In an article published by the FT today, “UBS woos clients with Churchill-era war games”, Dr. John Hulsman’s recent war games session with leading wealth management firm was praised for its ability to give organisations a more innovative way to engage with its top clients.
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.
Today The Times published an extract of Ed Balls’ soon-to-be-published memoir, Speaking Out: Lessons in Life and Politics, where he recounts playing a war game with Mervyn King and Callum McCarthy to test their strategy for a financial crisis.
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 >>
War games are something we know well at Chartwell. We represent Dr John Hulsman, one of the world’s leading war game practitioners for events worldwide. Find out more about what war gaming can do for your events.
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.
We are now working with Chris Paton a strategy expert and the UK’s leading Business War Game facilitator. Chris is a former Royal Marine who served as the Senior Strategy Adviser on Afghanistan to the MoD with responsibility for briefing the Cabinet Office.
Chris helps organisations and individuals consider their planning procedures to ensure that goals are achieved. To do this he deploys a method called a War Game which “stress tests” plans & identifies potential risks and opportunities.
For further information about Chris or his war games, contact our agents.
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.
You can watch a livestream of the war game here
For information about John hosting a War Games at your next event or conference, send us a quick email.