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What My Kids are Learning about Business from Pokemon Go

Since its launch in July, Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm. Some days it feels like the heart of its stronghold may be our household with its three young boys who have been taking stacks of Pokemon cards to school to ‘battle’ with their friends for a few years now. Every time we leave the house to walk or drive somewhere, they request my phone so they can work on catching a new character or gather more stardust and candy. They are all about ‘leveling up’. Their dad thinks it has become an obsessive act and although I do not consider myself a permissive parent, I’m not fussed by their enthusiasm. Here’s why.

1. They are learning about trade-offs.

  • Evolve 4 Gastlys into a Haunter using up 25 candy each, earning 2000 experience points or evolve a Haunter into a Gengar for 100 using 100 Gastly candy, earning only 500 points? My 8 year-old says go for the Gengar that will help him perform better in the gym.

2. They are evaluating things critically.

  • A Lickitung and a Rattata just spawned. Who should we try to catch? Rattatas appear several times a day, whereas a Lickitung may appear once a month. The rare Lickitung definitely wins.

3. They are making strategic investments.

  • One of my boys really likes the Hitmonlee character, but do we really want to spend our limited Stardust on it when it only has 64 combat power? Instead, they decided to invest in the Snorlax that came out of its egg with 1504 points. We can keep spending our Stardust on it and get to the 2000 points we need to be effective in the gym battling other powerful characters.

4. They are managing inventories of raw materials and finished goods.

  • The ‘warehouse’ size for storing Pokeballs and Potions and other inputs to the process have a limited capacity. We’ve got to manage our reserves as well as our mix. If we get too many potions, we have no room for balls which is the only way to catch new Pokemons. Alternatively, we can spend our very precious Pokecoins on upgrading our warehouse’s capacity.

  • To fit new Pokemons into storage, we’ve got to sell some of what we have. We trade this to the professor for Candy, a form of Pokemon currency. They’ll be good supply chain managers yet!

5. They are prioritizing what activities are most productive and profitable.

  • If we want to level up, what is a strategy to help us do that? They’ve learned that if they save up all their evolutions which earn 500 experience points and use a Lucky Egg that doubles their points, they can earn about 75,000 points in 30 minutes flat. Now that’s some good ROI and a smart use of resources. But it requires patience that 8- and 6-year-old boys have trouble with, so they are learning to delay gratification too.

6. They are working towards short and long-term objectives.

  • We want to earn 80 Pokecoins so that we can buy a Lucky Egg once we save up a bunch of Pokemons to evolve. That’s going to take some work getting our Pokemon into gyms and earning 10 coins when we do that. No coins? No egg, sorry, kids. You’ve got to work for it.

  • My 8-year-old in particular wants to get to at least Level 30 because he sees other Trainers in gyms who have achieved this level of seniority. Let’s walk and play more, Mom! These kids want to be promoted.

For these reasons I don’t mind if they want to play. I’m supporting their development as employable, goal-driven, strategically-minded kids. And if I have found a way to make that kind of learning for them fun, I’m all in.

Sherry Pedersen-Ajmani is an Organizational Development consultant in Toronto and Principal at Talentcraft. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter @SP_talentcraft.

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