TRUTHstudio | Principles
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Ask good questions.

Our ambitions for tomorrow are defined by the questions that we ask today.  Only by asking ambitious questions will we have a chance of discovering the unexpected.  At TRUTHstudio, we seek questions that shift our perspective and reveal new paths of inquiry.  Good questions seek to understand root causes and reveal hidden connections.  Good questions inspire us to believe in the possibility of a better future.

Engage complexity.

We recognize intelligent inquiry as the collective right and responsibility of all members of society.  Our networked, globalized world is messy and complicated, but its complexity need not be confusing.  Indeed, an open, democratic society requires that its citizens pursue a clear understanding of their world in order to engage its complexity with confidence and intention. An informed and engaged citizenry is the life blood of a vibrant democracy.  We seek to increase understanding without sacrificing complexity.

Pursue deep practice.

We define deep practice as intentional engagement to achieve meaningful, positive, systemic change.  So the key question is often: Which actions will achieve maximum public benefit?  This is a question of leverage, and it is typically difficult to answer with confidence. Too often, well-intentioned local actions either have no meaningful impact on global objectives, or, even worse, cause more harm than good.  A careful questioning of the dynamics of leverage offers the best chance for avoiding such missteps and achieving deep practice.

Prototype with humility.

Innovation emerges from a cycle of prototyping: Gather (negative) feedback from a current solution.  Analyze the feedback. Prototype a new alternative. Gather feedback from the prototype. Analyze the feedback.  Prototype a new alternative.  Etc.  In other words, we fail our way to success.  This means that the difficult challenges that face society and the planet will not be solved by silver bullets, but by a series of imperfect prototypes, refined over time.  Our work is a contribution to that ongoing process, and as such, it is undertaken with urgency and humility, in equal measure.

Customize visualizations.

A picture can be worth a thousand words, and a diagram can be worth a million data points.  But conventional methods of visualization (bar graphs, pie charts, flow diagrams, timelines, etc) are often inadequate for effectively communicating the complexity of social, economic, and environmental systems that organize our lives and determine the shape of our common future.  Accordingly, we develop visualization methods that are customized to the unique complexity of objectives, data sources, audience, and operating contexts engaged by each of our clients.

Resist simplicity with clarity.

Frequently, the most interesting and important problems are divergent, with multiple, equally valid solutions; unlike convergent problems, they cannot be reduced to a single, simple solution. We use advanced analytical and visualization methods to bring clarity without reducing complex systems and decisions to a simplicity that obscures important opportunities for creativity and innovation.  Often, we base our approach on a multi-attribute assessment frameworks that provide context-appropriate metrics for innovation and progress, without necessarily promoting individual solutions as optimal.

Prioritize to optimize.

In a world of physical, economic and political constraints, effective optimization cannot occur without a clear understanding of what outcomes or objectives are most important to achieve.  The distinction between optimization and prioritization thus mirrors an oft-cited distinction between management and leadership: ‘Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing’. Optimization is the work of doing things right (the work of managers), and prioritization is the work of doing the right thing (the work of leaders). Just as effective management is meaningless in the absence of clear leadership, effective optimization is meaningless in the absence of clear prioritization.  In complex environments with divergent problems, prioritization offers the basis for optimization.