Operational gaming is a special type of model-building structured so as to permit multiple simultaneous interactions among competing and cooperating players. If a computer is used, the game situation can be manipulated and the effects analysed by an observer. Open gaming (when there are no constraints to the individual steps) is restricted in many cases to manual operation because the programming effort and the storage required to handle all possible moves would be uneconomic, even if technically feasible. Gaming is an effective means of forecasting the impact of events and new technologies. Games may be used to provide participants with experience in adapting to an unfamiliar environment and making decisions under conditions of uncertainty, and also to develop understanding of basic organizational relationships. Functional games may be used to provide participants with experience in dealing with well-defined problem situations.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.