Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University in August 2015 regarding Role Playing as an Analytic Technique specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.
Role-Playing is an analytic technique in which participants are divided and assigned specific roles to simulate a problem discussion. Each participant must adopt the specific perspective of their assigned role. Each group that is affected by the problem should be represented. The role-players then engage in a discussion of the topic. This technique is useful for both forecasting solutions to problems and for analyzing previously suggested answers.
- It helps the groups to solve the problems in a creative way.
- Role playing can take into account the complexities of the situation.
- It helps to prevent biases if it is implemented as a proper group work.
- It helps the group to gain a different perspective.
- In order to solve the problem, it must be launched properly.
- There could possibly be hesitant participants.
- It is extremely important to actually put oneself in the role.
- Important to have background information for participants.
- The method must identify intelligence gaps.
- Assign roles and make sure people embody them
- Describe the situation
- Let the situation develop in a free form manner
- Upon conclusion of the exercise debrief the group
Personal Application of Technique:
Role Playing Exercise involving a potential decision by the Mercyhurst school administration to mandate that all student-athletes live on campus.
For this exercise, we grouped students into three teams: Student-Athletes, School Administrators, and Analysts. The three groups were requested to develop pros, cons, and a conclusion on whether this new policy is good for their specific group. The teams were given 10 minutes to develop their arguments. After the initial brainstorming period, the teams presented their ideas, and a list of similarities and differences in points of view was produced.
To improve this exercise, an additional group (non-student-athlete) should have been added. Additionally, all roles should have been assigned prior to the problem statement being given.
For Further Information:
Forecasting decisions in conflict situations
Wisdom of group forecasts: Does role-playing play a role?
Role-Playing our way to solutions