Skip navigation


The Challenge

Solutions developed from within an established mindset often suffer from blind spots, from unrealistic assumptions or from 'not-invented-here' rejections. Reflected in phrases such as "What got you here won't get you there." or "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." it is clear that any kind of step-change solution would benefit from external validation by an independent and trusted party.

Red-teaming is a term originally used in the military to simulate realistic obstacles and opponents during an engagement. The objective is to provide an alternative analysis that is not limited by established rules, assumptions and incentives within the organisation. Recently, the term is often heard in the context of cybersecurity to simulate a realistic opponent that is mindful, resourceful and doesn't play by established rules.

The Consequences

Ideas and assumptions that have not been subjected to a rigorous analysis and stress test are more likely to disappoint in the course of the project, are difficult to fix and require costly mitigations. This is especially true if the stakes are high for the organisation and involved stakeholders, which often results in assumptions that shine a more favourable light on the challenge than would be prudent considering reality.

Especially in situations, where one party has a strong interest in a particular solution, red-teaming can help to uncover broader consequences and avoid a local optimisation at a cost of a global optimum. In the past, we've often seen that challenge with 'one-size-fits-all' technology solutions that promise to remove long-standing and difficult challenges without requiring any real change.

Our Approach

Stress-testing and improving ideas in a 'safe' zone will ensure these ideas are more robust when it comes to contact with reality. That often means managing expectations towards being constrained by realistic assumptions and ensures that there is a stable foundation to build a project on, create buy in, and commit resources.

Translated in an organisational change context, red-teaming ideas ensures they are properly stress-tested against real world data, behaviour and uncertainty. We've often seen projects being started based on assumptions that are individually unrealistic and near impossible when aggregated.