Newtonian Shift

Business Strategy Simulation for a Transitioning Energy Sector

Experience the energy transition from different perspectives in this immersive gaming workshop.


The MaRS Advanced Energy Centre’s (AEC) mission is to foster the adoption of innovative energy technologies in Canada, and to leverage those successes and experiences into international markets. As the energy sector’s innovation partner, the AEC looks at disruption holistically and enables actors to practically activate innovation in order to be successful. The AEC is neutral third-party, experienced in convening stakeholders and designing and facilitating workshops, delivering more than 25 Newtonian Shift sessions to over 700 participants across North and South America.


Newtonian Shift offers the opportunity to test new business models and partnerships in a changing energy landscape.

With the growing adoption of disruptive technologies, evolving customer expectations, and the emergence of new market entrants, we are in the midst of a major transition. Companies that recognize this transition position themselves for success as valued, innovative solution providers.

How will your business adapt to the changing dynamics of the electricity sector? Is your organization aligned on the need for change?

Newtonian Shift is a unique business strategy workshop. Unlike insights delivered through traditional conferences and meetings, participants actively explore and react to the dynamics of the system. This room-sized board game simulates multiple years of energy-sector transformation in one day, exploring the impacts of new technologies, business models, partnerships, and policies. In one day, participants examine the complexity and dynamics of the energy transition from multiple stakeholder perspectives: private customers, large energy consumers, communities, utilities, new market entrants, and government.


The session combines evidence-based analysis and facilitated debrief sessions to extract new insights into the evolution of the electricity system over the coming decades.

It sets the stage for a dialogue around innovation, new alliances, the evolving needs of customers, and how your organization is preparing for the opportunities this transition will bring. This interactive business strategy session has already been successfully delivered to leading organizations across North America, including the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Ontario Ministry of Energy, and Siemens.

The Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS and Electricity Innovation Lab (e-Lab) at the Rocky Mountain Institute have partnered to deliver Newtonian Shift. This exclusive game experience has been updated from the original version to more accurately reflect the dynamics of the North American electricity landscape.

AEC and e-Lab have engaged more than 600 sector leaders across North America in Newtonian Shift.


Delivery Formats

  • Mixed stakeholder session with participants from multiple organizations
  • Enterprise-level delivery within an organization or team

Newtonian Shift Includes

  • Expert facilitation from 5 trained professionals
  • A data-driven, tailored presentation that explores the drivers of change in your market, how the business landscape is shifting, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead
  • Room setup and logistics
  • Full-day game facilitation for 20-30 players
  • Post-game debrief and reflection tailored to your organizational objectives
  • Reflection summary capturing debrief insights and identifying action items

Participant Takeaways

  • Provides a wider view of the energy ecosystem and a better understanding of how current challenges and trends are affecting it, and learning how the system could evolve over time
  • Raises awareness of hidden cultural and organizational values and biases. The game provides an opportunity to experiment with new approaches without these constraints
  • Fosters an understanding of the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration as well as its challenges
  • Enables you to experience the sector from the perspectives of your organization’s key stakeholders, and to develop empathy and understanding for their position within the sector
  • Generates an appreciation of the tension between short-term and long-term priorities, and encourages the forming of solutions to achieve a better balance between these two trade-offs

What Others Are Saying About Newtonian Shift

    “As utilities, we were utilizing assets to feed our needs, benefit our system and meet our needs as well. Just as sunshine was curtailed in the game, this could happen to us in real life and we need to respond. That’s very realistic.”
    –Innovative storage company, February 2017 partner session

    “As a tool it was unprecedented in its impact at illustrating the complexity of energy systems change today.”
    –Jennie Stephens, Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy, Northeastern University

    “That’s exactly what we’re experiencing out there in the marketplace, there’s just so much uncertainty”

    “Everything is permitted that is not forbidden. Newtonian Shift encouraged us to think creatively about the problems we are trying to solve and how we can capture new lines of business and new customers.”


Download more info on Newtonian Shift here


If your organization is interested in hosting or playing the Newtonian Shift and would like more information, please fill out the form below: