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/ɪˈməːdʒ(ə)ns/, noun: The arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems.

We help you discover the patterns in complexity.

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

Our increasingly connected and fast paced world creates more and bigger challenges that are resistant to traditional problem-solving approaches. These problems are often called complex, wicked, or hard and require a deeper understanding and new approaches. Transformation and change programs often don't deliver on their promises and leave organisations and employees with increasing change fatigue and disillusionment.

Disruptive events in the environment (CoViD pandemic, supply chain challenges, change in consumer preferences, increased pace of technological innovation) require a faster and, more importantly, a more agile reaction. Long running, centrally controlled change programs find themselves with a reality that has moved on while requirements for a go-live in 5 years are still being documented. The program falls behind before it even got started properly.

Accepting the inherent complexity of social systems and the resulting futility of the illusion of control are the first steps to change our approach to change and transformation. While an organisational strategy and direction is important to keep efforts largely aligned, the actually implementation of change needs to be federated throughout the organisation and then brought together along the organisational hierarchy.

Consequently, large change programs don't require an architect to come up with a grand plan and then a hierarchical team to execute along that set out plan. but more of a gardening approach to lay out the high level structure and then tend to the individual parts of the garden, ensuring these develop in harmony.

What are complex problems?

Difficult problems typically have many stakeholders and interactions between them. They are often non-linear on how they react to intervention, and they are resistant to many established and frequently used management approaches. These problems are often characterised by:

  • Lack of agreement on what the problem definition is (scope, stakeholders, understanding of current state, domains, etc.)
  • Lack of agreement on a solution approach due to different priorities, trade-offs, stakeholders, or externalities
  • Lack of agreement on experts or authorities due to unclear problem and solution definitions
  • Lack of predictability and difficulty to grasp the whole problem, especially over time

A common characteristic is the involvement of humans and the difficulty to understand and predict their interactions. Whereby, in the early 20th century, rationalist management approaches tried to remove as much as possible of human variability and constraints, today, these need to be our starting point. Solutions to hard problems will be developed, implemented, and sustained by hundreds or thousands of employees, customers, suppliers, and affect potentially tens of thousands of other stakeholders. Hence, we need to take into account how humans behave, make decisions, or are motivated.

Think about how many of the questions you try to solve today are hard: a business transformation, culture change, the implementation of a new technology, changing a business process. Consider supply chain networks, customer relationship management, and the impact of any change on your employees. All while ensuring compliance with laws, data privacy and security, IT guidelines and financial reporting.

Most problem worth solving in today's world are hard problems that play out in a complex environment.

How we can support you

We believe that a deep understanding of the problem to be solved, the environment, and the organisation (people, process, technology) are essential for any kind of intervention to succeed. Besides out technical capabilities, we are focussing on the initial and ongoing sense-making process, generating ideas, stress testing assumptions and validating objectives and approaches. In our experience, project failure often has it's root cause in the early days, when objectives aren't internally consistent, trade-offs not made explicit or targets not being realistic.

Sense Making

Understand the environment and aligning on the problem to be solved to generate robust approaches

Red Teaming

Stress testing ideas and assumptions to build a stronger foundation for change

Rapid Improvement

Rapid optimisation and automation to free up critical resources and create momentum and buy in

How are we different?

You may ask why we would be leading with a lengthy explanation of systems and complexity. We believe, the application of these concepts is critical to be able to understand the world, diagnose a problem and work towards a solution. In addition to domain and technical expertise, we bring our experience across many countries, sectors, and technologies to give you the best chance to navigate complexity.

We collect data and narratives from different stakeholders on the ground to make sense of the situation, bring these observations together into a consistent picture and work with your team to define a solution that works from the inside. We work based on a thorough understanding among all stakeholders to support informed decision making, fully aware of relevant trade-offs and consequences.

We believe that a better understanding of the problem and the context within it exists is essential to develop and implement working solutions. As this understanding changes over time as the world evolves, our solutions need to keep track and allow the integration of learnings and course corrections if the environment changes.

A different approach

What you will get from us

We believe that the best outcomes are achieved by listening and thoroughly understanding your situation, by bringing everyone along the journey and ensure our analysis and solution is understood in plain English. We encourage experimentation and an agile approach, translating ideas into practice and adjusting the solution based on new learnings. We prefer to implement change in small steps that allows your suppliers, customers, employees to come along the journey with a positive experience.

We will be open and honest in our assessment and address difficult topics with a solution-oriented mindset. We encourage asking questions, challenging assumptions, and raising concerns to stress test any potential solution before embarking on implementation.

We want to have a good understanding before we start any project and before having a commercial conversation. This helps you and us to reduce risk and make sure we can grow together on challenging projects. If you like what you see, we move on to a commercial conversation to define the next phase.

What you won't get from us

We don't believe in wowing our clients with the latest buzz words or with proprietary methodologies. We don't claim that we know your business better than you or that we have 'best practices' for your business. We don't think that the quality of a consultant should be judged by how big final the slide deck is.

We don't split into sales and delivery teams, leaving clients guessing what they may get once the sales team has moved on. We won't try to up-sell you on services you don't need or load the project with inexperienced consultants.

How we share risk and reward

This is also reflected in our commercial approach. We prefer to share risks and rewards of a transformation, having open and honest conversations about contributions and outcomes. If we are really excited by your problem and the positive outcomes it may have, we are happy to take a lower share of the reward. We are passionate about what we do and who we want to work with.

Next steps...

If our ideas and approach resonate with you, if you have shared experiences or want to discuss an idea, please get in touch via the Contact form or directly via email.