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BeST – Be Strategic

International Air Transport Association (IATA) and BeST (Be-Strategic Solutions) to Offer New War-Gaming Computerized Platform called Scenario.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and BeST (Be-Strategic Solutions) signed an agreement on 5th July to collaborate for the purpose of generating customized Simulations for the Aviation Industry using a computer-based program called SCENARIO.

SCENARIO is intended to immerse participants in simulated and interactive scenarios and help organizations to:

  • Effectively map out and evaluate risks by simulating unpredicted factors
  • Improve the efficiency of risk management by regular rehearsal of crisis response plans

SCENARIO – presents a unique opportunity for organizations to enhance their decision-making process and evaluate preparedness.  Participants in the gaming process operate in a virtual surrounding, which simulates unexpected challenges. The game reflects prevailing operational procedures designed to confront critical strategic dilemmas. The players represent competitors, suppliers, rivals, experts, government authorities, media outlets, etc. The unique interactive nature of the strategic gaming simulation creates a dynamic learning experience, accessible from multiple locations, providing a cost effective and modular solution.

 

IATA Chief Information Officer Pascal Buchner commented, “Every crisis, though rare, is different. That is why constant preparation and regular rehearsals of the crisis plans are essential. This collaboration with BeST will provide airlines with additional tools to enhance their crisis response by simulating various scenarios, practicing their plans, and identifying any weaknesses that need to be addressed.”

 

SCENARIO is designed to prepare individuals and businesses to deal with any crisis by refining decision-making processes and confronting critical strategic dilemmas.” says BeST Co-CEO Mr. Dotan Sagi. We welcome the opportunity to work with IATA to increase the effectiveness of crises management in the Aviation industry.

About IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents some 275 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic. IATA’s mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry.

About BeST

BeST brings together professionals in the Aviation sector together with Crisis Management experts as well as the world of Academia to create a system that focuses on decision makers and the processes they go through while dealing with different events. Together, our team has been able to build specific algorithms that analyze performance in real time and allow quick de-briefings presenting the decision-making process graphically with unique insights.

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BeST is in the UK!!

BeST are delighted to announce that we are partnering with Monte Alto Solutions in the UK for the provision of our services.

Monte Alto Solutions will work with BeST as our strategic partner across a number of functional areas including, initial request for information, demonstration, client business development, sales and marketing, consultancy, ongoing client relationship management and implementation.

Following closely from BeST’s recent agreement with IATA – the agreement with Monte Alto demonstrates further expansion, into Europe as BeST’s products and services continue to evolve.

Partnering with Monte Alto solutions represents another step forward for BeST as we grow our market share in the European arena. The partnership enables both organisations to provide a more comprehensive, surround service to benefit our customers.

The Monte Alto team will support BeST management in business development and client relationship management, while the BeST management team remains at the heart of our service provision. Both organisations will ensure that the service is tailored to the specific needs of our clients – from designing and building to service delivery and onward through the long-term relationship. This will also allow our Clients to develop new scenarios and challenges for the future – to get the very best out of our products.

We fully believe that the service will be more comprehensive and encompassing – but also more intimate, focusing on the specific client need.

The Monte Alto team will work seamlessly with BeST. They will visit client offices and, supported by our on-line team, will create the right solution/ war game / business continuity test for the clients.

Julian Knott CEO of Monte Alto Solutions said “BeST provides a valuable, and possibly unique business tool for clients that want to test their business continuity and contingency plans at a strategic and operational level. We are proud and honoured to be a business partner across the UK and Europe for such a dynamic organisation.”

The management of BeST and Monte Alto Solutions share common business values and methodologies. Both organisations are highly client-focused and believe that world class service is the cornerstone of customer care.

The BeST “war game” is more than gamification or simulation, it is a unique interactive business tool that tests and records the way a business manages a real-life situation in real time. The ability to track and record decisions and responses and provide instantaneous feedback and reports through an easy to use management dashboard – gives control to the client.

The power of the management tool is that it can measure operational performance and strategic governance and risk.  This forms the basis for cost saving and cost efficiency. However, of even greater value is the protection of the business operation, people, customers and stakeholders. Business reputation and brand integrity is also more assured by a thorough examination of processes and policy, security, and business systems.

For more information contact Monte Alto Solutions:

 julianknott@montealto.co.uk

Richardmowat@montealto.co.uk

Professor Alan (Avi) Kirschenbaum has joined the BeST team!!

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Alan (Avi) Kirschenbaum has joined the BeST team!!

Dr. Alan(Avi) Kirschenbaum31Professor Kirschenbaum brings with him a wealth of experience in the field of disaster management and has served as a Senior Research Fellow at the Neaman Institute for National Policy Research at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and as the initiator and coordinator of The BEMOSA consortium, a 15 partner Europe-wide research project aimed at improving security in airports. He was also a participating partner in PsyCris, an EU project dealing with mass disasters and its psychosocial consequences, during which his focus was on contingency planning.
Professor Kirschenbaum is also a member of the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE) Workgroup for Safety and Security. In addition to authoring numerous scientific journal articles and book chapters, he has served on the editorial boards of leading international journals, on executive boards of international research committees, international academic associations and was a past director of research of the Population Behavior Section, Israel’s Home Front Command.

 

Professor Kirschenbaum remarked “I am very excited to join BeST, whose management and employees reflect the highest level of work ethic and performance in a wide area of disciplines. My decision to join reflects my belief in extrapolating applied research in the behavioral sciences to provide innovative and cutting-edge products that has become an integral part of BeST’s service platform”.

 

“We are happy to see Professor Kirschenbaum join our team, as we see the immense added value that will be provided to our clients as BeST continues in its never-ending pursuit of providing a unique system set apart from solutions on the market by its ability to not only identify gaps in organizations’ policies and practices but also to explore the causative factors behind such gaps” says BeST Co-CEO Mr. Dotan Sagi

Aviation Security Crisis Management Simulation

We are proud to announce the following course that has been designed in accordance with IATA Training.

The course is called ‘Aviation Security Crisis Management Simulation’ and focuses on using the Scenario powered by BeST platform to carry out War-gaming sessions focusing on security crisis management.

For more details, please go to http://www.iata.org/training/courses/Pages/avsec-crisis-management-simulation-tscs14.aspx

 

From Katrina to Irma and everything in between…

by Chelsea Zfaz

The response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas presents a unique opportunity to evaluate the quality and scope of government and non-government organizations’ emergency preparedness and response capacity.

The United States in general (and Texas in particular) are accustomed to large-scale natural disasters. There is a widespread understanding across the US that emergency preparedness is critical to both the continuity and the efficacy of government agencies, law enforcement agencies, municipalities, medical systems and aid groups alike.

Lessons learned from the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 undoubtedly bolstered emergency preparedness efforts for relevant actors vis-à-vis Hurricane Harvey, yet the extent of those lessons and their ability to be translated into a more effectual response have yet to elucidate. 

War-games and tabletop exercises have become the normative mechanisms for increasing emergency preparedness, coordination and response capacities. When discussing their preparation work for post-Katrina disasters, many healthcare workers and emergency responders cited coordination training exercises as primary mechanisms for increasing preparedness within their organizations.

In an interview with the New York Times on preparing for Hurricane Harvey, Darrell Pile, chief executive of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council (which established a catastrophic medical operations center in Houston’s emergency command center), explained that a large association of medical providers had trained and planned regularly for catastrophes, “but honestly, not at this epic level”, he disclosed.

The Texas Medical Center, drawing on tough lessons learned after Hurricane Allison flooded its facilities and forced emergency patient evacuations in 2001, locked its newly-installed submarine doors when Hurricane Harvey made landfall, effectively preventing flooding and protecting every one of its patients.

The Texas Medical Center’s preparedness paid-off for its patients, yet it’s eight helicopters could not land at the center due to high winds. William McKeon, the center’s president and chief executive, explained “I’ve never heard so few sirens as I have in the last few days, which is upsetting. We can be dry and open but if you can’t deliver patients to the medical center, that’s our biggest concern.”

An organization can enjoy the highest level of disaster preparedness possible, yet if it’s partner organizations, delivery services or surrounding environments are lacking readiness to respond, they too shall experience the throes of being unprepared.

Emergency drills and coordination trainings are critical steps in preparing for disasters, yet it is sorely insufficient to claim ‘preparedness’ for a disaster after a single training exercise. The pervasive challenge remains translating lessons learned from trainings and past experiences into enhanced operational procedures and coordination.

Ben Taub Hospital
August 27, 2017: Flood waters inundate Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital, a major trauma center in the Texas Medical Center campus, which had spent billions of dollars on flood protections after Hurricane Allison in 2001.

Organizational Learning Through Comparative Analysis

This is the third of a three-part post, in which you will learn about the three stages of a BeST game:

  • Designing a game
  • Facilitating a game
  • Evaluating a game

 

During this post, we’re going to be discussing the evaluation of a game, during which advanced analyses map out discrepancies in organizations assumed/expected performance and their actual/proven performance.

What sets the BeST system apart from other war-gaming simulators and tabletop exercise solutions on the market is its ability to not only identify gaps in organizations’ policies and practices but also to explore the causative factors behind such gaps.

Most people agree that practice doesn’t always follow policy- especially in crisis management- but why is this the case? If a definite course of action exists within an organization to guide and support decisions and challenges, why don’t people make use of the guidance provided them to support their decision-making and problem-solving? In our experience at BeST, there are many answers to this question.

A brief review on the comparative analytical functions of the BeST system will shed light on the importance of exploring discrepancies between organizational policy and practice.

Comparative Analytic 1: The Interaction Map

Comparing the Expected Interaction Map to the Real Interaction Map shows us discrepancies in organizations perceived/assumed interactions by players (messages/chats sent and received) compared to actual/practical interactions.

The graphs below reflect how a high-level manager of an organization believed his employees would interact during a specific scenario (left) compared to how his employees actually interacted during the scenario (right):

Expected Intensity Map                                                                                       Real Intensity Map

תמונה1

According to the policy, the mayor should have been at the center of interactions, sending correspondence out to other players (as per the graph on the left). In practice, the mayor sat on the periphery of interactions, mostly receiving correspondence from others. In this scenario, the transportation sector and the media (“CNN”) were central players in the interactions (as per the graph on the right).

Comparative Analytic 2: The Intensity Map

Comparing the Expected Intensity Map to the Real Intensity Map shows us discrepancies in organizations perceived/assumed decision-making and action-taking by players compared to actual/practical decision-making and action taking.

 

The following chart depicts the level of actions the same manager assumed his employees would take in ten-minute intervals during the same scenario (The Expected Interaction Map)

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The chart below depicts the actual level of actions the employees took in ten-minute intervals in the same scenario (The Real Interaction Map):

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According to the policy, no one player was responsible for making more than a few actions per ten-minute interval (as per the chart on the left). In practice, some players performed up to 22 actions in the ten-minute interval (as per the chart on the right).

 

 

 

Comparative Analytic 3: The Heat Map

Comparing the Expected Heat Map to the Real Heat Map shows us discrepancies in organizations perceived/assumed decisions over specified time periods by players compared to actual/practical actions and decisions by players. Like the Expected Interaction Map, this analytic reveals the amount of pressure put on each player over time.

The following chart depicts the number of decisions the manager assumed each employee would take in ten-minute intervals in the same scenario (The Expected Heat Map):

 4

 

 The chart below depicts the actual number of decisions the employees took in ten-minute intervals in the same scenario (The Real Heat Map):

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According to the policy, no one player was supposed to make more than a handful of decisions per ten-minute interval. In practice, every player made more than ten decisions in various ten-minute intervals.

 

Organizational practices quite often deviate from organizational policies. The BeST system allows organizations to see why their practices differ from their policies; organizations are able to understand the root causes of certain behaviors and trends and their influence on employee performance and overall operations.

Understanding the root causes of human behavior in the context of an organizations’ decision-making and operational processes sheds valuable light on the efficacy of organizations’ policies, practices and ethos.

 

Whether your organization is experiencing differences in policy and practice as a result of ineffective policies or de-facto practices, or because of misunderstandings relating to policy implementation or operational trends- in order for organizations to begin to improve performance and profit, they must first look inward before looking outward.

 

Call us to learn how BeST can help improve your organization’s performance, profit-generation and readiness for crisis.

 

 

The Essence of Crisis Management Simulations: Strengthening Decision-Making Processes

By Chelsea Zfaz

This is the second of a three-part post, in which you will learn about the three stages of a BeST game:

  • Designing a game
  • Facilitating a game
  • Evaluating a game

In this post, we’re going to be discussing the actual facilitation of a game, during which players are confronted with realistic crises designed to challenge their approaches to crisis management and strategic planning. The unique interactive nature of the strategic gaming simulation creates a dynamic learning experience that improves organizations’ decision-making, coordination and problem-solving behaviors.

Improving an organization’s decision-making and problem-solving processes is not an easy task. Read on to understand how this is possible and why it’s absolutely necessary to review organizational decision-making and problem-solving capacities in today’s world.

How the Game Works

BeST allows organizations to practice crisis response activities in a fail-safe environment in order to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a true crisis situation.  BeST’s web-based platform simulates various crisis scenarios and allows participants to communicate activities/response, recording all information exchanged during the simulation and providing a thorough analysis at the end of the simulation.

Once the game has started, the BeST system will send messages to all players. These messages will create a virtual reality in which each player has to resolve the different challenges he/she faces. Players will need to interact through our messaging system, in order to collect and collate information so that they are able to make informed actions.

How the Game Improves Decision-Making Processes

We’ve broken down the decision-making process into a three-step progression. As in reality, a decision is taken once: a) there is an acknowledgement of a challenge; b) there is a consideration of the various options available to answer that challenge; and c) the selection of one option from amongst alternatives as a source of solution for the challenge.

As a game unfolds, the BeST system asks different players different questions, provoking them to make decisions based on the information (and sometimes the lack of information) at hand. Because the system records ALL information inputted and exchanged in the system, we are able to analyze who said what, when, and in what context.

Why Improve Decision-Making Processes

Using our advanced algorithms for analysis, we explore those people and processes that 1were proactive in supporting effective and efficient decision-making and problem-solving behaviors. We are also able to investigate processes and procedures that fail to propagate appropriate crisis-management strategies, and- even more importantly- we’re able to discover why those processes and procedures fell short in supporting the organization’s crisis management scheme.

Understanding the causal factors behind effective and efficient decision-making and problem-solving is critical to increasing an organization’s capacity to manage crisis.

Though we can never mitigate crisis altogether, we can anticipate those scenarios to which our organizations our vulnerable. We can also learn how to reduce relevant vulnerabilities and risks. Evaluating and strengthening decision-making and problem-solving abilities is a significant step in being able to reduce vulnerabilities and risks and to increase our level of preparedness for crisis.

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Call us to learn more about how BeST can help prepare you and your organization for your next crisis.

The Backbone of the BeST Game Design Phase: The Flowchart

by Chelsea Zfaz

This is the first of a three-part post, through which you will learn about the three stages of a BeST game:

  • Designing a game
  • Facilitating a game
  • Evaluating a game

In this post, we’re going to discuss the game design process, which focuses on our clients’ procedures and their role in supporting and/or deterring effective crisis management schemes.

We at BeST have invented something entirely new. We’ve developed a methodology to breakdown organizations’ procedures into a flowchart, allowing analysis of highly complex processes based on very simple concepts.

By investigating who said what, when, and why in relation to various events- we are able to understand those organizational procedures that are conducive to effective management as well as those that are not. Moreover, we are able to see those individuals in an organization who are central to the management process and those who simply follow instructions or protocol.

Understanding the Purpose of the Flowchart: The Basis of Learning Processes

The flowchart is the backbone of every game. It establishes a logical progression of events and serves as the scenario-generator for every simulation. It also enables us to anticipate how an organization plans to act and react to various scenarios. Interestingly, organizations always behave differently in crisis situations than they assume they will. Hence the significance of BeST and the system’s unique ability to map out gaps between a client’s perception of its crisis management capacity and its actual crisis management capacity.

flow

The flowchart is built upon phases. A phase is either a message, an analysis or a decision relating to relevant events taken by one of the game’s participants. Each phase does not exist in isolation, however, and is not only associated with relevant events but also actions, reactions and interactions of participants. The phases serve to establish a cause-and-effect progression of events in the larger context of the simulation.

Once we break down an organization’s procedures into a flowchart, we are able to filter through the chart to hone-in on various trends. For example- we can filter every flowchart by specific events, allowing a refined view of the game’s progression according specifically to a cyber-attack/security breach/breakdown of infrastructure/etc. We can also sift through the game’s various events (and those factors that caused them) by filtering the flowchart according to those participants who were active in various events.

flow2

The Relevance of the Flowchart

If your top priority is understanding the actions and decisions of your organization’s personnel and the factors that play into those actions and decisions- the flowchart will be a critical component of your game design process.

If your priority is understanding which events and scenarios actually form the basis of a crisis and which events prove futile- the flowchart will be a critical component of your game design process.

If your priority is understanding the cause-and-effect relationship between various events, your personnel’s reaction to those events and the subsequent interaction of your employees- the flowchart will be a critical component of your game design process.

Any organization trying to figure out why events unfold as they do and why people act, react and make decisions as they do will find the flowchart an indispensable part of their crisis management process.

flow3

When it comes to your company, ignorance is never bliss.

Call us to learn more about how BeST can help you prepare your business and your personnel for your next crisis.

 

 

Exploring the Meaning of Discrepancies Between Policy and Practice

Written by Chelsea Zfaz

We live in a world in which established policies offer some degree of stability in the face of general chaos in our professional, public and private lives. But what actually is a policy, and how does it actually serve us as individuals, employees and organizations?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a policy is a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives and in light of given conditions to guide and determine present and future decisions[1].

A policy is more than just a specified course of action adopted for the sake of efficiency, expediency or prudence; it is a mechanism that should facilitate effectual, strategic decision-making.

So why is it that practice so frequently variates from policy? And- perhaps more importantly- should we be critical of those individuals and organizations whose practices stray from their policies? Or should we commend those who are able to operate independently of established doctrines?

A number of factors play into the answers to these questions. More importantly than piceither criticizing or commending adherence to policy (or lack thereof), is assessing the underlying causal factors behind such discrepancies.

Why was the policy not implemented into practice? Has the employee of the organization failed to understand the intended function of the policy? Could the policy have been ineffective in practice, and therefore have been deliberately circumvented? Or perhaps the overarching organization fosters a culture of independence and therefore curtails the role of policy?

Understanding the root causes of human behavior and motivation in the context of an organizations’ decision-making and operational processes sheds valuable light on the efficacy of organizations’ policies, practices and ethos.

We at BeST are working closely with Sociologists from various universities in Israel, developing algorithms that will reveal underlying causes behind our clients’ behaviors and decision-making processes.

When preparing for a crisis, understanding why people act as they do can be as important as understanding how people act as they do.

Mitigate Risks. Reduce Vulnerabilities. Prepare for a crisis as BeST you can.

Call us to learn more about how BeST can help you prepare for your next crisis.

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/policy

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