World in Crisis! One of the Most Immersive and Rewarding Negotiation Games Ever Created

By — on / Teaching Negotiation

This negotiation simulation comprised “the most intense, challenging and educational days of my life” reported one participant. What sort of experience could possibly elicit such a comment? One of the most immersive and rewarding negotiation games ever developed: a 72-party mega-simulation called the Transition Exercise!

The Transition (Excercise Trailer) from MediaTank on Vimeo.

This one-of-a-kind, intensive, multi-party negotiation and crisis management exercise places individuals and teams in a variety of challenging roles, ranging from the members of the National Security Council of the United States, to high-ranking diplomats from dozens of countries, to leaders of dissident groups and human rights activists. Each individual plays an important role as the global community works to build a lasting and sustainable peace in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Responding to a dynamic and realistic simulation environment, participants have to deal with the uncertainty and pressures of elections in unstable democracies, terrorist attacks, domestic political constraints, and military action.

After participating in the exercise, a US Navy Seal lieutenant commander stated:

Having conducted and supported operations up to and including the national level, I can say conclusively, Brian Mandell and Arvid Bell lead a negotiation practicum that excels in relevancy. The cadre devotion to education is simply unparalleled. I can give no higher recommendation.

Managing networks
A learning experience unlike any other, this negotiation game trains participants in the art of “networked thinking” during collaborative problem solving. It enables them to build, sustain, manage, and block coalitions across nested negotiation networks, to navigate fragmented multi-constituency environments, and to develop a deeper understanding of interconnected decision-making in spite of resistance, surprises, and uncertainty.

This is one of the few negotiation games with an immersive, complex and lengthy scenario that actually offers a unique “real-world” feel. The faculty-led debrief allows participants to reflect on the experience they have had, and helps them to learn from their experience.

Success in a connected world depends on collaboration
The Transition Exercise serves as a multi-day, immersive simulation providing instructors an opportunity to enrich their curriculum with powerful negotiation and conflict resolution ideas, tools and techniques.

Developed and administered by leading experts in negotiation, the academic edition of this transformational negotiation game will help students and educators develop the skills to:

  • Identify the core issues within a counterpart’s positions
  • Recognize ways to overcome barriers to turning ideas into action
  • Collaborate with unlikely partners to forge sustainable agreements
  • Adapt quickly to a changing environment
  • Encourage cross-cultural sensitivity under difficult circumstances
  • Create inclusive, sustainable ways of implementing a vision

A Harvard capstone
The Transition Exercise was created by Harvard Kennedy School alumnus and PON Fellow Arvid Bell, under the supervision of Brian Mandell (Director, Kennedy School Negotiation Project). It formed the capstone of the Advanced Workshop in Multi-Party Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Harvard Kennedy School three years in a row, and it was run as a stand-alone event as the first Harvard International Negotiation Crisis Simulation at Harvard Law School.


Documentary film
During a recent iteration of this education experience, filmmakers from MediaTank Productions documented the entire multi-day experience. The film is scheduled for release towards the end of 2016.

TNRC: A go-to resource for more than 25 years
In addition to offering the Transition Exercise, the TNRC offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including:

  • Over 200 negotiation games, role-plays and simulations
  • Critical case studies
  • Enlightening periodicals
  • More than 30 videos
  • 100-plus books

Negotiation games introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Our videos, books, case studies, and periodicals are also a helpful way of introducing viewers to key concepts while addressing the theory and practice of negotiation and conflict management.

Check out all that the TNRC has in store >>

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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