Strategic decision-making for IAM: what can serious games contribute?

Drinking water companies can use serious games or other decision-support tools to help with strategic decision-making about issues relating to integrated asset management. This project will result in the elaboration of an action plan so that follow-up steps can be taken.

Improving communications between asset managers and asset owners

Water companies are increasingly aware that they need to be able to cope with complex issues such as the energy transition, climate change, changes in regulations and more intensive planning. An integrated approach is needed to anticipate the near future adequately.

The difficulty here is that different experts communicate differently about a changing environment. Strategic managers (usually the asset owners) are more qualitative, abstract and intuitive. Asset managers communicate more in quantitative terms about system behaviour.

This project aims to develop an action plan for a serious game or other decision-support tool for improving communications between these two levels. A possible option is to describe the impact of different scenarios on the asset system at an appropriate level of abstraction. This will help water companies to plan for the future.

Exploring the possibilities of serious games

Since this is an exploratory study, this project will not develop a serious game or other decision-support tool but work in close cooperation with the water companies to establish the underlying conditions, possibilities and preconditions in an action plan. The underlying conditions adopted are that the game:

  1. should be suitable and reliable in terms of integrated decision-making about assets;
  2. should be useful and applicable for users by showing the impact of scenarios on the asset system;
  3. should describe the essential components of decision-making about integrated asset management;
  4. can be produced at an acceptable cost.

Making strategic asset decisions transparent

The intended research result is an action plan for a serious game that can be used for integrated decision-making in asset management. By creating transparency about the consequences for different asset groups – extraction, treatment and distribution – the serious game will help asset managers and asset owners to make strategic decisions. With a tool of this kind, it will be possible to simulate the impact of different scenarios at the strategic level on the performance of asset groups and stakeholders. This is an important step towards a more resilient and future-proof system.