Using war games to crowd-source geopolitical solutions

  • Wikistrat isn't a Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOG) company but it is a Massively Multiplayer Online Consultancy (MMOC).  

    Which makes Wikistrat a very cool sounding company but it does pretty serious work. Using a worldwide network of subject-matter experts via a patent pending crowdsourcing methodology, the company can provide insights that it claims are unavailable anywhere else. 

    The company's online network can provide real-time analysis of geopolitical events through multi-player simulations. 

    Wikistrat can also create customized forecasting models as well risk management and strategic planning solutions based on its models.

    It is a fascinating application of gamification, and does provide an alternative planning model for intransigent or blocked organizations. It's kind of very democratic in assessing solutions, we guess, because of the unique approach to crowdsourcing a solution to devising strategy.

    Wikistrat aims to solve a common problem faced by most governments and organizations when generating strategies: “groupthink.” Such entities can devise a diverse set of strategies, but they always seem to find their resolution in the most popular answer.

    In order to break group thinking, Wikistrat carries out geopolitical simulations that work around “collaborative competition.” The process involves:

    Securing analysts: Wikistrat recruits a diverse group of analysts who are experts in certain fields and located in different strategic places.

    Competing with ideas: These analysts are placed in an online environment where, instead of competing with each other, one analyst contributes an idea, then other analysts create 2-3 more ideas based on the initial idea.

    Breaking group thinking: Now the competition becomes only about ideas. People champion the ideas they care about rather than arguing with other analysts. That’s when Wikistrat breaks group thinking and helps their clients discover ideas they may have never considered before.

    Gamification occurs when analysts create different scenarios for a specific angle or question the client raises. Plus, Wikistrat’s global analyst coverage is so good that they tout having at least one expert in every country. They accomplished this by allowing anyone—not just four-star generals—to register as an analyst. However, applicants must submit a resume and a writing sample, as well as pass a face-to-face interview.