Once I was Chair of Logistics Department at the University of Alaska Anchorage, I was asked to pay a visit to Hawaii for 2 weeks; I was a part of a brainstorming exercise into what Hawaii desired to be known for. My Dean and I shipped off to Hawaii, together with Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska) and Senator Daniel Inouye (Hawaii).
We were engaging in a business transition exercise with about 100 other”experts.” At the end of the week, I had discovered that Hawaiian small business people wanted to add a new to their individuality that was not tourist, pineapple or numerous things that look, well, Hawaiian. I purchased five Hawaiian shirts many Alaskans wear in the summer. Ultimately, I learned two things. One was that some leaders in Hawaii desired to be known for biomass that is, burning all that green stuff that grows all of the time and product alternative energy sources. The next thing was seeing how a brainstorming session can be viewed in various viewpoints, not just from different ages of the participants or different cultures.
I returned to my campus with a renewed energy to find a means to harness this thinking into analyzing large or tactical logistics problems that Alaska has. Alaska does not appear to have any issues.
I’d also been operating in my previous career with the Depart of Defense (DOD) with RAND. While working with RAND, I learned about a tactical concept Named Assumption-Based Planning or ABP. You are able to download the ABP booklet from RAND and look up how ABP was utilized to consider different quite difficult issues, such as if the U.S. go to war or not? Now that is a big issue.
I had a Ph.D. that was less than a decade old and had utilized an analysis method to analyze different big subjects at three different viewpoints. One was from what I predicted the, one by one out of a. I came across this with crisscrossing the U.S. too many times each week throughout my DOD days. What you saw from the window at 30,000 foot of a city was substantially different as approached town in 10,000 feet, and far different when we landed.
Making the Game
What I devised was a business transitions war-game. The issues attacked were actual. One problem was how to save an Alaskan village about to be hauled into the sea by a raging ice storm, basically a storm in winter with big house-sized chunks of ice slamming into the coast instead of water as you get from Atlantic storms. Another was how to redefine the fish harvesting market of Alaska’s fishermen. From the army side, it had been not to make a deal with the Taliban instead of shooting at them. None of these are small problems. The replies are at a strategic level.
The arrangement of how to conduct a company transition war-game is to form three groups of pupils; just graduate students can perform. Executive-level graduate students are the perfect candidates. Each class consists of seven to eight students. Each class is given a separate user manual. These user manuals have a clear and comprehensive definition of the problem to resolve but from three perspectives. 1 user group is working at the 30,000 foot view of the problem. Another user group covers facets of the problem in the 10,000 foot standpoint. And the next group is on the floor, up close, at the ice waves and village houses and villagers themselves; this is actually the one-foot view.
A key to the success is that all 3 groups would be to operate separately. 1 group is not to talk about what they use or assumptions they make with another group. If all three groups worked together, then only one alternative would form. Each of these three groups is in competition with one another. Their grade is based on creativity of critical thinking, being able to support each core assumption with details; no guessing is allowed. A suspect is not an assumption. This exercise takes 15 weeks or one full semester to finish.
Each group presents their investigation in document form and at a PowerPoint slideshow. Each demonstration usually lasts one to two hours.
How to Score the Outcomes
The estimate of the last demonstration is the audience. The audience is comprised of other pupils and members of authorities or private companies who have an interest in the probable solutions. In some cases, the pupils went into a printer and had their final report hardbound. It looks like the black book of a Ph.D. or master’s level dissertation. The grade for the last report is that the faculty member, their professor. So, half of the grade of each team member is your final report and half comes from the audience grade from the general presentation.
Does the warfare game work? You gamble. The Manager of Alaska’s Homeland Security office used the students briefing to present their answer into the ice storm problem. This director’s presentation had other agencies in the area prepared to present their analysis and suggestions. One big intelligence agency was impressed they scraped their presentation and wished to know how the Alaska Homeland Security office had come to their own decisions. Yeah. This process works.
Incorporation Into the Online Classroom
The trick is how to create this work in an internet academic world, one where the pupils are in an MBA program or grad or executive graduate program in logistics or other area where strategic decision making is part of the education, the training. This current version takes 15 weeks to finish. So, this timeframe might allow it to be a candidate for some in depth exam for a cohort of students. Taking this war game to the 8-week academic level is a bit of a struggle for a tactical issue. But, it may work. A more detailed description is found in my book,.
My question to you is how do we create such a strong analytical model work online and do this in 8 weeks? It can be done. I’m working with an adjunct scientist today who has replicated this process at a college in Texas for Boeing to help solve some very large issues. The solution could lie in the range and definition of the problem to be presented as well as the nature of the student audience.
Reference: Hedgepeth, W. O. (2007). . CRC Press.