Tower Builder

The goal in the game is to build a tower that is steady enough to reach the target. You do so by creating a steady base for the tower and by continuing to stabilize it as you go.

Your tower needs to maintain balance for a couple of seconds to complete the level. The levels increase in difficulty as you progress, where the goal points are higher to reach. When you play Tower Builder you also need to complete a survey. Together with your gameplay, this survey helps us research how to create a well-balanced team. Diverse teams have people with complementary skill sets that can be beneficial for solving complex tasks. However, it is often difficult to assess these skills before the teams have been formed. That is where Tower builder comes in to play.

The gameplay will give an indication to the level of a persons’ entrepreneurial traits. So, for example, you could be very strong on one parameter and medium-strong on another and weak on a third. This in-depth mapping of the level of your strengths and weaknesses are not easily assessed through self-reported surveys which is where the game really helps. The relative maps then provide a good overview that is used in the construction of teams or identifying weak spots in your own entrepreneurial profile.

What's the purpose?

  • Understanding what constitutes a well-balanced team
  • Creating a scientifically founded method for team-formation 
  • Understanding how optimal team formation is influenced by Entrepreneurial intent 

The science behind

“A need for a well-balanced team” is a well-known adage, be it in sports, organizations or startups. However, what comprises a well-balanced team and why should a team be “balanced” is difficult to answer. These are precisely the research questions that inspired and informed the development of Tower Builder. Additionally, a balance of skills and traits is crucial for teams to have the best possible start as they venture into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship.

So, if we were not using Tower Builder, what other methods could we use to study team formation? There are three basic methods commonly used when assigning student teams in Universities and schools: methods using random, self-selected (student) or instructor/facilitator-selected approaches[1].

Now let’s delve a little deeper into why one needs a well-balanced team. Already in 1996, it was found that teams of individuals with diverse thinking styles obtain better results than homogeneous teams (Hermann, 1996).

However, more recent work into team effectiveness has also found that while diverse groups outperform homogenous groups on complex tasks, routine problems are solved easier by homogenous groups (Watson, Kumar & Michaelsen, 1993; Higgs, Plewnia & Ploch, 2005). This means that when creating a balanced team we also need to take into account the context of the task being set. Tower builder was first developed in the context of Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is not just the starting of a new firm but it is also a way of thinking that tries to embrace uncertainty and creativity so that one can either discover or create an opportunity and exploit it to provide value for self and others including society as a whole (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). However, the entrepreneurial pathway is fraught with uncertainty and the path is seldom clear. It is here that the presence of a balanced team can help in the successful navigation of such uncertainty.


  1. Bacon, D. R., Stewart, K. A., & Anderson, E. S. (2001). Methods of Assigning Players to Teams: A Review and Novel Approach. Simulation & Gaming, 32(1), 6–17. doi:10.1177/104687810103200102
  2. Decker, R. (1995). Management team formation for large scale simulations. In J. D. Overby & A. L. Patz (Eds.), Developments in business simulation & experiential exercises (22) (pp. 128- 129). Statesboro, GA: Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning
  3. Felder, R. M., Woods, D. R., Stice, J. E., & Rugarcia, A. (2000). The future of engineering education II. Teaching methods that work. Chem. Engr. Education, 34(1), 26–39.