Local Sarasota Immigrant Jay Kurtz is a Business Wargamer
Jay Kurtz is a friend of ours – he and his wife are both immigrants – and a business wargamer. Business wargamer? – you may ask.
We all remember the traditional wargames with the big boards and the miniature soldiers. It so happens that the game of chess derives from an ancient wargame. Interestingly, the Germans held a wargame in 1944 which predicted the Allied landing at Normandy. It was ignored … largely because of the fake Allied army “commanded” by General Patton that tricked the Germans into thinking the Allies would land at Calais.
The American victory in the Pacific during World War II was due largely to every move being planned and tested beforehand in the gaming rooms of the Naval War College. Today, we play Risk or enjoy other strategy games on our computers
Today, businesses use wargames the same way the military does. A Business Wargame is a structured, disciplined, yet flexible process that can be used to help an organization to develop and test much more effective plans to succeed in the “future reality” that it will face. A Business Wargame can be conducted to simulate any level of an organization’s planning and operations, from grand strategy, through the strategic and operational levels, to front-line tactics.
In a Business Wargame, several teams are formed to represent and role-play the different entities that will affect the organization’s future. Depending on the situation being wargamed, these might include, for example, investors, the organization’s markets and customers, its employees, suppliers, channels, competitors, governments and regulators. Each team is assigned to “get into” the mindset of the entity it represents and to play its role as realistically as possible … seeing the world, making decisions and taking actions the way it would do in real-life.
Most Business Wargames require two or three days to conduct and involve several “playing rounds”. Doing so ensures that short term decisions and actions that might win the battle but lose the war are clearly identified.
A well prepared and conducted Business Wargame is an especially effective way to convert data and information into actionable intelligence that can be used to generate much more effective plans.
A Business Wargame usually involves the use of some very powerful maps and other tools. Depending on the situation and level of the Wargame, these might include any of Stakeholder Map, Market and Competitive Map, Silver Bullet Analysis, Decision/Selection Map and Probability/Impact Grid.
The process and its supporting tools have been used very successfully in a broad range of situations, for example:
- Planning a move into a new market or the launch of a new product
- Anticipating when and how a new competitor will move
- Assessing a proposed merger, alliance or strategic partnership
- Preparing to submit a bid for a large competitive contract
- Dealing with conflicts among owners, management, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders
- Testing contingency plans to deal with a variety of potential trends or events
Mr. Kurtz recently returned from a conference in Switzerland conducted by the International Institute for Management Development, where he introduced Business Wargaming to 42 executives representing 30 companies and 25 different countries. He spoke to them about how Business Wargaming has been used by a wide variety of organizations … global giants, medium-sized companies, smaller, entrepreneurial ventures as well as several governments.
If you are interested in learning more about Business Wargaming, you can contact Mr. Kurtz to obtain a copy of a list of articles, white papers and other documents he has written. These are all available on a “professional courtesy” basis. You can reach him at: JayKurtz@businesswarriorsinc.com