In thinking about real options (not about securities, but about future choices, such as the possibility of expanding the factory three years from now and the need to spend money now to make the foundation stronger if we want to have the chance/option of doing so), . . .
and how they might be taught outside of a mathematically mature audience, I see that the basic ideas of finance that our students might learn, without any mathematics beyond
--expectation (prob x $)
--time value of money (interest rate), and
--a notion of variance (volatility).
All these surely have complications galore, but the basic ideas are straightforward.
N. Kaza suggests: "the link between uncertainty and irreversibility: The larger the cost of reversibility an action and higher the uncertainty about the effects of the action, the longer we wait before committing to it. Also it becomes cheaper to seek information and make plans while waiting, which can potentially reduce uncertainty."