Wargames as Hidden Driver behind Market Victories


Wargames have ancient military roots. Since recently wargames have been applied to serve business needs. Empirical evidence of how to successfully do so is gradually building up. The presentation’s objective is by capitalizing on this evidence from literature and from the author’s practice to offer a manual for running successful wargames in business.

The presentation describes what a wargame is, how it is usually structured and what business objectives running a wargame may serve. It provides antecedent and ex-post success factors to be taken into account and discusses how to prevent common problems that occur in applying wargames in business.

Key topics

  • The impact of any advisory service to management is the product of quality times acceptance. This equation applies to strategic analysis / competitive intelligence.
  • Delivering quality in competitive intelligence depends on professional capabilities, development of which are within the competitive intelligence’s function control. This is the easy part.
  • Ensuring impact of strategic analysis work in corporate decision-making requires managing for analysis acceptance. This is often the hard part.
  • FrieslandCampina has developed a business wargame methodology that turns strategic analysis through team acceptance successfully into action.

Speaker profile

Erik Elgersma, Ph.D.is Director of Strategic Analysis at FrieslandCampina Cheese, Butter and Milk powder (sales ~ € 3 bn/year). He is working with FrieslandCampina since 1999 and has held positions in Corporate Strategy, in Business Development (being based in Malaysia for 4.5 years) and in Innovation Management. In all these positions, he has formally and informally been leading the strategic analysis practice in FrieslandCampina. Prior to joining FrieslandCampina, he worked for Akzo Nobel Chemicals in Strategy and Analysis and initially in R&D management.
He holds Ph.D. and a M.Sc. from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands and has attended executive education at Harvard Business School, IMD, Insead, London School of Economics and at Jane’s Military Intelligence in London.  He is also an alumnus of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna.
In short, he is a strategic analysis practitioner with some 35,000 flight hours, has worked on projects spanning over 100 countries worldwide and relating to both the B2B and (branded) FMCG channels in food and chemicals.