Fligby as an asset for entrepreneurship students

An interview with Dr. Fernando Almeida, Engineer/Professor of the Polytechnic Higher Institute of Gaya


Prepared by Dr. Zoltan Buzady, Director of the Global Leadership & Flow Network

Dr. Almeida, you are a top scientist in your field of Science & Technology and now teach also Entrepreneurship. What are your observations when using FLIGBY as a platform to help entrepreneurship learning?

The present context encourages the emergence of a growing number of entrepreneurs. For this reason, the qualification of entrepreneur’s candidates is a priority in the European Union. In this sense, universities have created courses and specific subjects of entrepreneurship, as an alternative to the young professionals who graduate each year and enter the job market.

So what is meant by ‘Learning Entrepreneurship’?

However, in the scientific and business communities there is no consensus on the theory of entrepreneurship learning. On the one hand, there are those who argue that entrepreneurship has to be lived in the day-to-day and cannot be taught. On the other hand, there are also those who defend that entrepreneurship is based on management knowledge and skills that can be acquired and assimilated in a classroom. About this issue, and not wanting to defend one or another position, it becomes clear that entrepreneurship contemplates mastery a set of truly multi-disciplinary skills and knowledge. The innate characteristics of the entrepreneur are important, but they must be worked in real and/or simulated context. Therefore, serious games appear as tools with a potentially significant role in the context of a university classroom. They offer the entrepreneur the possibility to test different scenarios, pose unexpected challenges and foster creativity and the ability to solve challenges.

Now we also use technology and could-services for teaching and training Flow-promoting Leadership, but who is FLIGBY useful for your field?

FLIGBY gives us an insight into the business management process. The game aims to promote the concept of flow and, through it, analyze the potential of a manager’s leadership. The various scenarios of the game are very well built and the player feels that he has an active and central role in the management process of a winery company. The various characters have their own personality and, consequently, different motivations for the exercise of their functions. One of the most interesting aspects is the interaction of the various characters with the player, but also the interaction between the characters themselves. Throughout the 23 scenarios of the game, a number of different challenges arise, particularly in terms of conflict management, team management, and leadership. Finally, we highlight the role of the consultant who gives us a vision of our own performance, highlighting what we did well, which we didn’t do so perfectly and what could be improved.

What are the challenges in this?

In the process of entrepreneurship learning, we have seen that one of the main difficulties is to show the students the difficulties experienced by the promoters in the real field. For this purpose, it is common practice to bring to the classroom the experiences faced by successful entrepreneurs, but also those who have embarked on the entrepreneurial adventure and experienced various difficulties. It is often these less positive experiences that make us reflect and learn from them. However, the challenges that will appear on the business market for each promoter will necessarily be different, since each of us has its own unique personality and capabilities to deal with the challenges in each area. It is precisely in this area that FLIGBY becomes more useful because the challenges that will be faced by the player depending on their own actions throughout the game.

What is your evaluation of FLIGBY after all?

My opinion, based on my experience as a teacher, researcher, and entrepreneur in the area of creating new technology-based businesses is that FLIGBY can be an important asset for students in an entrepreneurship course. In this sense, it can be used as a complement to classroom activities and, thereby, enrich students’ experiences and increase their level of enthusiasm for launching their own business. There is potential to explore the adoption of the game in a greater number of scenarios, which will further enhance the attractiveness of the game by future entrepreneurs.

Thank you for your interview. We are happy to sponsor your academic plans to further explore FLIGBY in a pilot training with your participants, and our readers shall read more about this new cooperation also in future. Best wishes! Zoltan

Details and contact:

Dr. Fernando Almeida obtained in 2010 a degree as Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto (FEUP). He has also Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a Bachelors degree of 5 years in Engineering Computer Science and Computation. He has worked for 15 years in several positions as a software engineer and project manager for a large organization and researcher centers like Critical Software, CICA/SEF, INESC TEC and ISR Porto. During that time, he had the possibility to work in partnership with big international organizations and universities in several European projects in the field of information systems and multimedia applications. He is currently a professor at ISPGaya and researcher at FEUP and INESC TEC in the Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship. His current research topics include innovation management, entrepreneurship, serious games and big data.