Context for Smartsettle One+ case
Potato processing effluent discharging into Crystal River ———————— see story below

UPDATE (Apr 24/17): This event is virtually identical to what we did for Cyberweek 2016 except that you will now be playing against a robot instead of a “Mechanical Turk”**. This will help you quickly learn how Smartsettle works with different strategies. Recruit your friends and see who can get the best scores. The goal of this event is to demonstrate the benefits of a collaborative negotiating style.


This event was originally hosted by ADRhub at Creighton University who brought the dispute resolution community together at Cyberweek 2016 (Oct 31 – Nov 4).

How to test drive Smartsettle One+:

1. Watch the video posted on the Smartsettle One+ home page and then sign up there with your own email address (your other profile data may be fictitious).

Signup invite code = “cyberweek”   (case sensitive)

2. Review the hypothetical case backgrounds below. You may choose to play either one.

3. Sign in and create a new practice negotiation case – the Smartsettle Robot will be automatically invited to be your opponent.

4. You will be able to choose a template representing one of the following three negotiation styles:

  • Collaborative: Your opponent may seem generous at first but is keen to move quickly and firmly to a fair solution that satisfies both parties. Expect fair outcomes by playing collaborative against collaborative.
  • Competitive: Your opponent is mostly interested in their own agenda. They will seem stingy by moving slowly to fair but will be reasonable by Final Session. Expect better than fair by playing collaborative against competitive.
  • Avoidant: Your stolid opponent is indifferent to your concerns and has little desire to negotiate with you. They move very slowly and do not reach fair. Expect an impasse if you hold your ground. Recover a good deal by agreeing to the Expert Neutral Deal-closer.

5. Feel free to converse with your opponent but you will find that the robot is not very talkative. The negotiating styles are really fixed in this demonstration and no amount of persuasion will change the robot’s mind. Your task is to get the best outcome you can under those circumstances.

6. At the end of each negotiation, download a PDF that records the agreement and use it to prove how well you did.

7. Play as many times as you like and learn the following:

  • the best strategy with Smartsettle is to be collaborative (generous but fair).
  • collaboration on the part of both sides quickly results in satisfying outcomes, and
  • that an unreasonable opponent is no problem with the Smartsettle Expert Neutral Deal-closer.

8. If you get stuck, click here to download the illustrated Smartsettle One+ Cyberweek User Guide (PDF).

9. Let us know how it goes, whether you get stuck or not.

Case I: Birthday Widget arrives too Late

John ordered a birthday present for his wife from WidgetCo just across the line. He spent $960. The Widget arrived two weeks later than promised and John was upset. WidgetCo said that they had tried to contact John about the possible delay. John claims that he did not receive any such notice from WidgetCo and wants his money back – maybe more because this caused him a lot of grief. John knows that cross-border disputes are more difficult. But the good news is that WidgetCo has a policy of resolving their disputes using Smartsettle One+. This will make the process a lot easier. If no deal is reached in Final Session then the Expert Neutral Deal-closer  (END) will settle the matter.

Cyberweek participants will play John. John has heard that Smartsettle One+ is very credible. He considers his BATNA to be near zero without this process but expects to get a substantial amount of his money back if he agrees to the END process in case of no deal in Final Session. John would be extremely pleased if he gets back half of what he paid.

Case II: Crystal River Pollution Cleanup


The Fortunate French-Fry Company needs to reach an agreement with the Crystal River Potato Farmers Cooperative on what percentage of its processing needs will be met by recycled water. The Cooperative say they will be forced to stop farming if the number is less than 30%, while the Company has indicated they will move out of the area if they are required to recycle more than 75%.

Background Information

The farmers of the Crystal River Potato Farmers Cooperative were thrilled when an international company with a good environmental record opened a potato-processing facility a short distance up the Crystal River. The company saw that it could get a ready supply of good-quality potatoes nearby, and the location was well-placed to ship the product to nearby countries. Prices to the farmers increased, and the factory employed some of their children who had previously had trouble finding work.

The discharge water from the processing plant was highly treated and potable. However, after a few years, the farmers realized that the higher level of dissolved salts was risking the viability of their land, while algae blooms caused by excessive phosphates were clouding the crystal waters of the river. Potato productivity dropped, threatening the farmer’s livelihood. Despite the best intentions, tempers rose. Some threatened to shut down the factory, while others realized that losing a local processor and employer could threaten the very existence of the community.

Fortunately, the two sides received assistance from an international NGO specializing in mediated solutions to complex environmental problems. After much debate, the two sides reached an agreement that included the development of a water-recycling subsystem within the factory. Instead of simply using and treating the water, the factory would be required to feed a percentage of the discharge water back into its own process. In this way, they would be forced to reduce the quantity of dissolved solids in the effluent or the build-up would damage their own equipment.

An independent environmental engineer’s report showed that the problem could be reduced by recycling a portion of the water.  Recycling below 30% would produce marginal returns for the farmers and the cost of recycling more than 75% of the factory’s needs would make the factory nonviable. Between those two limits, there may still be some concerns, but they can be mitigated through careful management of water for irrigation, and by planting a native grass along eroded parts of the riverbank. The Farmers have privately agreed that their BATNA is 25%. Below 25%, degradation of the land and river would continue and they would be better off cutting their losses and looking for another market for their potatoes.

However, the parties are optimistic that they can agree on how much water to recycle and have agreed to use Smartsettle One+ to negotiate the value. Until the recycling facility is complete and the operating parameters decided, the Company has reduced production. The lower revenues are hurting the Company, while the Cooperative is earning less for its crops and extra employment has been curtailed.

If an agreement is not reached in Final Session, and both parties agree, the problem will be solved with Smartsettle’s Expert Neutral Deal-closer (END) using the opinion of an expert committee made up of the environmental engineer, the NGO CEO and the local mayor. It seems that most opinions on what is fair range between 50% and 60%.

Cyberweek participants will play the role of the Farmers.


Potato processing water to be recycled (%)

Read more about Smartsettle One+ here.

** The Turk was a chess-playing machine constructed in the late 18th century. From 1770 until its destruction by fire in 1854 it was exhibited by various owners as an automaton, though it was eventually revealed to be an elaborate hoax. The Turk was in fact a mechanical illusion that allowed a human chess master hiding inside to operate the machine.