John Warfield Exhibit

National Advocacy Groups

The Center for Interactive Management developed a strong client base for its service, across a broad diversity of organizations. This 1986 letter to George Mason University President George Johnson extols the IM process: "[n]o other process has allowed our organization to accomplish what was accomplished in the two-short days we spent with Dr. Christakis and his staff." The relationship between Christakis and Americans for Indian Opportunity continued well into the 21st century.

Department of Defense

George Mason's proximity to Washington D.C. afforded the CIM the opportunity to easily network with key figures in the government. A number of defense agencies utilized Interactive Management to solve complex problems. This 1988 letter from the office of the Under Secretary of Defense states that "[t]he methodologies utilized, coupled with the discipline and overall high degree of professionalism exhibited by the staff of the Center for Interactive Management, were critical elements necessary to unravel this very complex acquisition process." The CIM's attempts to assist DoD with their process of acquisition was perhaps one of the most complex initiatives ever undertaken, and it met with limited success. Post-workshop interviews with participants showed that in some cases, there was reluctance to fully buy in to the IM approach.

Industry Focus Groups

In addition to working public and private organizations, the CIM also collaborated with focus groups brought together to address specific issues. In 1987, health care professionals congregated on the campus of George Mason to study the unique concerns of medical self-care. A key part of this process was to be "computer-assisted problem solving and consensus development."

Small Local Organizations

The Interactive Management approach was specifically design to work with complex problems, but these types of problems were not relegated to large organizations. The Center for Interactive Management also worked with smaller, local organizations such as the United Way of the National Capital Area. This 1987 thank you letter points out that 41 of 48 participants rated the IM session "very good" or "excellent," and 46 requested a follow-up.

Government Agencies

One of the most passionate advocates of the Interactive Management approach was the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They were among the first to adopt the approach, and even developed their own Demosophia for holding IM sessions. David Mackett, a planning officer at Southwest Fisheries, won the 1991 NOAA Administrator's Award. The announcement points out that "[t]he key principle in Mackett's interactive planning approach, which was developed at George Mason University's Center for Interactive Management and first applied in this country by NOAA, is having all people involved in an issue actively participate in the planning process at special workshops."

Ford Motor Company

Perhaps the largest corporate client to take advantage of the Interactive Management methodolgy was Ford Motor Company. Beginning in 1989, staff members from the CIM worked closely with Scott Staley of Ford to develop a number of IM sessions designed to help the manufacturer solve complex problems. These sessions continued into the 1990's, well past the period when the CIM had been closed. In 1998, Ford had plans drawn up for a 35,000 square foot demosophia, estimated to cost $3.3 million. The room was ultimately never constructed. Numerous videotapes of Ford IM sessions exist in the John N. Warfield Collection at George Mason University Special Collections & Archives.

International Cooperation

The reach of the Center for Interactive Management was not confined to the boundary of the United States. Warfield traveled abroad frequently to assist foreign organizations and nations in the design of Interactive Management sessions. Warfield is shown here in 1989 signing an agreement with the Central University of Ecuador and other Ecuadorian researchers to study Interactive Management approaches to dealing with that country's economic problems.

The IM Legacy Beyond CIM

The Center for Interactive Management had been terminated as a formal operating body in 1990. But the work of Interactive Management continued, by Warfield and his team, and by others around the world. The IM software and methodology were freely shared to anyone with interest, and a great number of organizations took advantage of the opportunity. Proponents of Interactive Management could be found around the world, in both public and private pursuits. This excerpt from a 1997 report on technology in Ghana discusses the results of an Interactive Management session which identified 50 distinct problems on the topic. In addition to clients in the United States, other organizations in Asia, Africa, and South America continue to practice Interactive Management.