Damen shipbuilding simulation

damen 180pxDamen has a leading position in modular ship-building based on standardised designs. This approach enables Damen to supply ships with short lead times and at competitive rates. With more than 30 shipyards and related companies around the world, Damen offers a broad range of ships including tugs, dredgers, mega yachts and high-speed ferries.


Dawn is a project within Damen Shipyards Gorinchem aimed at redesigning the processes. Standardisation and chain thinking are two key pillars. Within Dawn, change management plays an important role in gaining company-wide acceptance of the process and IT changes.


Damen asked Involvation to support its change management with the aid of a business simulation. In addition to classic learning through listening, the company was keen to use a business simulation because research shows that this active form of learning is an effective way of getting across complex material. Damen chose Involvation because of the organisation’s experience in developing business simulations, such as its well-known “The Fresh Connection” management game.

Ship-building simulation

The ship-building simulation that Involvation developed together with Damen took place on an extensive game board. The board showed all the phases involved in building a ship, from engineering, material coordination and purchasing to logistics, assembly and delivery. Drawings, components and hulls were moved around the game board until a physical ship had been built (out of Lego).

Learning objectives

The business simulation was played in small teams. Each team had to make choices at the various stages along the ship-building chain in order to construct a ship while ensuring optimal customer satisfaction, a short lead time and low costs. Chain thinking and standardisation were key areas of focus. Teams were directly confronted with the impact of their decisions on other parts of the chain.

The business simulation was played in several game rounds. In between each round, concepts of the Dawn project were explained and applied within the simulation. This method created a unique combination of conveying knowledge and directly applying that knowledge in practice.


After the prototype of the business simulation had been tested in pilot sessions with members of the Dawn project team, Involvation ran train-the-trainer sessions for a group of project leaders. These trainers are now well prepared to help hundreds of colleagues to experience the Dawn concepts for themselves, in line with the principle of: “To hear is to forget. To see is to remember. To do is to understand”.

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better
Sydney J. Harris