As I liked to say, expectations rarely survive first contact with an experience. People learn much better by doing, and decision-making can be practiced just like any other skill.
My simulations are designed within a 3 week period, and are held at client offices. Participants assume their real roles, while I assume the role of Control or Red Cell. An average simulation for up to 15 participants or 5 teams, which includes 5 hours of pre-design consultation, 100 hours of design time, simulation facilitation (1 hour of pre-simulation briefing, a 4 hour simulation, and 1 hour of post-simulation debriefing), materials for all participants, and 4 hours of analysis, costs USD $20,000, exclusive of travel expenses.
Teams typically consist of members of Policy, Legal, PR/Marcomm, Developers/Designers/Programmers, and Information Security personnel. Simulation narratives are based on situations that the client has faced and dealt with poorly in the past, or questions that the client is seeking to answer. Injects, or pieces of information that drive the simulation narrative, are designed to look as authentic as possible, to resemble the pieces of information that participants work with on a daily basis. Subject matter experts design technical injects.
Examples of past simulations:
- Navigating the complexities for a tech firm operating in Turkey following the coup attempt
- Exploring the elements involved in investment in telecomm/tech in Cuba following the restoration of diplomatic relations
- Streamlining crisis response protocols across a tech firm's teams following a terrorist attack
If your team is dealing with issues such as poor communication, disjointed collaboration, ineffective crisis response, confusion regarding the chain of command, or other internal issues, a diagnostic simulation can identify the points of failure and provide an opportunity for staff members to experience breakdowns in processes from the perspective of their colleagues. This type of simulation allows team members to understand how their actions affect their colleagues' ability to do their jobs, and vice versa, and helps educate them in ways that they can contribute to improving communication, collaboration, and crisis management protocols.
If your team is struggling to make a decision, such as how to take a position on a major political issue, which new market to enter, where to open a new office, how to navigate a particularly complex business or security environment, or if you want to explore the potential consequences of a particular decision, an analytic simulation can allow decision-makers to see the decision from multiple perspectives and to practice different decisions, in a way that allows them to observe their likely consequences. This type of simulation is best suited for executives and strategists willing to consider a spectrum of possible viewpoints and potential actions before making a decision.
Once your team has identified its points of failure and ineffective procedures, a training simulation can allow for a team to practice newly designed procedures in order to make them feel confident in their ability to execute the new procedures and help them feel more empowered to act when a crisis, problem, or opportunity arises. This type of simulation can be scheduled to run once, or can be scheduled to repeat every quarter, to help on-board new employees or train for events that might occur on a regular basis. This is best suited for teams that have already taken part in a diagnostic simulation and addressed any problems identified during that experience.