On April 3, 2012, Dr. Ernest Thiessen, CEO of Smartsettle, was a speaker at the 8th Annual Alberta Institute of Agrologists Conference in Banff. The theme for the conference this year was “Water: What is at Risk? Agriculture, Energy & Urban End Use”. Dr. Thiessen’s interest in and focus on solving complex multiparty multivariate problems, as well as his extensive and award winning work in water management, made this a great opportunity for the attendees to hear how risk in water management can be mitigated through fair and efficient problem solving.

Dr. Thiessen presented a 3-hour professional development workshop to 160 attendees. He first taught the basics of negotiation theory and then introduced the participants to an eNegotiation system that changes the paradigm so that collaboration becomes superior to adversarial methods, even in situations where there are power imbalances. Thiessen also showed how any number of decision makers with conflicting objectives can participate collaboratively in a process that quickly produces outcomes that are both fair and optimal.

The highlight of the presentation was a simulation of a hypothetical negotiation between Albertan cities and the Saskatchewan government dealing with the issues of water use and environmental impact in the Oldman river watershed. Through this simulation, Dr. Thiessen was able to demonstrate the basic application and value of Smartsettle to this complex problem.

Dr. Thiessen’s presentation was well received, with many positive comments and conversations resulting from it, as well as requests for follow up presentations.