Making lemonade

My children have been fascinated over the last couple of weeks by a lemonade stand game, which is now available as an app for iPhones and iPod touches but is apparently based on an earlier computer game from the 1980s (though I don’t remember encountering it).  In principle it’s a fairly simple business game, where you need to match production to the weather forecast.  There are some nice touches: for instance you can vary your lemonade recipe, and if there are roadworks near your lemonade stand there’s some uncertainty as to whether they will boost demand, because you’ll have thirsty workers coming to the stand, or will reduce demand because people won’t be able to get to you past the roadworks.

Whether it’s intentional or not, this does remind me of the beer game   initially developed at Massachussets Institute of Technology, and it does share with it one important message, that a business needs to account for external and often unpredictable factors.  However the lemonade stand doesn’t (as far as I can tell) include the factor which makes the beer game both realistic and challengin, which is the delay between making decisions and them having a practical effect

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