Screenshot from a BlueDragon virtual workshop

Welcome to the Virtual Age! Our First Virtual 4-Day BlueDragon Workshop

3 min read

We just completed our first ever 4-day virtual workshop (BD-201E), BlueDragon Critical Thinking and Complex Problem Solving Training for Practitioners. Participants described the class as “intense and engaging,” and even “fantastic,” What I was not expecting to hear is that our observers from Brookhaven National Lab and Los Alamos National Lab thought it was as good and in many cases even better than the live workshops I had put on at those Labs in the past.

To recap, students participated in 30 Learning Objectives, 16 Class Exercises of increasing difficulty (the last one being 3 hours long), 30 polls sprinkled throughout the training, 40 prompts (questions), relevant and recent articles from various industries that use root cause analysis, 3 videos, and 12 real-life case studies of BlueDragon Hyper-Integrated Causal Analyses in action. The course demystifies root cause analysis and helps participants to grasp the concepts through the use of powerful visual diagrams.

The course covers key insights such as:

  • What are complex, human-centric problems, and why can’t they be solved by math and science alone?
  • How have the traditional definitions of the term “root cause” misled us for decades?
  • What is the single biggest self-imposed element of root cause analysis that injects bias from participants and root cause team members and wastes a tremendous amount of time.
  • The differences between Extent of Condition reviews and Extent of Cause reviews.
  • The understanding that root causes are common causes – common points of origin for many cause & effect pathways that lead to a complex set of symptoms – which were very difficult to visualize and evaluate until the BlueDragon Framework.


I’ve been teaching this workshop since 2016 to clients at the National Laboratories, the nuclear weapons complex and Department of Defense contractors. Once COVID-19 Pandemic hit, we had to pivot and re-tool our training to fit the virtual learning environment. You might not think that would be a big deal, but it was. Managing teams in one conference room is different than managing a group of individuals who are sitting at work/home in front of a laptop. At several points, we had three groups in three Zoom breakout rooms. Each group navigated to their own separate Mural web page (our virtual white board app – In the middle of the exercise, we plucked a team member from each group and moved them to a 4th Zoom room and 4th Mural, so I could provide guidance. Then we returned them to their team Zoom rooms while they stayed in a separate Mural with the answer keys, providing answers to the rest of the team in the same Zoom room but in a different Mural. (Still with me?)

The workshop could not have been as successful without two key contributors. One is Rafael De La Espriella, who was the first to show me the capabilities of Zoom and the modern day standards for Power Point presentations. Rafa is a former C-Suite executive in the IT world and my first cousin who resides in Bogota, Colombia. The other key contributor is Ken Guralnik, a master instructor for Hewlett Packard, who managed Zoom throughout the entire workshop. Ken is from Las Vegas, NV and was up at 4am each morning to join us; he made the workshop go off without a hitch and provided valuable insights on how to elevate my level of instruction during the workshop.


There is always a team of unsung heroes behind the scenes that attendees rarely see or hear about, so I wanted to mention them here. Our own Joy Worrell from Aiken SC (and a huge Alabama football fan), the BlueDragon Director of Communications and Public Relations, who makes sure our clients and participants have a great experience. And our two senior advisors, Dr. Claire Howard from “across the pond” in the UK, and Dr. Sherry Gevedon, our longtime friend and advisor, the CEO of Professional Education Seminars ( Their observations and recommendations were of great value before and during the workshop, and their suggestions will help us improve the quality of our next workshop.

Look for our next two BlueDragon BD-201E workshops coming in late October and early December. These will be open to the public.

If you would like additional information on dramatically improving the effectiveness of your root cause analysis, visit us at:

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