Israeli start-up launches wiki-based competition

“Grand Strategy 2.0” competition will provide participants with a “Wikipedia meets Facebook collaborative space for generating content.”

May 2, 2011 23:50
2 minute read.
[illustrative photo]

Computer technology keyboard 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters/Catherine Benson)


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As instability in the Middle East continues to confuse even the world’s most important decision makers, a small Israeli start-up has launched a new wiki-based competition that it hopes will revolutionize grand strategic planning.

Thirty-five teams of students and analysts from leading academic and military institutions including Columbia, Georgetown, Oxford and the United States Air Force have already registered for Wikistrat’s Grand Strategy Competition. It will take place throughout June and will be judged by Dr. Thomas Barnett, former senior adviser to the US secretary of defense, and Michael Barrett, former director of strategy at the White House Homeland Security Council.

Wikistrat CEO Joel Zamel, who together with fellow Australian expat Daniel Green founded the company in Israel last year, said the competition, which they have dubbed “Grand Strategy 2.0,” would provide participants with a “Wikipedia meets Facebook collaborative space for generating content.”

“Generically this kind of work [strategic planning] is done in the form of static reports: that’s the industry standard,” Zamel told The Jerusalem Post. “This is different because it’s wiki-based, allowing strategists and analysts from around the world to collaboratively generate content.”

“There’s a methodology that we’ve developed that is set up to guide them through the competition, so they’re able to look at the work of other teams that they’re competing against,” he said. “They’re also able to leverage off the content analysis that’s in our system.

We have developed an integrated model of globalization in all its complexity: flows of investment, political trends, country interests and strategic forecasting that’s in our wiki,” which they’ll be able to “integrate” with their strategies.

In addition to using the competition to promote their company and to highlight the analysis and forecasting that it provides, the organizers are excited that it will bring together leading analysts of the future, who will be challenged to come up with long-term national strategies for selected countries based on five issues: global energy security, global economic “rebalancing,” Jihadist terrorism, the Sino-American relationship and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

“The competition is focusing on very broad-scale trends and developments,” Zamel said, naming the emergence of new economic powers in Asia and the resurgence of Turkey as a regional power as issues that would need to be considered by competitors when they decide on policies for their selected countries.

Scores will be tallied at the end of each of the four weeks of the competition, with competitors judged by their level of analysis and by how well they achieve their stated objectives.

The team with the highest score at the end will win a $10,000 cash prize.

Led by chief analyst Barnett, a world-leading grand strategist and author of The New York Times best-seller The Pentagon’s New Map, Wikistrat provides peer-to-peer multi-perspective analysis that allows ordinary users to interact and to predict how global issues will pan out.

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