A war game is a moderated and time-limited simulation game in which competing players respond to simulated scenarios and attempt to achieve the best possible outcome for themselves. For corporations, a war game explores the key threats and opportunities to business strategies at any one time in more detail than any keynote speech could hope to cover.
This war-gaming session, devised by Chartwell and leading geopolitical expert John Hulsman, placed participants in two very different negative scenarios to test their assumptions about the top issues impacting on the financial and political landscape today.
Rather brilliantly, the event organisers used Churchill’s War Rooms to inspire competitors to consider the ramifications of their decisions during the game in a way they would not if held at their own premises.
War-gaming is a powerful way for organisations to test assumption and strategies before any resources are assigned to action and so they make an excellent event for companies faces tough choices or failing results. Normally, games are played internally so it’s refreshing for a company to invite their clients to take part and contribute to the conclusions drawn.
As noted within the FT article, “Greg Davies, a former head of behavioural finance at Barclays Wealth, says banks organise war games for their own staff but it is “very novel” to see clients invited to such an exercise.”
We look forward to seeing more companies embrace the power of war games to engage with their clients. If you’d like to book your own war-gaming session, please send us a quick email and we can provide more details and availability.
Interesting to note that this game was played only a few short months before the collapse of the US housing market and the consequential financial crash experienced across the world.
From Ed’s memoir:
It was a Thursday afternoon in late 2006. Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, Callum McCarthy, the head of the Financial Services Authority, and I were being presented with a dangerous and fast-changing financial war-game scenario, designed by our officials at my request to test out our mechanisms for dealing with a future financial crisis should one arrive. Read more >>
John has led War Games with many of the city’s leading political, financial and strategic minds to play out the geopolitical risks and strategies happening behind today’s headlines. If you’d like to host a war game for your colleagues or clients, do send us an email.
Posted at January 29, 2016, by Raleigh Addington, Comments Off on Media coverage for Open Europe’s war game on Brexit
On Monday 25th January political analyst and war gamer John Hulsman ran a Brexit war game for the think tank Open Europe.
The game ran through the day and featured some heavyweight players including Sir Malcolm Rifkind (playing the UK), former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Former Irish Taoiseach John Bruton, and Ana Palacio, former Foreign Minister of Spain. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who played the UK in the morning’s reform session, noted: “If this was the real European negotiation this would have been the first meeting of the heads of government and it would have gone exactly as its gone this morning, with all the concerns, legitimate criticisms, anxieties, national positions being put forward. In the last 20 minutes, last 30 minutes people have started focussing on ‘right, where do we go from here?’… I think there is a basis on which we can accommodate the United Kingdom position.”
Coverage of the game featured on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme. The Guardian newspaper thought that the game exposed how Britian might struggle to negotiate itself advantageous terms with its former EU partners. The Economist came to similar conclusions. Capx was more optimistic about a deal being achievable, but shared the impression that real-life negotiations would be messy. Media across Europe reported Enrico Letta’s warning that British government would be unwise to hold a referendum during the summer, when it would likely take place against a backdrop of mass movement of refugees and migrants looking to settle inside the European Union.
Norman Lamont, the former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, who played Britain during the Brexit negotiations, was more relaxed. Watch him talking to the BBC’s Daily Politics show, arguing that ionce tempers had cooled a mutually beneficial free trade deal should be negotiable.
Posted at September 17, 2014, by Raleigh Addington, Comments Off on Leading geopolitical analyst John Hulsman believes that the “fate of the Special Relationship is on the line” as Scotland votes
In advance for tomorrow’s City A.M., geopolitics speaker Dr. John C. Hulsman outlines what the Scottish vote decisively means for the special relationship, a wholly uncovered and crucial angle of why this tomorrow’s vote is so vitally important. Read his opinion piece in full below:
“I only lost it once on 9/11. It was some time after the third plane hit the Pentagon that early September morning. Working flat out at the Heritage Foundation on Capitol Hill, I was dimly aware the phone was ringing incessantly, as my staff went on with the important job of working out who was behind the atrocity.
My Chief-of-Staff came running down the hall, saying there was an overseas call I’d want to take. Absent-mindedly I picked up the phone, to find myself on the line with Dominic Cummings, an old UK friend from the successful anti-euro campaigning group Business for Sterling. ‘How are you?’ ‘Terrible.’ ‘But not half as bad as they are going to be, once we catch the bastards. Godspeed, amigo.’ And then he hung up. And then I lost it. For there was someone else, out there in the world, who was entirely on my side.
Yet the US-UK Special Relationship, for all the rose-hued Churchillian odes delivered at so many conservative dinner parties, has never been an easy thing to love. Rather, it has always reminded me of the scratchy, irritable, but ineffably close bond exemplified by Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We are perpetually annoyed with each other—as the Brits wonder at how these simplistic yahoos came to run the world and the Yanks marvel at such arrogance fronted by people several generations removed from running an empire—and yet we always come out shooting at the Bolivian army together, without it ever crossing either of our minds that there really is an alternative.
That is the real magic of the thing and what stands to be lost if Scotland votes to leave the union. For as Sir John Major presciently said the other day, it is a matter of standing; it is primarily a question of perception. It is not that anything will institutionally change if Scotland votes to go its own way. What is left of the UK would still retain its UN seat, will still be a close partner with Washington in NATO, will still share intelligence as a charter member of the Anglosphere-dominated 5 eyes grouping (along with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).
But beneath this thin veneer of business as usual the UK ship of state will have been fatally torpedoed below the water line. Already, years of hollowing out of its military capability has left its armed forces on the perilous edge of being able to—along with just the US and France in NATO—perform full-spectrum operations in the field. If Scotland (along with its share of GDP) left, there is little doubt this seminal ability will be beyond what remains of the UK. This practical diminution matters, even more than the symbolic calling into question of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
More devastatingly, there is absolutely no doubt that the global perception will be that a fractured UK, hopelessly split asunder, is a proud place which has at last given up all pretence of playing a significant role in the world. Our common enemies would rejoice in this outcome.
Friends like America—bewildered and not quite understanding the whole thing—will sadly wonder at the reason for the suicide of its closest and most enduring ally. Increasingly, London will be seen as just another well-meaning, if marginal, European ally. Of course, everyone will adjust to the new reality, but there is no getting away from the fact that at the next moment of global crisis, there will be no one on the line, as blessedly there was for my 9/11 call.
Why should anyone in Scotland care about this? For the simple fact that Scots will never again—and I say this as someone who spent the best eight years of my life there—play on the global stage in the important manner they have over these last centuries. It is vital Scots continue to punch well above their weight in the global arena; this can only happen if the union endures.
In the end, if the last decade teaches anything, it is that in an era of multipolarity even the most powerful country in the world is desperately in need of true friends and allies prepared to work with it when the chips are down. Today, the day of the all-important ballot, every western effort for jointly ordering this fractious planet starts with a phone call between Washington and London. Long may this state of affairs continue to endure.”
To find out more about John Hulsman, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.
Posted at September 2, 2014, by Raleigh Addington, Comments Off on John Hulsman, geopolitics speaker, argues that “in this high-stakes poker game, Vladimir Putin holds most of the cards in Ukraine”
Writing on the continued crisis in Ukraine, Dr John Hulsman, president and co-founder of the global political risk consultancy John C Hulsman Enterprises, has look at how and why sanctions have become a busted flush for the West, and why Putin holds most of the cards in Ukraine.
With Putin upping the ante by sending in military reinforcements across the border, the strategic tide has turned, bolstering separatists and forcing the West to reveal its hand. However, with war against Putin rightly off the table, and as truly crippling sanctions – originally threatened to be implemented within the week – are unlikely to happen as they could harm a sclerotic Europe at least as much as Russia, John argues that “Europe has made it very clear that it’s bluffing.”
John believes this situation has occurred because “Russia simply cares more about what happens in Ukraine than either the US or any of the major European powers. Moscow is therefore prepared to invest more to achieve its desired outcome.” Europe’s energy dependence on Russia remains it’s Achilles Heel, as John argues that at present “imposing Iran-style sanctions on Russia would certainly throw Europe into a desperate energy crisis.” Read the full report published in The Telegraph.
For more about Dr John Hulsman as a geopolitical speaker or to book a War Games for your next conference or event, send us a quick email for his fees, expertise and latest availability.
Posted at June 30, 2014, by Raleigh Addington, Comments Off on Keynote speaker John Hulsman on understanding risk tolerance
Dr John Hulsman, senior columnist at City A.M., discusses risk tolerance, and argues that if investors want to predict the future evolution of geopolitical situations – the US’s involvement in Iraq, Europe’s relationship with Ukraine, and Iran’s nuclear programme deal – they would do worse than to understand human psychology.
Working with psychotherapist Lara Palay, John fuses her expertise with foreign policy analysis, pointing out to investors that the links between the two crucially determine how risk analysis works. They argue that one of the central elements of a human personality is the ability to tolerate the unknown; all humans desperately need to feel in control, and that to feel safe means being reasonably able to predict the future.
Consequently, they believe that “relative tolerance of uncertainty (and its immediate implication, risk) determines how open one will be to trying new things, trusting others, or compromising. Crucially, nations – composed of human beings – naturally reflect this trait. More than anything else, a nation’s specific risk tolerance explains its overall foreign policy orientation, serving as the vital bridge between ideology and action, as they translate a country’s feelings about the world into practical analysis.”