Abstract for: Utilizing the Beer Game to Rethink the Organization of Interdisciplinary Research

The Beer Game has been used for decades to introduce a variety of audiences to the intricacies and challenges of supply chain dynamics. Interdisciplinarity describes the concept of scientists from two or more disciplines collaborating to produce new, hybrid work. This investigation repurposed the classic Beer Game to couple supply chain management with interdisciplinarity in a health care institution setting. The classical stations of Factory, Distributor, Wholesaler and Retailer were altered to reflect a similar pattern present in the scientific understanding of a complex problem: spine-related pain. The Retailer and Customer stations were replaced by a "Public/Policy" station, where health sciences questions were generated, and passed down the chain to "Clinical Trials". The "Clinical Trials" station passed questions down to the "Biomechanics" station, which moved questions to "Cell Biology" station. Information was then moved up the chain in an attempt to answer the questions. This exercise elicited similar results to that of The Beer Game. In addition, results demonstrated the typical bullwhip effect created by the silos, wherein each scientific discipline polarizes, and restrains the system with additional bottlenecks. This experiment was successful at thematically interpreting areas needing to be emphasized in research in order to inform future agendas.