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.