On this week’s show we speak with Rina Atienza, Lynette Nusbacher and Jim Wallman about brexitgames.com
This week’s Internet Yang was this cracking post by Peter Kappus.
And don’t forget you’ve got about 24 hours from publishing to be able to nab one of the last few returns for WB-40 Live this week in London. Tickets are here:
Matt Ballantine 0:20
Hello, and welcome to Episode 107 of web 40. The weekly podcast with me Matt Ballantine, and Chris Weston.
Well, Easter is now past we have managed to be able to navigate our way through the chocolate avalanche. That is the modern Easter very late Easter as well. And we’re back again, just about ready to face the fact that we’ve got almost successive bank holidays coming up, but we’ll deal with that as we can. Did you have a good break away? You went you actually went away somewhere, didn’t you?
Chris Weston 0:52
That’s right. I mean, we had a we didn’t record a couple of weeks here that we and
Chris Weston 0:58
then I went on holiday
Chris Weston 1:00
and had a splendid week away with much, much needed trying to get away from the fact that I’m shy and the DVD once called chocolate avalanche, we had a had a really good holiday. And it was very, very, very, very sunny and pleasant. But now I’m back and I’m ready for the the rain for the week ahead. Because the weekend is going to be Excellent. Excellent. We’ve got some work to do together. And we’ve got the web 40. Evening. So yeah, how about yourself.
Matt Ballantine 1:33
I’ve been preparing for those days that we’ve got together, where we are running the first proper workshops in the podcast projects.
thing to find out more about that and go to stamping under.co.uk slash PPP. And we’ve got some actual sort through structured stuff around it now. So that’s gonna be exciting.
Chris Weston 1:57
It was the other DVD. Those who Yeah,
Matt Ballantine 2:02
I’m just going to ignore it. The The other thing I’ve been doing is, after about two and a half year hiatus, I started writing my book again. And what I realized was that actually, I’ve done all the work that I need to do two and a half years ago, mostly through doing this podcast, actually. So the book is back on, and I’m almost at 14,000 words now, which is more words, and I’ve ever written in a single thing before. And I’m probably I mean, in word count terms, I’m probably about a fifth of the way there for a first edit, maybe.
But in terms of actually it, thinking about it, it feels like this structure and it’s coherent. So I need at some point soon to allow people to see it and be reaffirmed that maybe I’ve lost the plot entirely. But but that’s good. That feels like progress.
Chris Weston 2:49
That’s really good. I was on hold and I was watching you I’m forcing this, this thing onto the world this this book, which was sitting there just stating this your brain for so long. So a really good effort really to get in there. Was it 500 words a day? You’re trying to do it?
Unknown Speaker 3:05
Yeah, I’ve been up in well over that at the moment. And long may that continue. But well,
Chris Weston 3:09
yeah. But if you set yourself a target, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Once you get going actually, if I’m two words, is it a bit of a bit of a struggle for me if I’m honest, because I’m so used to run a writing was written blogs for years. And written things like bids and all that kind of thing where you’re trying to be concise, because you’ve got a word limit.
A concise text is, is kind of what I do. So actually trying to trying to expand on things is really difficult. So I’m, I’m in, I’m full of admiration for the fact that you’ve managed to get so many words.
Matt Ballantine 3:42
Yeah, and it doesn’t feel like I’m repeating the same word a lot. But it did last time I tried this. So that’s good. And it’s also given me the opportunity to start going out and asking for some more interesting people to talk to, because we get spits loads of interesting people with this. And that’s kind of partly what I’ve realized is that lots of the interviews I wanted to do, I’ve kind of done by proxy on the podcast. And so now I can use those to better feedback into the book. But I’ve also now been able to make contact with a few people who are really interesting, a couple of them
reasonably well known. And I’m waiting until everything is confirmed. There’s another one that I had this thing in my head and I had this thing in my head for years about how the metaphor that is used a lot in business about being too busy to do things because we’re busy firefighting felt like it was probably a bit of a death metaphor, because if you were to actually ask firefighters, what they do, most of what they do is deliberately not being so busy that all they’re actually doing is fighting fires, because they’ve got things that you know, death involved in it. And so I actually put this hypothesis to the test last week talking to a chap called Phil, who is a former firefighter, a former fire inspection officer, and is now doing lots of work around safety in high rise buildings, particularly post the Greenfield stuff. And it was a fascinating conversation and kind of confirmed some of my thoughts. So it gave me some new insight into others. But then we’re going to get him onto the show in a few weeks time because he is doing stuff with technology and Internet of Things and the like. But as somebody who comes from a fire safety background, to address some of the challenges like house, you get fire alarms to be able to communicate with one another in high rise residential blocks. Because they don’t at the moment, and that’s a really big issue. What do you also tell me about this is fascinating, the and terrifying it is? Well, the
the advice that is given at the moment in the UK, if a big tall building burns is to not evacuate everybody.
Chris Weston 5:49
That’s right, wasn’t it?
Because we were firefight? Scott, it was tears of your commander.
Matt Ballantine 5:55
And he’s done a lot of research into it. And what he’s found is that there was a wonderful example where that this policy was generated however many years ago, and that that policy has been the consequence of that policy has been lots of people have been injured or died as a result, and not just a Granville, because it’s tough. It’s really, really, really tough advice, as far as you can tell. But it’s one of those things where policy and how people go about doing stuff. And you know that, you know, something that goes, you see a lot in the civil service, actually, whether you’re, you’ll be told, oh, we can’t do that. Why not? All because regulations and stuff means it will not last is the civil service when I last be able to do these things. You know, this sort of thing I made any Chris and what will happen is that nobody will ever challenge that, ever.
Chris Weston 6:50
Yeah, it’s this electrocuted monkeys thing, isn’t it? Do you remember that? It’s a
I think it’s a physical experiment, there’s just been carried out. But essentially, you have you put some monkeys in a cage and and there’s a metal floor, and there’s a bowl of food at the end. And if they go to the bowl of food and touch the food, the floor, a whole folder cage, like electric shock, right? So after a while, the three monkeys in the cage, they all learn that nobody’s to go near the food because everybody gets a shot. And then they put a new monkey in the cage. And the monkey new monkey knows nothing about this. So the monkey goes towards the food. And the other three monkeys will pull it back and say, No, no, no, I’ll give it a good hydrogens I do not I do not get any of that food. And then I’ll take one of the original monkeys and put a new monkey. And the new monkey will go over the food and get a good heart and and will not go through because everybody knows you do. And then they changed another of the original monkeys out for a new monkey. And then they turn the electric off. And it there comes a point where you can they can keep putting new monkeys in. And the monkeys are there. They’re beating up the new monkeys we’re going to the bowl. Nobody’s ever had a shock. None of that. No, none of
but that’s right. It is the kind of it’s the received wisdom is you don’t go and touch that ball. But I don’t know. But when I came in, try to beat him up. So now I’m going to beat you up. And it’s kind of it’s received wisdom.
Matt Ballantine 8:20
Oh, man. Yeah, that’s it entirely. So anyway, I’m hoping to arrange an interview with Phil at some point in the next few weeks and get him onto the show. Because it’s fascinating stuff. Really, really. And just that one of the things I’m writing about in the book is just go and talk to people that you wouldn’t usually talk to, just for the hell of it. And if you need an excuse, say something, I’m writing a book because it’s brilliant. But the amount you just you can expand your knowledge by talking about people who are knowledgeable about things that are outside of your immediate realm. Brilliant, I love it. There’s nothing I enjoy better. Anyway, let’s get on with the show. We have a bit of in and Yang, we’ve got a fascinating interview with some people who have created a game to expect Brexit.
Chris Weston 9:02
So should we get on with it? Let’s do let’s do that.
So now we’re on to the much trumpeted return of yin and yang, which we have not had for a little while. And I think it’s about time we did it. And true to form as always, you’re going to present the dark side of things on the internet. And this week, you I’ve got a problem with interfaces.
Matt Ballantine 9:25
I had to say Actually, I found it quite hard to be negative about the internet this week, because last week, I was able to be able to find some fantastic stuff out and do some amazing things, mostly through connecting with people and mostly through Twitter, but the Twitter iOS app, and it continually flipping back to wanting to be able to show me tweets based on some random algorithm rather than when the tweets were actually tweeted, is really, really getting on my nerves. And I noticed as well, last week, Kate Bevan friend of the show, she she saw so not a woman to hold back her swearing, and she was swearing quite a lot about how you’ll get people responding to tweets that were tweeted days ago. And especially so Kate send something out a few weeks, a few weeks ago, which was about Can people give some suggestions for things will be on a timeline for consumer technology for the last 20 years. And she got lots of things I sent a few things in there.
And then she was I think it was that that’s probably the one that she then keeps getting stuff even though it’s already been answered. And she’s finished a piece of work and and and because it’s popping up in people’s not timelines, because of that bloody algorithm. So it’s a very straightforward thing. Please stop buggering around with the Twitter app. Thank you.
Chris Weston 10:48
Actually, I also wouldn’t want that one of the things that Twitter does not started using the actual Twitter up there because they’ve broken such a lot of functionality for third party apps. That means you get a lot of promoted tweets. And I spent I seem to spend like five minutes every morning However, having a kind of cathartic blocking of any account which appears on my timeline as promoted items. Suppose it will have an effect, but it makes me feel slightly but I’ll never ever see anything for No,
Matt Ballantine 11:15
no, no, no, don’t block them. All you need to do is retweet it and be extremely rude about it. That’s much more fun. And that’s what I do.
Unknown Speaker 11:24
Unknown Speaker 11:26
you have you know, Yang. So what is your internet gang this week?
Chris Weston 11:31
Yes, my gang this week is something that was provided by friend, another friend of the podcast, Peter Capus. And Peter wrote a blog about project management about terms really about fat about the things that go on in project management speak that sometimes that we assume that people know, sometimes we assume we know. And then we find we don’t. And I think it’s a really nice little resource. And I like it for several reasons, either, because it is informative, and it in simple language, and it can be given to lots of different people involved in a project to help them understand the terms that are being used. I like it because it was partly helped by the web 40 whatsapp group big. So that’s a big plus for me, because it’s a bit of our community helping to make something a bit better. Because Peter is a splendidly helpful champion, great alacrity who wants to make put those things into his post. And I like it for the third reason that introduced me to a thing that I’d never seen before, which is a game called circles and soup. And circles,
Matt Ballantine 12:41
or two circles and say, I’ve never heard of circles and say,
Chris Weston 12:43
I had never heard of it. Now I know about it. And it is a game to improve projects. So essentially, it’s concentric circles, the outside of which is, is the soup and the super stuff that you can’t change. So essentially, you have to put into the circles, things that you can control things you can influence, and then things you can’t change. And I think that’s really useful because it is like an explicit realization and shared understanding of the things that are on you, in your direct control your influence and cannot be changed. And I think when we hear the interview that you did with the guys in a few minutes, there’s a lot of very relevant thoughts in that. So yeah, circles and see if you can find it from the page that will link to on the website after the podcast.
Matt Ballantine 13:31
Fabulous. Okay, well, I’ll put a link to that on wp 40. podcast com thank you to Peter for sharing stuff. Thank you to everybody takes part in the whatsapp group is it’s a lovely little self supporting community. If you want to join it you can do if you tweet us at Wb 40 podcast and we’ll send you by return and direct message, a link so that you can join the whatsapp group and see some of the conversation that goes there. So good. They’re all good. And let’s get on with the show.
Chris Weston 14:02
So welcome to our interview. And Matt you were talking some guys about I think all Brexit games, and these people have been involved in play and understanding of what what we can do with play, how we can use it to understand the kind of challenges and problems that we’ve got. And they come up with this thing called Brexit games under a bit more of a wider philosophy too.
Matt Ballantine 14:28
Yeah, so Rena, I have known for a few years and kind of got mutual connections in networks. And she also is somebody who spends a lot of time thinking about play as a way of facilitating and obviously the work I’ve been doing with the book, she’s somebody who sort of bounced a few ideas off, and I’ve been looking at what she’s been doing.
And then Jim is a professional game designer, and not software games, but physical board game you type things and my they doing them for corporate clients and mostly for things I simulation, interestingly chatting to him before the interview, he does a lot with the armed services for enabling them to be able to create games for simulation, where you think that they would just use kind of flight simulators and stuff like that all very busy and very real time, but actually, board games in the life of people the time to better slow think around challenges and problems. And so that’s the sort of scenario where his word comes in. And then Lynette, I think originally is a military strategy historian. And, as got, she describes herself as a devil’s advocate, she goes into clients and basically does devil’s advocate, he goes in and say, why are you doing that. And the three of them working together, have created this thing to be able to help people and organizations to be able to try to be able to understand a bit more about the wicked problem that is,
for about the last 10 or 15 years, we’ve had the idea of a wicked problem, which is a problem that is characterized by its lack of boundaries, we’re used to the idea of a problem being a set of parameters with one thing that you’ve got to figure out in order to solve that. The wicked problems or problems that are characterized by having to solve a lot of different unbounded problems in order to solve to solve the problem overall, it’s tempting to view wicked problems as unsolvable. It’s tempting to view wicked problems, not only as unsolvable, but as almost unstoppable. That is no point in trying to deal with this problem. You might as well you might as well stay in bed, because it is so unbounded in all of its parameters. So no, I think we have to be prepared to look at wicked problems as difficult as something that we can easily come to terms with. But that is by no means a license to walk away from them.
Unknown Speaker 17:08
And what role does
Matt Ballantine 17:10
play and game playing have in the context of working?
Well, as then it said, characteristic of wicked problems in particular are that there isn’t a single solution. And there’s very often in real life, at least worst solution. And one of the tools for approaching a least worst
place in looking at wicked problem or a set of wicked problems.
means going through some sort of process, some sort of simulation process, some sort of in, in my case, often a game process, in which you you expose the key questions, so that this gives those attempting to examine any problem, but wiki problems are quite amenable to this gives them a means of interrogating the problem in a way, which simply listing all the problems or distinct issues, doesn’t or at least not as accessible. And so in a way, what I’m doing is throwing in a whole load of factors and letting people dynamically engage with with the issue. And that might be in a playful way, one of the issues about being playful, is that it’s also a safe to fail environment. And so by experimenting, by trying things out, by failing terribly in game turns, it allows the participants to to start to find where they can hit some of the problem solving either boundaries or opportunities out of that process. So So gamified, any complex problem
is best thought of as aiding the process of interrogating the problem. Do you
Matt Ballantine 18:59
think this resistance to
play? No, absolutely, there’s a huge prejudice about play and playfulness, which which is taught to us
probably around about adolescence, where where we are our most fearful and most needy in terms of wanting to appear grown up. And so we learn at that point, to hold ourselves back and go, Well, I’m not gonna play and you see, I’ve done work with kids, there’s a there’s a point of which, unless they’re the unusually bright and nerdy children, they will stop playing maybe about 13, or 14, because they want to look cool, or they want to look at all it they’re anxious about their own place in the world. So to some extent, we’re trying to re educate fat Pro, undo that we educate that process, it’s happening, the game world is changing board games, and now massive social activities that are
Unknown Speaker 19:51
is a generation of
people who are in senior positions who love playing games. So it’s changing, but it’s certainly not been easy. I think computer games have helped. So yeah, there’s always a barrier, there is always certainly if you introduce anything like a random element, for example, you will ever die. And share two people in a professional environment, you’ll see the wave of horror go around the room, and people go well in if you’ve got a Dyson valve glass involved, this isn’t this is not a sensible, not a real thing. And then you say okay, but do you understand the concept of risk? Do you understand some things might happen, and some things might not happen, and that will change the pattern of events. And when you say when you say that I say we understand risk? Well, okay, here’s your risk simulator. So, but it’s a very differently.
One of the reasons that we perhaps it appropriately leave the word war in War Gaming was a little war game that out is because it is a signifier of seriousness. And even though in a corporate and environment in a commercial environment, this is not war here, nevermind, it is business theory. This is business, it is not war, nobody ideally is going to get killed, right. And yet, if you leave the word War Gaming on, as Lou, this is a Prussian staff ride, as though this is the War Gaming component, the you know, the NATO decision making process. That is a signifier that what we are doing is serious play, and that more gaming is legitimate. Whereas if we just say gaming, perhaps it sounds a little bit too much, too much, like, as Jim says, like the stuff that we were taught not to bring into the workplace a very long time ago.
And for me, playfulness is age agnostic, like that, that value where I find it surprising that there will be industries that claim to be creative, or strategy, strategic, and the in various types of gaming, not just tabletop, not just video gaming, innovation, strategy, resource management, is what it’s all about. And we can talk about that in business terms. Are you playing by the rules? Are you playing well with others? What’s the playbook on that? games are rich in this terminology and practice and the variations to get to not just solving a thing necessarily, if that’s like a finite
situation, that that just a different approaches your different strategic deployment of your resources, and then taking things in turns and phases, and being able to get to a final destination or some sort of VICTORY CONDITIONS, not just in a speed game of like, five minutes or 10 minutes, depending on what you’re playing. But for something like, say, I’ve been playing civilization, and that six hours, the the conditions change every round, that you’re still equipped with, okay, I’m trying to steer my play towards a desired future state
rules are important in a game, because unless you have some structure that is going to connect what you do in that room, to some reality outside the room, that structure is required in order to give the game meaning. There are rules, even if the rule is just as Jim said earlier, that you pull a die out of your pocket and use it to add a random factor to to a moment. So rules are arguably one of the two key elements that make a game a game. If it hasn’t got rules, then it’s not a game. And the other element, which you are referring to, which is the other required item for for a game is interactivity. Even if you’re interacting only with the rules.
What the game does is it forces you out of your own head, it forces you out of the idea, whatever you think is going to happen, is going to happen. And instead, it forces you to engage with the possibility that there is some other structure or will against what you must contend. So gaming forces you to admit that just because you want it doesn’t mean you can have it. And adding that interactivity into working through a problem wicked or otherwise forces you into a space where things are not in your control.
And because in the real world, nothing is ever holy within your control. Gaming forces you out of a fantasy world in which you can achieve your aims without question into a much realer thinking environment where interactivity means you don’t always get what you
every game has a set of rules written or unwritten one of the risks I think in the business environment. Well, in fact, in most environments, of rule sets are that they codify the same kind of traditional rule set, they codify the status quo. So they can do is lead quite ossified thinking or replicate a set of assumptions which might need to be challenged. So what I tend to write at the beginning of any game I’m I’m doing this that’s trying to be some sort of simulation or trying to expose new ideas is rule one is reality, Trump’s rules, soon as you realize as an enemy, or someone who’s trying to oppose your challenge you, you think differently. And I’ve done this experimentally with games where we have had set up a game, where we told the players that there wasn’t in another room, there’s not a set of players who are acting against them. And we lied. But throughout the day, the players played on the on the basis that someone was going to try and mess them up. And it changed how they approached it completely. And it’s some I don’t recommend lying to players as a general rule. But this was by way of a sort of a social experiment.
Unknown Speaker 26:11
Piece of lots of experimental psychology.
Matt Ballantine 26:14
Yes. Like you say, Do one thing and actually doing
Unknown Speaker 26:18
Matt Ballantine 26:20
So the three of you have come together to be able to bring some of this thinking to what is probably the
wicked digitas, contemporary wicked problems,
the current one the topical one, anyway?
Matt Ballantine 26:34
Well, the one that seems to disappear. Anyway, but
Unknown Speaker 26:37
you know, that was gonna
happen. The minute you launch this, stop talking about rising? Oh, yes, absolutely. From the bit from the time that we started to engage professionally with Brexit, in early 2016, we have worked with the idea that up until the six months before the expected date of the UK, leaving the EU, there would be no actual to ever, there’d be a certain amount of posturing a certain amount of shuffling the cards as it were. But that the the activity around creating the post Brexit world would not start until the last six months, and it would be done in an increasing environment of, if not panic, then frenzied activity. So absolutely, this was, I don’t just say that this was all predictable. I would say that this was all envisioned in scenarios using structured methods and represented to people who could use the information. Absolutely.
Matt Ballantine 27:46
And so what is it that you have
Unknown Speaker 27:49
Matt Ballantine 27:50
into the world to be able to help people make sense of what’s going
Unknown Speaker 27:53
So I could have joined in coming from the record virtual background and witnessing all these really intense meetings with thick description of operational consequences in a legal sense. And because obviously, we’re talking to you about rules, again, that a certain partnership would change. And therefore, we would need a new set of rules and guidebook to figure out what the new board game was going to look like, or the world world view. And so much of it is talked about, or written about. And in those rooms, there was no, there was a lack of visualization of can in the macro part of like, how does this look like from from a distance a third perspective or from above, not just in the little mini silos that people have had. And it made sense to me just add that element in those conversations, because in that world, and specifically, for this project, it was a legal world.
Unknown Speaker 29:09
That’s not part of their business practices.
Federal other way, over the course of preparing clients for the realities of Brexit, it became abundantly clear that they did not view Brexit as an interactive system. They viewed Brexit as a linear, non interactive system, whereby the United Kingdom would set out to achieve certain goals that would achieve those goals.
Commercial concerns businesses in the UK would be brought along as part of achieving and executing those goals and would reap benefits and future unspecified.
And this view came partly because that was the view that government took that is UK Government presented leaving the European Union as a linear process without and this is very important without interaction with the economies of the rest of the world, without interaction with ordinary business factors and business cycles. And perhaps most importantly, UK Government expected Brexit to work without interacting with the European Union itself. And there was a, there were a lot of narratives built up around the idea of European Union, departure of Brexit, which were designed to facilitate this, there were ideas that commercial reality, so favored the United Kingdom in this process, that all other factors would be set aside, and that it would fundamental we become a linear process. So we introduced the idea of a Brexit war game in order to show commercial concerns to show our clients, just how nonlinear and just how interactive Brexit has to be. And not just showing businesses that Brexit is an interaction is a set of bargaining between the UK and the European Union, but there is also the rest of the world involved. And adding more gaming to this analysis adds interactivity to this analysis.
Unknown Speaker 31:47
So those are formed is this program take?
Well, I guess the simplest descriptions, it’s a sort of title game, you know, those kind of kids to eventually move on to, then you have to move another one and then fall it’s in structural, it’s a little bit like that, it’s a little bit like. So this game is looking at how market share is affected by the change in a relationship between the EU and the UK in particular, market sectors. And that changes influenced by the framework of the agreement that’s constructed. So the players are invited to construct a package of if you like, clauses in an agreement, each of those clauses has a variable number of impacts and impacts on market sectors. So by having a number of different metrics, all of which are interrelated and non linearly interrelated, players cannot simply go well, if I add this and this and this, and this, that equals a winning score, because every second of Newtonian fact, every advantage has a economic disadvantage, or at least maybe not equal opposite, maybe a slight disadvantage, or a great disadvantage. And then thrown into that mix is that the players are not a unitary set of decision makers and not representing one group of problem solvers. They’re representing different parts of different influential groups, each of whom has an agenda. So you begin to see how this is a negotiating game in which you’re trying to collectively construct a package that makes up an agreement, which will minimize or at least Yeah, will minimize impact on as many market sectors as possible. And there isn’t a solution. The key part of this game as we many of these games is that we don’t know what the spot the best option is. We don’t know what the solution is. And we certainly gameplay when you play the game, what gameplay demonstrates is that there is a least worst solution. There isn’t a win as a not lose. And and that’s the that that in itself is useful. But the means by which you get to a point. At the end of the game, where you’ve reached the end of your negotiations, and you’re stuck with what comes next. You are you have an opportunity to review how that went, you know, what was the arguments, what was the discussion about who had the most force in the conversation, what became the most important part where people you know, more concerned about whose red lines were most likely to be breached, and so on.
Germany, compare the the the Brexit game to a tile game, it’s to one of those games, if I’m thinking correctly, where you essentially have to form a picture with the tiles and every time you move a tile to complete the picture, you find yourself disrupting the picture by having to move other tiles.
And so what this demonstrates to participants is the way that in reality, there is not straightforward movement to a solution, every slide of the tile or every turn of the Rubik’s Cube, disrupt what you’ve just done. One of the difficulties that
British Business and Professional people have, is understanding just what Brexit means to their business. And broadly speaking, they have trouble understanding just what Brexit means to the economy as a whole. And that means it’s hard for them to focus on what Brexit means to the UK. But also, if they have a property component and HR component to their business, if their business deals with the retail sector with the energy sector, then it’s hard for them to understand the way that those different factors will create g8 pressures on an eventual relationship between the UK and the EU, and what that means for their businesses. For instance, we we all know that part of the prospectus for Brexit was that the desire of German automakers to sell cars in the United Kingdom would result in German pressure on you institutions that would result in a comparatively favorable set of terms for the UK to leave the EU. That is there was a linear process imagined. But as we know, in real life, and of course, as we know, from observing the process of starting to negotiate Brexit, these things are not linear. And if you are planning for your own businesses strategy over for the next six months right here, you can’t imagine that your commercial importance is such that it’s going to override all of the other factors that a business needs to take into account. In order to produce your desired result. In order to do business, you have to understand the future environment that you’re strategizing into. The first step in structure and strategy is horizon scanning. And in a complex nonlinear world, especially one in which a dis continuous event, like Brexit is built into your future, you have got to strategize around that. And people don’t want to people don’t naturally see the world as a place where many different drivers and factors interact to produce results. People, especially optimistic people, especially business people, and that’s an optimistic world, business, people see the world as a set of choices that will lead them to it to achieving their aims. And inserting a war game into that process, forces them to think outside of their optimism, and forces them to think outside their bias in favor of a linear process leading to the future, and instead, view the entire problem and all in all of its complexity, and forces them to think about how the different factors interact in order to produce that complexity.
Everybody who does business in the United Kingdom interact with the energy sector, everybody uses energy in their business one way or another, you can’t pretend that doesn’t exist. Pause the United Kingdom, from an energy point of view is intimately connected European Union, we are part of the EU internal market for energy trading, we’re deeply involved because we buy a lot of our power from French nuclear power plants, we’re building a brand new French nuclear power plant in this country right now. And of course, the Republic of Ireland is downstream from the United Kingdom with respect to, to electricity and, and other sources of energy. That kind of intimate relationship can’t be ignored, if you’re going to take a serious look at what your company is going to do. And so the European Union,
Unknown Speaker 39:37
Matt Ballantine 39:38
the things I’ve observed over the last few months on that Bastin
Unknown Speaker 39:44
of business networking,
Matt Ballantine 39:45
has been little or no debate discussion about Brexit at all. But I find that really interesting because alongside the aversion to play in organizations, I think there’s a libre version, which is to talk
Unknown Speaker 40:01
And I can offer like a formula. And when I was working in Philippines and climate change, and this corporate training company, and a rather useful formula, which is I’m sure other people are aware of in different practices, is that what we try and deal with behaviorally is resistance to change or resistance to progress, right, we always want a different outcome by changing a behavior that’s led to that. And the formative, like the components needed to tackle this resistance to change the progress is that you have to deal with sure there’s a lot of dissatisfaction for a thing or several things. And in terms of the future world, it offers alternative visions of bettering your preferred future, your possible future probable and all that
you need visions of better, or worse, right for Paris and visions of better worse, and you need certain devices to get to that. And maybe that’s an article, maybe it’s a podcast, whatever that is. With those visions of better, you also need really actionable steps, just the first few which in game components allows you to do like, I don’t know what the winning condition is yet, I can see the different scenarios because the rules telling me here some pathways I can take. And I have an idea of how I like to win, but I don’t have to get there. But here’s a few place that I can do now. And then I have to wait my turn a few around, and then I’ll play another round or another phase. And then after those steps, you also get a sense of what resources you need to get to other place. So the vision of better actionable steps to try and get there. And then understanding that to get there you need to certain resources, you might have existing ones, you might need to trade or barter, acquire new ones along the way or unlock them. And that is why like the understanding the ecosystem in those component parts, and then the players involved where you harness that collective intelligence, because you also learn by just observing what other players are doing, even if they’re not your resources, or your turn, you’re already rehearsing. Oh, I’ll make sure not to do that. Or I could try that as well.
If you look at Irish LinkedIn, in fact, if you look at it anytime in the last year, YouTube loads of content, about an advertising about Brexit and British LinkedIn not so much. And I think you’ve put your finger on an important part of this. In the Republic of Ireland, Brexit is a significant commercial risk, and one which the Irish government and Irish business taken seriously. And there’s been loads of funding moving from the Irish government, to Irish businesses, especially small and medium sized enterprises to help them cope with Brexit. And it’s not a political issue. It is a commercial risk. And in the United Kingdom, we can observe that there are so many political aspects relating to business that I think you’re right, it’s very hard to view Brexit as a straightforward commercial risk or set of risks in the UK. And that when you approach a client, and say, we need to address how Brexit is going to affect your ability to move goods into the country, we need to address what your contracts are going to mean. In a post Brexit world, we need to address the realities of Brexit. The The,
the text is overshadowed by the context of who is a lever and who is a remainder. Weather preparing for Brexit makes you accept the reality of Brexit. And if you accept the reality of Brexit, you accept perhaps the advisability of Brexit, then it has been important and I for one, if you have not said anything in public about remaining or or leaving the EU, precisely because I can’t advise people about Brexit, if they think I’m driving a political x.
Matt Ballantine 44:37
So people want to be able to play this game.
We put up Brett brags that games are calm as like just a beacon, I’m sure again, there are other game designers out there. Did you say
Brexit games.com plank?
Yes, Brexit games. com, we have a sampler. Again, this is not a means to say, Oh, we got it sold. It’s really to start people thinking about a thicker description of the desired future they want. And when I say desired future, we are really talking about English folk, British folk, European, who want a different type of citizenship in the 21st century, we’re talking about rights and our way of life and our preferences for work school health. So the real issue is citizenship. That’s what we’re playing for our benefits of living in a place. And what we’re trying to do is give people some early basic tools to start deciding what cards they want, how would they how would they play it and and also giving people that sense of agency or, or control about their lives. And it well, if I were king, queen, PM, this is how I would do it, this is how I would solve it. And even it doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be fine out, it’s just a start to progress the conversation and give people a more contextualize viewpoint of the terrain. So it’s no longer just there are two camps or however number but these camps are actually in a wider terrain. And there’s mountains and fields and weather, and all sorts.
So there’s a home game version of this immensely detailed and well thought out war game that we’ve developed for for clients. And that permits just anybody to go to the website and mess about with some of the some of the drivers that are going to produce the eventual relationship between the UK and the EU. And it’s important to remember that the Brexit moment is a transitory moment. And that whatever happens even if the entire Brexit goes to pieces, and we end up staying in the European Union, the future relationship between the UK and the EU is bound to change over the years to come the the referendum itself, the effects in Parliament, the effects on the British political system, make it clear that the status quo is not going to be acceptable. So in order to understand that future relationship between the UK and the EU, you can go to Brexit, calm Brexit games.com, and mess about with a simplified version of the game. But of course, doing this properly does require a serious investment of time and effort. And then of course, on Brexit games, com, we’ve got a link where you can where you can ask for that kind of engagement as well.
Chris Weston 47:51
I think we can all agree that was absolutely fascinating interview, especially given the current state of play with Brexit and the fact that everybody seems to have the answer to it, when you actually get into the complex, making that mechanics of Brexit or any of these intractable problems, there are some trade offs to be made. And it struck me that quite early on in that interview, you were talking about risk and about how people are able to be exposed to the fact that there are such things as risk, and we talked about that with the circles. And earlier, the fact that the the soup represents things you cannot control, but there is a conceit isn’t there in business, that actually we can control these things, we can stop the customer leaving and going somewhere else we can, we can make the best people come and work for us, we can stop people leaving a lot of business decisions. And a lot of a lot of the things that we do are based on this kind of either confidence, or the arrogance or complete self delusion that we do have control over these things. So it’s really hard to get people to that state of accepting that risk exists in an in a way that they cannot control.
Matt Ballantine 49:01
It’s not only that cannot control but also then you get into I used to, I used to run a simulation involving the throwing of dice and the moving of pennies. And it was about it was a little game to illustrate about variation in process and the impact of that had. But the the effect that putting two teams against each other and getting them to play a game based around dice, where they were in a pseudo sort of business environment, because this was, you know, people being sent away for training course. And it was fascinating the psychology of how invested people got into how they were rolling dice, in the same way that people get invested into how they roll dice when they you know, go to a casino. And that you know, every so often I just say yes, well done. You’ve just given everybody a round of applause for being able to instigate a completely random act well done. And it is that is the kind of conceit across organizations full stop, isn’t it? That kind of agenda, Jamal and it was saying about how, you know, you give a die to somebody and they say I can’t possibly do that. That’s childish. And actually, maybe there’s something very deep there about is actually, what that’s doing is is putting into question actually an awful lot of what goes on in organizations because it isn’t controlled, it isn’t under their just how much impact and influence do the people actually have? And is it as much as they believe they do? And is it as much as they believe they should be rewarded for some really interesting stuff around corporate psychology? I think within that,
Chris Weston 50:35
yeah, I think so. And also, this plays into the, the theme that we often see on the LinkedIn to this world where you have to do what this person did, because they’re millionaire. And if you want to be a millionaire, then you have to eat square breakfast cereals, and get the gym at three, five or three every morning or whatever it might be. And actually, all they’ve done is roll a dice, and roll the six three times in a row. And that’s just one of those people and fair play know that made the best of that. But
that, it’s like saying,
you got to play the lottery, if you want to be a millionaire, because I played the lottery, and I’m a millionaire. And if you only believe you can play on bathroom be a millionaire too. It doesn’t work that way. Yeah. And
Matt Ballantine 51:17
it’s the things called survivorship bias. It’s about only people who have been successful to be able to, and I think is sorry, I want to talk about the book, just for a moment again, but I think is going to be my biggest challenge is that I’m deliberately not finding examples of Sterling success to be able to illustrate ideas I’m finding concepts of that’s quite interesting. And maybe you could try something similar, but it won’t lead to your success. Overall, if you just follow this, this is not a user guide. This is just some inspiration. That’s a very different thing. But I’m not sure where the publishers go for that, because they want this bullshit basically.
Chris Weston 51:58
Well, there we go. One thing I’ll say as well, briefly about this is that I went to play the Brexit games game. And it’s really good and very, very well thought through. And then I put myself in the position of honor somebody who has got a different position to me for I mean, I think I think I’m pretty well balanced when it comes to Brexit in terms of
I think I can be fairly dispassionate about it. But there are people who have very, very strong views either way, and on the cards that you pick, so you pick this card, and it and it has been things about cop business competence and economy and things like and then it has EU outrage and UK outrage and it has a number that says all if you allow EU citizens to have the same employment rights as UK people, you’ll get good, good score for business competence, but your UK or radio Corp or whatever. And if you gave Liam Fox or some, you know, one of those types of people these cards, they would dispute the outrage school and other and that’s not solely on Fox’s I’m not I don’t want to would let’s talk about somebody who isn’t us being paid to destroy us.
It just took take somebody off the street on the street who is heavily invested in Brexit and thinks it’s absolutely the bee’s knees. they would they would dispute their scores, those scores are subjective. And as much as that’s a no, no, everybody wants this. But now they’ll be no outrage If this happens, or that happens. But there’ll be much outrage if this happened. At some point, somebody’s got to agree that this is going to be the outcome. And it’s very, very hard to get to a point where you can say that this is a subjective view. And this is this is correct. And that, to me, it looks it looks fine. But you know what I mean, these decisions are not made by people who are being completely subjective about the about the outcome.
Matt Ballantine 53:54
Yeah. And actually, interestingly, I think that that’s intentional in the design of the game, because the game is designed to be able to be used in this passionate ish sense, within organizations think about trade offs. What the conversation with the three of them has done for me, is I’m giving up now talking about breaks in public, because what I’ve realized is that I’m not this passionate about it, I’m incredibly passionate about it, because he’s part the reasons for me, I’m not going to bother trying to be able to look for data to be able to feed my confirmation bias. The reason why I don’t want Brexit to happen is because I’m a European. And so it fundamentally impacts my self identity. And I also now understand for having thought through with this and that conversation and others, that people who identify themselves as British or English, and a very pro leaving the EU are also doing it at a level which is about emotional, self identity. And actually, what I’ve done by getting an Irish passport is to be able to address that issue for me and for my family. And that’s probably as far as I can go because anything else now, there’s no logic in any of this is not about logic, it’s about feeling. And that’s actually quite disconcerting, because it means that we have this massive thing that’s going on at the moment, which is emotional response. But everybody on both sides are basically trying to be able to put veneers around it to make it a live rational choice. And that say, I just think that this for me personally, now, it’s time to step away from arguments about it, because there is no convincing the other side, if it’s driven by emotion.
Chris Weston 55:34
Well, and it actually is it isn’t driven by emotion in many senses in terms of what’s going to drive it, it’s driven by very, very powerful geopolitical factors. Because, you know, the Chinese and the Russians, the Americans don’t want me to be successful. So that that’s really what’s driving it deep debt and very rational behaviors. But they are driving the emotional, pulling the emotional strings of people. And as the one thing that made me laugh during the election campaign was somebody said, I think it was on the day of the election, they said, if you’re thinking about choosing whether to vote with your heart or your head, remember, then your head is the brain, which is used for all higher thinking activities. And your heart is essentially a pump.
Matt Ballantine 56:19
Yep, that’s a fair point. Anyway, thank you to Serena and to Jim and to net for making the time also big thank you to Terry Willis, who gave us the room for the afternoon to be able to record the interview at church house in Westminster. So thank you, Terry, for helping us out to get some space to do the recording. And if you want to find out more Brexit games.com will give you the simulation and give you links to where to find out more about
Unknown Speaker 56:45
what they’re all up to.
Matt Ballantine 56:49
There we go. That brings us to the end of Episode 107. A brief plug. If you are interested in joining us for the very first web 40 live meetup. It’s happening this Thursday. It’s happening at one old jury in the City of London, just off Cheapside, I think it is.
It is being hosted by a company called impair IQ, who are recruitment company. And the evening will consist of getting together, it will consist of us doing an interview with Steve Brown, who’s one of the senior people in Paris, and he’s going to be talking not about it recruitment, but he’s going to be talking about a fantastic initiative. He’s been running for the last few years called next tech girls, which is about getting more women into the tech sector. And it was something that he actually approached me very early on for some advice about. And it’s wonderful to see how much that has flourished and working with big companies doing stuff with doing apprenticeships and all sorts of things. So we’ll be interviewing Steve. And then there will be some networking time and the opportunity spirit play with some of the priority cards that I have others have been working on over the last few years. And it’s all free, or they do need to bring your own drink. It is on event bright will put a link on the web page, you’ve got about probably 24 hours from when this show becomes available. So you need to have made your mind up by midnight and the end of Tuesday because we need to get a list of names into the building for security on Wednesday. So if you want to look it up, or you can search on Eventbrite for web 40 meet up and you got to remember,
Chris Weston 58:32
remember, of course that there’ll be an opportunity to buy a web 40 t shirt, an example of which I was modeling on my holiday very proudly and they’ll cost 15 pounds. The show make virtually no profit but all the profit will go to the hosting and the this terrible recording tool that we used to make the podcast. And also I think everybody’s going to get a bad Johnny,
Matt Ballantine 58:55
everybody who attends This is as I’ve been telling people recently, everybody who attends in my Blue Peter heritage will get a web 40 badge featuring blocking that often.
Chris Weston 59:07
It’s about what you want. I can’t understand what how people are staying away from
Matt Ballantine 59:12
and date anyway. Look on the web page, Wd 40 podcast.com. That’s it for another week. We are back next week. Next week, we will be interviewing Girish who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Indian based software as a service, customer experience company fresh works, talking about what customer experience is all about and also the challenges of building out of software as a service company from India rather than Silicon Valley. So join us next week for that. hopefully see you in London on Thursday night and with that we say but you
Chris Weston 1:00:00
That’s all from us. You can find us as always our web 40 podcast com on twitter at wd 40 podcast and on iTunes or Spotify on a cast etc etc. all good podcasting outlets
Transcribed by https://otter.ai