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The Right Game: Use Game Theory to Shape Strategy. Adam M. Brandenburger, Barry J. Nalebuff Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1995. The Right Game: Use Game Theory to Shape Strategy Adam M. Brandenburger, Barry J. Nalebuff Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1995.

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The right game use game theory to shape strategy

The Right Game: Use Game Theory to Shape Strategy

Adam M. Brandenburger, Barry J. NalebuffHarvard Business Review,

July-August, 1995


The Right Game: Use Game Theory to Shape StrategyAdam M. Brandenburger, Barry J. NalebuffHarvard Business Review, July-August, 1995

  • “Successful business strategy is about actively shaping the game you play, not just playing the game you find.”


Lessons from game theory
Lessons from Game Theory

  • Look at the situation from the perspective of all others’ involved

  • Look for win-win, not just win-lose opportunities

  • Look for opportunities to “change the game” for the better


Co opetition
“Co-opetition”

  • Businesses must both cooperate to create value, even while competing to divide this value among themselves


The value net
The Value Net

  • Company

  • Customers

  • Suppliers

  • Substitutors

    • Companies / products which could substitute for what you have to offer

  • Complementors

    • Companies / products which complement what you have to offer



Elements of the game
Elements of the Game

  • Players

  • Added Values

    • What each player adds to the value inherent in the total game

  • Rules

  • Tactics (Perceptions)

  • Scope


Changing the players
Changing the Players

  • Players are participants in the Value Net

    • The Company itself, and its Customers, Suppliers, Substitutors, Complementors

    • How does the game change as players come in or out?


Changing added value
Changing Added Value

  • What added value does each player bring to the game?

    • If a player were not participating at all, how would the value of the overall game be affected?


Changing the rules
Changing the Rules

  • Rules determine how the game is played

    • Can the rules be changed to make the game more favorable for one, or for all?

      • Guarantees to match lowest price

      • Funding rules for universities in Manitoba

      • Free agency in sports


Changing perceptions
Changing Perceptions

  • Players’ perceptions of the game influences the way they play it.

    • Commitment strategies, (as ploys)

      • Publicly committing to something to make others perceive you’re serious


Changing the scope
Changing the Scope

  • Scope is the boundaries of the game

    • Tying issues together in negotiations

      • Softwood lumber and energy?

    • Opening a “second front” in competition


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