New Venture Exercise

The Food Truck Challenge

$50 / seat

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Simulation Overview

In this exercise, students play the role of an entrepreneur and strive to maximize their revenue over five simulated weeks by selling ice cream, frozen yogurt, or smoothies at various locations in the city of Boomtown. Working individually or in teams, students review basic market data, and then are faced with a choice: They can conduct additional market research, open a food truck immediately, or open a small pushcart. During each simulated week, students can modify their choice. Instructors choose from three scenarios available in the underlying model, each with different optimal outcomes — so students can play a second time after a debriefing session, and apply what they’ve learned, without knowing the solution as they attempt the exercise a second time.

Learning Focus

  • See the value of rapid prototyping in a changing environment
  • Understand how learning-by-doing may have advantages over research in some environments
  • Explore the challenging tradeoffs that leaders face as they launch a new product, service, or business
  • Practice making key decisions and adapting choices based on market feedback

Topics Covered

  • Design Thinking
  • Experimentation & Learning-by-Doing
  • Prototyping
  • Innovation
  • Product Development
  • Market Research

Additional Information


1 to 3 hours including introduction and debrief

This simulation is by Michael Roberto, Harvard Business School Publishing, and Forio

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