How are you planning for the future during this extremely uncertain time? While not a crystal ball, wargaming provides a risk-free way to pre-test business plans based on the rapidly changing regulatory and economic landscape we all find ourselves in. While business is slow for so many industries, this is a great time to keep your team engaged and thinking strategically about how you (and your competitors) can move forward!
Advantages can include:
- The chance to practice scenarios before they unfold…to sometimes unforeseen ends: When making a business decision, it is hard to keep all of the relevant information in mind, especially when you are trying to put yourself in the minds of several competitors at once. In a wargame, each competing team is typically only responsible for portraying the position and habits of one actor. Instead of trying to whiteboard a web of cascading decisions, simulations let them unfold naturally in sometimes unexpected directions
- Exposing underlying mental models, implicit assumptions, and knowledge gaps: Post-simulation analysis is the perfect time for a little team introspection: Did any cognitive barriers, like groupthink or confirmation bias, come into play? Were team dynamics healthy and constructive? It is important to not only consider the scenario inputs and end results, but how players processed them.
- Increasing sensitivity to competitive forces, industries dynamics, and the company’s market: Since a wargame that lasts a few hours or days might simulate years of business operations, the shortened feedback loop allows participants to more easily grasp strategic insights that might otherwise be lost in real time (and without the consequences!) Actually “living” a long-term scenario helps sensitize participants to competitive dynamics and nascent market signals in day-to-day operations.
While preparing a wargame can be an extensive effort, the resulting insight and experience can be well worth it.
- Correia, Cynthia Cheng. “War Games: Gaining Advantage on the Business Battleground.” Directions Magazine. 17 Aug. 2006. Web. 20 Sep. 2016
- Murphy, John. “5 Reasons Why Business Wargaming Should be Part of Your Strategic Planning.” LinkedIn. 16 May 2016. Web. 20 Sep. 2016
- Schwartz, Jan Oliver. “Business wargaming: Developing foresight within a strategic simulation.” Technology Analysis & Strategic Management. 21.3(2009): 291-305. DOI: 10.1080/09537320902750590 ResearchGate. Web. 20 Sep. 2016