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Scenario-based Wargaming

This month, KJT hosted an interactive scenario-based wargaming webinar, led by the agency’s Solutions Consulting Vice President, Shawn Miller. Shawn has over 25 years of experience in the medical device segment, working in a variety of marketing, sales, and market intelligence roles on both the client and agency side.

According to Shawn, the value of wargaming is that it looks beyond extrapolating past performance and truly helps companies to anticipate and plan for potential competitive actions and marketplace events.

We caught up with Shawn after this inaugural session to ask him a few questions:

Q: What exactly is scenario-based wargaming?

SM: It’s a collaborative process where participants dive deeply into various scenarios that might affect their business or product portfolios in the future.

Utilizing engaging and interactive exercises (such as role playing and group break-out sessions), cross-functional participants work to better understand their competitors and their potential actions, the impact those actions may have, and how their organization might respond. Scenarios may include competitor pricing or new product innovation, for example.

From a broader market perspective, we might explore the possibility of disruptive technology, or consider trends that could indicate a permanent change in consumer behavior. For example – what if the economy enters a long-term recession that drives our competition to lower pricing? What’s the plan?

At the end of the day, we want to help our clients prepare for several possible scenarios, helping them become more proactive in their planning and more focused on growth (vs. taking the defensive position of just maintaining market share).

Q: What’s the difference between KJT wargaming and any other kind of strategic planning?

SM: We add unique value through the expertise of our people, the application of our professional wargame design based on real-world experience and actual case studies and the use of KJT’s collaborative technology. This makes our clients’ strategic planning more engaging, collaborative, and fun – in turn enabling constructive discussions that result in unbiased consensus.

Q: Who typically attends a wargaming session?

SM: We encourage stakeholders across marketing, sales and senior leadership functions to attend. We also engage with a variety of disciplines and functions, including representatives from HR and R&D. This helps broaden perspectives within the session and strengthen overall scenario planning.

Q: What are some of the specific benefits you’ve seen as a result of wargaming?

SM: One of the major outcomes is a stronger sense of where clients should play and where they shouldn’t. They avoid competing in markets where they can’t realistically achieve competitive advantage. They stop trying to do too much – to be all things to all people – and instead become more disciplined and intentional in how they’re investing their resources. This also protects employees from burn-out, which can be a significant issue in today’s tight labor market.

Q: Is wargaming more important today than it has been in the past?

SM: Yes. In the ‘good ole days’ it was easier to plan based on past performance, especially in mature industries. Things were relatively stable from a political and economic standpoint. The pace of technology was slower and there was less overall disruption in health tech. Today, it’s more important than ever to consider all kinds of scenarios for effective strategic planning. You must plan for all contingencies For example: what’s going to happen if Monkey Pox blows up like COVID? What if a competitor starts offering MRI’s in shopping malls?

Every business – no matter what market segment it serves – needs to get comfortable in today’s noisy landscape and plan accordingly!

Q: Where do I go for more information?

SM: Please visit KJT’s website to listen to the webinar recording and contact KJT to book a wargaming session. You can reach out to your KJT Solutions Consultant, or Shawn Miller at shawnm@kjtgroup.com / 585-582-5154.