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I want to take the occasion of the start of the New Year to introduce our latest game simulation, a seven-party multilateral negotiation engagement that we have created jointly with our friends and partners at Meraki Approach and already tested with selected clients before a larger rollout in 2019.

In this highly interactive 3 to 4 hour simulation, the representative of a large big-box retailer has been charged with successfully opening a new store in the suburbs of Phoenix. To do that, he needs the buy-in not only from his shareholders but also from a variety of fairly diverse stakeholders, all of whom will be affected by the project. These include the property developer who is leasing the land, an environmental advocacy group, a representative from the Arizona Department of Labor, a consumer choice lobbyist, a representative of the local United Way and a Chinese supplier. The objective is to negotiate a “six-win” agreement that leaves all better off and creates consensus to move forward with the project.

The game is designed to teach multilateral negotiation, but also to bring the value of the principles of conscious business into focus. Participants will experience first-hand how thinking about stakeholders as well as shareholders and putting the principles of Conscious Capitalism into practice creates significant value for all parties and leads to a greatly improved overall negotiation result. They are challenged to think creatively and systemically about solutions that go beyond the classic bottom line and reflect values as well as interests.

While a number of similar multiparty simulations are on offer at Harvard and other places, this one is unique in that it is designed (at least in its debrief) as an “open” system: results are not only computed within the predefined limits and scores of the issues that have been built into the game, but participants soon realize that there is significant additional value to be had by connecting the dots between further opportunities that are contained in the individual confidential instructions, provided they communicate effectively with the other parties and identify hidden common ground. Thus, in a best case, they can go beyond the “solution” and “break the box” of the game itself.

The game is (so far) analog paper-and-pencil, with intentions to eventually digitize it in a Web-based app. More information is available from either Rational Games or Meraki Approach, and we would welcome your inputs on further design. We are also available to facilitate it directly pretty much anywhere in the world.

Comments more than welcome. Happy New Year!


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