Management consultants offer business advice to the Empire in Star Wars

Changing the name of the Death Star to something like "Freedom Keeper 5000" could have been a huge PR coup.

If there’s one major fault with the Empire in the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s that it consistently put evil ahead of efficiency.

In the pursuit of galactic domination, it overlooked glaring weak spots in its Death Star design, wasn’t rigorous enough in its hiring of Stormtroopers and appointed a leader who was liable to Force choke colleagues - a real HR headache.

Perturbed by this, an ex-McKinsey consultant decided to crowdsource some advice for Grand Moff Tarkin and co on Quora.

“The market for galactic domination is large and expanding, “ Paul Mainwood wrote. “The Empire is in a healthy position (as you know, avoid the words "dominant" or "commanding" here) with [70]% (please check) of the galaxy crushed under the Emperor's mighty heel.

“However, the emerging Rebellion [do they call them Rebel scum?  Let's use their language...] are growing fast, and have an enticing brand that could in time pull some of the medium sized star systems over from the glorious subjugation to the Emperor.”

In order to meet this emerging threat, he offered up a few counter-measures.

Fix the basics - Quick wins:

- Fit shields to TIE fighters.  The cost-benefit analysis shows that having a ship that can take more than one hit would outweigh the costs within 1 hour of combat [show that benchmark vs Millennium Falcon: something like >200 hits without exploding]

- Offer free eye tests to all stormtroopers equipped with blasters

- Leverage fear of Emperor/Vader: studies of timelines on projects show that they have a powerful effect on completion rate -- let's work out how to scale this

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Then came some more long-term changes:

Focus on core competences

Divert funds to the fast, flexible Imperial fleet of Star Destroyers, and away from large untested vanity projects (e.g., a) Death stars b) Bigger Death stars c) Really, really big death stars that suck in the sun).  At the moment, these death star projects have a mean active life of around a week, leading to a heavily NPV negative outlook, even assuming the advantages of slave labour and creative financing.

Revitalise leadership with talent from the wider pool

Though the Galactic population is made up of a rich cross-section of humanoid and not even vaguely humanoid creatures, the officer class of the Empire is dominated by humans who appear (judging by their accents) to have been educated exclusively at Oxford or Cambridge.  This lack of diversity could lead to group-think, project an exclusive mindset to the galactic population at large, and may lead to senior officers hosting port and cheese parties when they should be directing attacks on ice planets.

One respondent suggested the Empire’s problem lied with its PR department, or lack thereof, suggesting:

1) A public relations makeover to include vilifying the rebels who blew up Death Star. Also a changing the name of the second Death Star to something like "Freedom Keeper 5000" or "The Sphere of Liberty and Justice." Never miss an opportunity to remind the public that the rebels are enemies of Liberty and Justice. Nothing brings a regime together like a shared enemy!

2) Cast any light sided force users or their advocates as 'religious extremists.’ Use a government owned holographic news network to blame Jedi force suicide bombers for the destruction of Alderaan. Hired some talk radio gurus to go on an all out assault against them.

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Most seemed in agreement that the Death Star was a bad investment, with exorbitant maintenance costs, though some suggestions weren’t as ambitious as a major overhaul of the HQ:

Don't let the Emperor and Lord Vader travel together.

Their proximity generates a concentration of target vulnerability. They should, when off-Coruscant, rely on remote communication rather than face to face meetings.

One consultant, Mark Harrison, felt that in addition to making more use of guided missiles and less of piloted craft with cannons, the power structure of the entire Empire needed to be re-thought from the ground-up:

Dissolve the Council, and give the Governors direct control

The key stakeholders involved in commissioning this report felt that the combination of centralisation and committees led both to slower decision-making, and worse accountability locally.

By empowering the Governors to run their own areas directly, decision-making can be sped up. Clearly the Emperor will need to set high-level policy.

Poor relations with past allies was blamed too:

Bring other forces onto the side of the empire like the Hutts and all those annoying guys (trade federation, techno guild, banking guys) from the prequel trilogy. Have them help destroy the rebels.

How else could the Empire, or the First Order for that matter, improve in its glorious crusade to crush the Rebel scum? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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