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War Room - What is it good for?

For many years, various organisations have experimented with the use of special rooms or facilities to assist in their decision making. The military has been in the forefront of this approach. These rooms have been used in military campaigns to develop tactics and grand strategies. Eventually, they began to appear in political campaign headquarters and business boardrooms, as industries began to appreciate the ‘calmness’ they can provide to handle and enhance decision making and planning.

For the most part, they have been a universal success – but as the technological age continues to spiral onwards – is it time to re-evaluate ‘the war room’ and bring it into the digital age? To answer the question of whether war rooms are outdated – we need to look at how and why they are used currently.

The fundamental theory behind war rooms are that they de-clutter the decision-making process, allowing employees to project their ideas directly on to the walls around them thus allowing staff to view a helicopter overview of the entire process and track the many moving parts– this utilises the power of our spatial memory over the ever-unreliable short-term memory. Instead of having to dig into your outlook to find an e-mail from a supplier on pinch points – it’s already there on the wall on a bright pink print out and strings running off to other brightly coloured post-it notes show the knock-on effect this will have on the overall project completion.

War Room

The current incarnation of war rooms certainly ticks this box – but with everything in business and life, we are looking to scale-up proven methodology and bring it into the 21st century. Whilst current war rooms do the job, they have multiple business pain points;
  • Inefficient use of critical meeting spaces – when not in use, war rooms are locked down to protect the sensitive information contained inside (I have heard stories of rooms not being hoovered in 6 months for fear of data leaks, post-it notes flying off the walls!). This means that when a war room is not in operation – your organisation has lost a valuable resource.

  • Impractical – business nowadays is a fluid operation with more and more organisations implementing flexi-time and work from home programs. It is increasingly difficult to co-ordinate getting everyone in one space at one time. In 2016, 43% of employees worked remotely at least some of the time. (Gallup)

  • Accountability – With all decision-making processes – accountability is vital. In the current set up there is no way to tell who was responsible for what contribution as it is hard to record the progress.

  • Tool limitation – There is only so much information you can share on post-it notes, whiteboards and print outs and once shared cannot easily be taken away from the session – participants usually resort to photographing the content.

Analogue v Digital

The current tools utilised in war rooms can be categorised as Analogue – they are low tech, use physical tools such as markers, post-it notes and print outs and are displayed on large flipcharts or whiteboards.

Analogue technology can be blamed for all the pain points we have identified previously – to revolutionise the war room and improve how we collaborate and communicate as an organisation it is necessary to move to digitize the physical tools we are used – utilising cloud based collaboration software which digitizes post-it notes, flipcharts and images displayed on a large format high resolution display.

Nureva Ideation Span System

Nureva Span is the brain child of SMART Technologies founders Nancy Knowlton and David Martin – launched in 2014 to industry acclaim, winning ‘Best of Infocom Awards’ in 2015 and 2016 – NUREVA SPAN aims to revolutionise how we communicate & collaborate with colleagues and bringing the ‘war room’ into the digital age.

Top 3 skills needed by 2020 ; Complex problem solving, creativity & critical thinking (World Economic Forum)

Nureva Span is a cloud based software platform which provides users with a 60m pannable canvas which can be worked on by multiple users in real time and can be utilised via many different devices;
  • Mobile devices

  • Tablets

  • Laptops & Computers

  • Interactive Touch Screen

  • Immersive projection systems

Span System

When you compare this to a physical war room – a 5m square meeting room will give you a maximum of 20m area to work on – Nureva Span provides you with 60m of pannable canvas to work on!

Nureva Span aims to take the physical tools we are used to using daily – post-it notes, marker pens, flipcharts and whiteboards and digitize them whilst retaining the intuitiveness we are familiar with – this is especially important as the biggest barrier to implementing new technology in the workplace is fear of the unknown. On top of this, you now have the option to include images, hyperlinks and live streaming from your laptop.

Accountability and an audit trail are fundamental aspects of any project management process – and with Nureva all canvas contributions are tracked so you know exactly who contributed what, and when. This is increasingly important in industries were projects and problems can develop and change in the blink of an eye.

The real beauty behind NUREVA SPAN is that it provides an agile working environment for your staff and negates the need for a dedicated ‘war room’ as the ‘war room’ is now hosted in the cloud! This means that Robert from Project Management and Sarah from Procurement do not need to be in the same room to be able to discuss critical aspects of the project – all the information is in front of them and updated in real time. It encourages departments on different floors or continents to collaborate on a grander scale – ideas can be added to the canvas at the tap of a finger and discussions spiralling off – resulting in additional content and canvases.

Span System

Ultimately – Nureva Span allows you to harness the theory behind the original war room concept with modern day technology increasing the efficiency of how staff engage and collaborate with each other, as well as freeing up critical resources such as meeting spaces, whiteboards and flip charts.


For more information on Nureva Ideation Span please contact Jack on 0151 282 1805 or

Span System Brochure

Posted By: Jack Wycherley - 23-Nov-2017

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