Posted by Elena del Valle on April 17, 2009
For 25 years Benjamin Gilad, Ph.D. has helped large companies design and run competitive games to make determinations about product and service launches and strategy. This year, the former associate professor published a 223-page hardcover book, Business War Games How Large, Small and New Companies Can Vastly Improve Their Strategies and Outmaneuver the Competition (Career Press, $19.99), designed to make this concept accessible to everyday business people and small companies.
What are war games? An increasingly popular approach to making decisions at the highest echelons of corporate America. These games provide executives a simulation, often relying on sophisticated computer modeling, expert consultants and extensive exercises, to anticipate results, and how customers and the competition will respond to a proposed project launch. The basic concept is to explore ideas that can later, if successful in the games, be implemented in the business and survive in the market.
Gilad believes war games need not be costly or rely on expensive consulting services. In the first chapter of the book, he proposes that the every business person facing a decision involving competitors should have access to the games experience. According to him, they provide a way for decision makers to asses and estimate market changes; test applicable strategies; create and test plans to target the markets of competitors or anticipate threats from competitors; and protect new products and services when they are introduced into the market.
To explain the concept and how to take advantage of it, he divided the book into four sections: From Sand Table to Boardroom, Competitors as Characters, Step-by-Step, and Running a Business War Game. Although he concedes that the term “business war games” may be deceptive since they are not really about wars, he argues that in lieu of a better term or acronym (he mentions IRS for Iterations of Rival Strategies among less desirable options) he prefers war games because it sounds like fun and having fun is one of the most important characteristics of these exercises.
Gilad, who ran war games for Fortune 500 companies for 25 years, has a Ph.D. in economics. A former associate professor of strategy at Rutgers University, he is the founder and president of the Academy of Competitive Intelligence.
Click here to buy Business War Games