The metaphor of chess as a guideline for a course of corporate strategy, leadership, decision-making and problem-solving
An innovative approach to executive education
Advanced strategic thinking:
In the 50’s and 60’s of the last century, experiments were conducted on the functioning mechanisms of the greatest chess champions’ minds. Chess Champions were asked to verbally expose the process of strategy elaboration behind a move. A team of psychologists observed and described some categories of strategic thinking that are surprisingly similar to the business strategic thinking. Awareness of these mechanisms allows to correct decision-making biases and to avoid pitfalls in the process of strategy elaboration.
Like in a chess tournament, participants are divided into pairs to negotiate on a business case. The negotiations are repeated by changing the pairs until, after a certain number of runs, the winner of the "tournament" emerges. The tournament dynamics highlight the transaction prize forming process, which in the last rounds, tends to converge towards an equilibrium value determined by different elements such as negotiation techniques, motivation and preparation of the negotiators, information provided in the business case.
Approach to risk and uncertainty management
Risk-return matrices applied to chess and to financial and industrial portfolios. The risk attitude of a chess player for choosing a variation is compared to the risk attitude of an investor: a quantitative parallel between chess and finance.
Decision trees, game theory, matrices, in their qualitative, quantitative deterministic and statistical features: these are some of the tools used to study the theory of decision-making including its controversial St. Petersburg paradox.
Chess and Corporate Strategy is an innovative approach to executive education that combines the contents of an MBA strategy course with the analysis of world chess champions' brilliant minds.
The initiative targets leading enterprises and managers who wish to increase their expertise and professional skills in the field of strategic thinking, problem solving and decision-making.
The link between Chess and Corporate Strategy is intuitive though it has never been explored further. Chess has been used and abused throughout history for the most extravagant parallels but, strangely enough, never for corporate strategy. Chess has contributed to the progress of information technology and artificial intelligence, it has been used to test war strategies and psychological theories, even Santa Teresa back in 1550 in its book “Cammino di Perfezione “ (Path to perfection) used chess as a metaphor for prayer.
Some relevant examples of the course’s content are as follows: