Serious Shell Games

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

As I’ve already mentioned, in Serious Play, Michael Schrage, of the MIT Media Lab, examines how organizations use models, simulations, and prototypes to stimulate innovation.

One of the most important lessons is that it matters how we use those models, simulations, and prototypes:

At Royal Dutch/Shell, the world’s second-largest oil company, senior executives used to be urged to come up with three scenarios whenever they considered a strategic course of action. Each scenario was typically a small jewel of narrative analysis and foresight. But there was a catch. “The problem was we always chose the middle one,” Shell UK head Chris Fay told the Financial Times. “So now we only put forward two.”

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