, whose south pole provides the only reliable source of liquid water beyond Earth. The UN, hoping to speed up the terraforming of Mars, has offered this valuable resource to whomever can claim it, and the Expedition is not the only effort to try to do so. The players find themselves racing against two other rival commercial missions, with the first to successfully land near the south pole gaining mining rights worth nearly a trillion dollars. A second ship can secure a lesser claim, worth billions, while the third would get nothing. Of course, this assumes that the missions can avoid complete disaster…

Though the setting is fictional, the debrief connects the lessons to the real world, revealing that the challenges encountered by participants are actually the same as those faced by organizations like Amazon, Apple, NASA, and Boeing. The skills learned in the game are immediately applicable to work environments, and research shows that these skills will be more deeply integrated and retained longer than might be accomplished with other methods.


The Saturn Parable - are you Game?

The Experience

The simulation itself has two parts: the first challenges participants to use their strategic and organizational leadership skills to build a winning strategy against multiple rivals, while keeping their team intact. The second phase is built to create a crisis environment, where participants must overcome to save the damaged ship before it lands. During both phases, every choice the participants make is evaluated, and used for a detailed debrief, as well as personal feedback to help people improve their leadership skills.

How our experiences work

Access teaching materials, support and notifications every step of the way

Setup

Configure for your learning objectives, set up classes in the experience

Players Prepare

Invite learners to enroll and set up their groups

Play

Run the experience and access support and notifications as you go

Debrief

Summarize the experience for your learners and the outcomes

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Lessons of The Saturn Parable include:

  • Process loss: hidden profiles, miscommunication, Abilene Paradox, groupthink, role conflict
  • Science of team management: Chartering, psychological safety, coordination, motivation
  • Action teams: closed loop communication, after action discussions, backing up
  • Determining strategic action under pressure
  • Ambidexterity and planning for the future while executing today
  • Expected value and decision-tree based planning
  • Goal setting, goal communication, and delegation
  • Motivating organizational change
  • Managing organizational conflict

Team Leadership in Crisis and Normal Times

  • Process loss: hidden profiles, miscommunication, Abilene Paradox, groupthink, role conflict
  • Science of team management: Chartering, psychological safety, coordination, motivation
  • Action teams: closed loop communication, after action discussions, backing up

Strategic Leadership

  • Determining strategic action under pressure
  • Ambidexterity and planning for the future while executing today
  • Expected value and decision-tree based planning

Organizational Leadership

  • Goal setting, goal communication, and delegation
  • Motivating organizational change
  • Managing organizational conflict

Authors

Ethan Mollick - Headshot

Ethan Mollick

Co-Founder and Faculty Director

Read Ethan's Bio