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Eclectic Bill

About (but not limited to) project managment, knowledge management, change management, learning organizations, mental models, and Theory of Constraints as applied to government, non-profits, and higher education.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Game Simulation Convinces McDonald's Interactive to combat global warming

At the recent International Serious Games Event, the Director of McDonald's Interactive Division explained why that division is calling for abrupt social change to combat global warming. Initially developed to help McDonald's executives determine how to best improve McDonald's declining market share, the gamemakers decided to make the game even more realistic by utilizing a sophisticated economic model from MIT and to augment the "Externalities" module with a realistic environmental model. When they ran the simulations, they discovered that McDonald's corporate activities were having a devastating effect on the environment by hastening global warming.

"Sometimes, regional temperatures would swing to extreme hot or cold. More often, global sea-level would start rising uncontrollably over the course of a decade, ruining pasture and cropland, destroying low-lying restaurants and destablizing society so that many other restaurants ended up being looted, or so that no one around could afford hamburgers anymore."

These concerns were taken to McDonald's top executives but they declined to act on the information. Thus, the reason for the remarkable address today at the Serious Games event. Again, this example points to the dilemma that knowledge management is not valuable if the top management doesn't take the conclusions seriously.


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