1) Introduction of the Game
One of the main concerns in the introductory part is to present this game in a way
so that delegates are all excited about participating. Unfortunately, not everyone
will be enthusiastic right away, especially those AIESECers who have a very
quot;professionalquot; approach to doing their work in AIESEC. These people have high
expectations of the training quality and might reject to play (thereby encouraging
others to do the same). If you can manage to introduce the game in a way that
makes it look professional, then getting these people involved should be a piece of
Avoid the word quot;gamequot; (because this might sound childish), but instead say
quot;international cooperation simulationquot; or even call it an quot;assessment centerquot;,
i.e. an opportunity for delegates to assess their skills (maybe prepare a slide
with a list of skills that can be tested in this game such as skills in
teamworking, communication, leadership, intercultural awareness, open-
Tell delegates that this simulation is used by professional training agencies in
multinational companies to prepare expatriates for overseas projects.
When dividing the groups and looking for experts, don't say you need quot;15
expertsquot;, but quot;15 consultantsquot; or ask for volunteers with quot;international
experience and interest in the management consultancy businessquot;.
I can only assure you that you can easily influence all those quot;professionalquot;
AIESECers by just choosing your words carefully.
What to do when some delegates still not participate? This is up to you. Forcing
them will hardly work, but asking for his reasons might give you leverage to
persuade him. After all, we are all adults and should respect each other.
2) The General Flow of The Game
After having the group of roughly 30 delegates equally divided into quot;Expertsquot; and
quot;Derdiansquot;, you should separate the groups from each other. There will be at least
one more facilitator to support you, so that one can stay with each group. Give
them their instructions [Handout #1 (for the Derdians) and #2 (for the Experts)]
and let them read it. After that answer all their questions. Experts should then
make a plan of how they will approach this problem and Derdians should
intensively practice their culture for the next 20 minutes. Following that, a small
group of Experts (4-5) enters the Derdian culture to observe and interact with the
Derdians. Subsequently they return to the other Experts and give report about the
situation. Then the whole Expert group enters Derdia and has exactly 30 minutes
to build the bridge. Your role should be the one of a Derdian in order to enforce
the rules of the culture.
Please, read both handouts before proceeding.
3) The Discus sion Afterwards
Just a few notes for I assume that you are experienced enough to facilitate the
1. Some delegates take the game with a sense of humor but some (especially)
experts will be very frustrated. Try to get everyone to talk about those
frustrations (not just the ones who have a tendency to always be the ones
talking). Let them describe what their impression of the other group was. Then
finally give them a complete overview about the Derdian culture and the
situation of the Experts.
2. *Then comes the tough part. Very basically, you need to get the point of the
game across, which is the following: At NT delegates learn all these personal
skills which are great for their own personal development. However, if we only
strive for individual development, then what is AIESEC good for? There has to
be leadership, i.e. one direction in which we go altogether. This direction is the
AI Global Strategy: using eXchange to develop individuals who have an impact
on society. How do you get to this basic message? I suggest the following
sequence of questions. However, there are many other ways to do this and you
might want to do it differently. Also, stay flexible within a certain discussion
frame as delegates might not necessarily provide the answer you have been
Who of you thinks that in his/her professional life, he or she will have to do
his/her job in an international environment?
Do you think that something like this could happen to you in real life?
(Note: Mediterranean people touch a lot, African countries are very proud of
their culture (that is why Somalia still is in this terrible situation),
Bulgarians nod their heads when they mean yes, the Dutch kiss three times,
other countries twice, Germans just shake hands, China and Japan are still
very patriarchal cultures, etc. The game is a real slice of life.)
Do you think that your career will move ahead without international
What do you think are the skills you will need to work successfully in such
an environment? (Maybe write them on a flipchart.)
Assessing your own skills, do you feel prepared for doing business on an
international scale? Are you really as open-minded as you thought? (Note:
the text doesn't say the Derdians are a wild, primitive tribe but most Experts
will assume this and treat them like primitive people, i.e. in a way that is
perceived as arrogant. Why do they do so? Because they are not aware that
their subconscious mind has pictured the Derdians this way before he came
to Derdia. Is that open-minded?)
Where do you learn those skills? In school? (Answer: No, but in AIESEC.
You might want to share some personal experiences here.)
Stress how important those skills are by referring to the article from the
International Herald Tribune.
The point is: you don't learn this in AIESEC, if you don't cooperate
internationally. Organizing Career-week, Training 2000, or only doing
Finance or Marketing will never get you to discover how much else there is
you didn't know. Get involved into what AIESEC really stands for. Use your
skills to help promote the true idea of AIESEC. No matter what
responsibility you have in AIESEC. If you are in Finance, then budget more
money into int'l cooperation and less into fancy office material (for
example). If you do Marketing, the promote AIESEC in an int'l context. Tell
students what we really stand for. If you do Training 2000, why not
organize a training on cross-cultural communication skills? There are tons
of more examples...
[I used this game in an ITEP selling training to draw the following conclusions:
1. As the globalization process moves on, doing business internationally is not any longer a
matter of the seize of the company. Almost everyone is doing business abroad in one way
or the other. It is not always successful though and sometimes costs companies a lot of
money. Just read the article that is enclosed in the end („Why Culture Shock Is Such An
Expensive Business“, International Herald Tribune). In the field of cross-cultural relations
AIESEC can be a real partner. I am cautious with this because in some LCs the eXchange-
process (preparation, reception, re-integration) is not a primary focus.
2. A lot of companies don’t cooperate with AIESEC even though they have international
trainees. But what if the trainee is experiencing culture shock? If he is not with AIESEC,
then he is neither prepared for this, nor does he have anybody to help him. In AIESEC,
that’s the reason why we have preparation and reception. A trainee with culture shock is
not a fully functioning trainee and thus of no value to the company. Reason enough to take
an AIESEC trainee.
3. The development of your country’s economy as a whole will largely depend on
international trade. The more of your fellow countrymen are able to do business
internationally (i.e. know how to deal with other cultures), the better for your economy. If
a company from your country is giving you a traineeship, that means that a student from
your country can go abroad as well and make valuable international experiences. This
argument might not sound „down-to-earth“ but it proves to have quite an effect if the
person you are dealing with has a broader perspective on business and economics.]
4) Critical Succe s s Factors
A few factors can be singled out as extraordinarily important for a successful
outcome of the game:
The Derdians culture: in order for the Experts to succeed, they need to
recognize a pattern in the behavior of the Derdians. If not all Derdians stick to
the rules and just geek off, then this is impossible. Practice the rules
intensively, take your time. During the game you better be one of the Derdians
and encourage delegates to follow your behavior.
Stress on the Experts: the Experts have to be under pressure when building
the bridge. Don't make it too easy for them. Mention the time they have left. If
necessary, tell them to have a meeting and discuss their further procedure
(that is when they absolutely don't get along with the Dedians' culture).
The discussion: let everyone talk and don't interrupt, BUT: if we don't give
them a clear message that they a) understand easily and b) can relate to for
their future work in AIESEC, then this game didn't achieve any results. Deal
convincingly with critical opinions, don't let people talk over you. That will
only work if you are convinced by the message of the game. Are you..?
GOOD LUCK....and let's kick butts!
Instructions for the Derdians
Flow of the Game
First, you have 20 minutes to read the instructions and learn and practice your
specific behavior. Make sure that you are fully aware of your cultural behavior.
This is a crucial point. After 20 minutes a few members of the expert team will
visit you for some minutes. During this time you have to use your specific cultural
behavior (but do not talk about it as long as the experts are in the room). After
this preparation time, the experts are coming in again and they have 30 minutes
time to finish the project with your help.
You are an inhabitant of the country Derdia. You are awaiting the arrival of an
expert team, which shall teach you to build a bridge over a nearby river. The
bridge has been destroyed by a recent earthquake. *The people in your country
are very well educated in liberal arts and are also very successful business people.
Unfortunately, there is no real engineering education in your country and this has
to be changed. That is why you want the Experts to teach you in this field. You
want to have the bridge being built because then you can go easier and quicker
across the bay, where all the nice restaurants are. The bridge will by symbolized
by a bridge made with paper. You do know the instruments (scissors, paper, glue,
ruler, pen) but you do not know the construction techniques.
Rules for the Social Behavior of the Derdians
Derdians use to touch each other: When they talk with each other or even when
they pass each other. Not touching each other means: I don’t like you!
The traditional greeting procedure is a kiss on the shoulder: The person, who
starts the greeting ceremony, kisses the other on his shoulder. After this he will be
kissed on his shoulder. Ever other form of kissing will be an insult! If a Derdian is
insulted he starts complaining very loud about it. To give a Derdian the hand for
greeting is also be understood as an insult.
A Derdian never uses the word „No“. He always says yes, even if he means no.
When a Derdian means no, he still says yes and shakes strongly his head (this you
have to practice very much, because it might be very difficult to remember during
the construction time).
There is a specific gender-separation in using tools: scissors are male tools, but
pens and rulers are female. The glue is neutral. Reason for this is a „taboo“:
men would never, never touch a pen or a ruler and woman would never touch
Behavior with foreigners
Derdians are always nice to foreigners. But the Derdians are very proud about
themselves and their culture. They know, that they cannot build the bridge
without the help of the foreign experts. But they do not see the culture of the
foreigners as superior. They expect from the foreigners, that they adopt to the
„Derdian way of living“. Because they see their own behavior as a natural one,
the Derdians can’t explain it to the experts (this is a very important rule!) A
man from Derdia will never agree to talk with a foreign man, except this
foreigner is introduced to him by a woman. It doesn’t matter if this woman is
from Derdia or a foreigner.
Handout #2 Instructions for the Experts
Flow of the Game
First, you have 20 minutes in order to read the instructions and think carefully
about the procedure of building the bridge. After 20 minutes, 4-5 members of
your group are allowed to visit the Derdians for 5 minutes. After this, you have
another few minutes to analyze this experience and then the building of the
bridge starts for which you have no more than 30 minutes.
Your group is a team of international experts, which has to build a bridge, which
was destroyed in an earthquake in Derdia, a small country you have never been to
before. The bridge will be symbolized by a paper bridge. The bridge is very
important as the Derdians' access to food is cut off without it*. Since the Derdians
are not well educated in engineering, they now have to learn how to build bridges
on their own. Your future career with your company will largely depend on the
successful outcome of this project.
Construction of the bridge
You are allowed to use the following materials:
paper ruler scissors
The bridge has to be very stable. At the end of the game, the bridge has to fit
between the two tables. For this, the bridge must be able to carry at least the
weight of the ruler. The bridge is made by pieces of paper* and should resemble
an authentic bridge as much in detail as possible. Each sheet has to be drawn first
with pencil and ruler, after that it has to be cut with scissors. The construction
time in Derdia is 30 minutes. During this time, the bridge has to be finished.