How Dannon enabled Synergy, the ultimate behavioural business simulation

An open door to the future

In 1996 Alberto Izaguirre, at that time training director of Dannon España was looking for a different way to improve collaboration. The goal was to develop an interactive dynamics to achieving cross-cooperation in the company. Everyone knows about the communication, cooperation and coordination problems that can arise in departments with different and apparently contrary goals such as manufacturing and logistics or marketing and sales to mention some classic examples.

Some history

The consultancy company Training Games was then invited to present an offer due to its specialisation in creating games and simulators applied to train. It was the motive for the Synergy project, which after one year of design and programming was proudly presented in November 1997. Six months were necessary to adjust the dynamics generated by the simulation to the training goals. The software was tested, and the contents were developed. In June 1998, a pilot course was carried out starting a series of thirty-five training sessions performed during 1999 and 2000.

The training course

The course became a two-day residential seminar where the participants managed projects making decisions and investing in scarce resources. These projects, sometimes interrelated, generated a dynamic in the group in which the participants interrelated and made decisions together.
After consolidating the course, in 2001, some behaviours were detected as standard in most sessions. As a consequence, a process of identifying and standardising those repeated behaviours commenced. A database was designed to gather the information, and in January 2002, the observations started to be systematically registered. Five years later, in January 2007, the period to collect the significant data was closed with 52 equivalent courses included in the sample. In September 2008, twelve years after the Dannon initiative and ten after the first pilot course, the results of the statistical analysis were provided. One year later, the first edition of the Cooplexity book was published with all research and outcomes.

Cooplexity Institute

In January 2011, Cooplexity Institute was established in Oxford (UK) focused on promoting and disseminating know-how about the Cooplexity model. It spread out the resulting model of cooperation in complexity to manage interrelations and interdependencies under uncertainty and changing environments.
During all these years, modifications have been introduced both in the simulator as in the course that shares the Synergy name. The majority of them were requested from clients that saw the potential of the training sessions and wanted to explore its operation and analysis further.
Along the way, Synergy has been conducted in Spanish, English, Italian and Chinese language; in American countries, Europe and Asia; in private and public companies, multinationals and some business schools. Currently, it is still a potent tool for training and assessment; it is addressed to a certain size and complex companies or integrated into programs of some Business Schools.

Conclusion

Who can imagine in 2018 a company going to finance and wait for training development for three years?
Only a superb company like Dannon can have the confidence, be patient and give me the support that let me create one of the uniques behavioural business simulations in the planet.
Thank you for the trust that enabled me to start developing something such valuable.
You are invited to read the research book with the entire model.

Reference

  • Zamora Enciso, R. (2010). Cooplexity. A model of collaboration in complexity for management in times of uncertainty and change. Lulu.com.