Businesses don’t live in a vacuum. To flourish, they must respond to the external forces that shape them: social, technological, competitive, you name it.
A situational assessment, tailored to your business context, lays out the reality of the most critical issues you face, identifying threats, opportunities, and red herrings across the board. A foundation for strategic decision-making, this is a document that says: this is the world we’re operating in, and this the world that’s coming.
- Identifies all the relevant facts and perspectives
- Places them within the appropriate contexts
- Outlines the theoretical models that explain why and how certain things happen or do not happen
- Explores themes, opportunities and new territory
- How has our competitive context evolved?
- What is interesting about X?
- What are the opportunities from X?
- What is the future of X?
- How can we get a quick start on X?
- What is the state of our fundamental assumptions?
- Trend and signal analysis
- Industry reporting
- Scenario planning
- Impact and opportunity framing
- Transformation design
- Speculative design
Most missions fail to align. Most visions fail to inspire.
We help businesses go beyond the standard “change the world” verbiage, leveraging strategic and editorial expertise to articulate the unique why of your organization.
With a robust thesis as your north star, we help you tell a clear and compelling story that everyone can get behind, guiding everything from top-line strategy down to individual tactics.
- Establishes consistent philosophy as a platform for all other work, such as your communication ecosystem and stakeholder communication
- Elevates your foundational message from the generic, to interesting, to irresistible
- Lets everyone know why they come to work each day
- Sets out a map for leadership and growth as an organization
- Identifies transformational possibilities and the problems in the way
- What is the deep promise we make to customers, employees and society at large?
- What story unifies our mission, vision and strategies?
- Why should the world care about us?
- What would we tell Oprah if she called for an interview?
- What is our theory of... (growth, value creation, etc.)?
- Strategy and opportunity mapping
- Challenge and goal framing
- Theory and approach development
- Origin story mapping
- Narrative development
If everyone’s drinking the Kool-Aid, then no one’s telling you the other side of the story.
The Perception Report presents an unvarnished take on your business from the outside, consulting with customers, former employees, and partners past and present to source insights they might otherwise be afraid to share.
Painting a balanced, critical, and objective picture, the Perception Report pierces through the echo chamber to tell you everything you need to know—including what you might want to change.
- Presents external perspective in the form of a journalistic and fact-checked report with visualisations and third party sources
- Speaks to those who have something to say about you, without fear for their own careers or partnerships
- Probes and interrogates weak points in your model
- Analyses the approaches and models in yours or adjacent sectors
- Orients planning efforts and provides a research-driven grounding for further strategy and analysis
- Paves the way for deeper sector-specific or functional investigations
- What are the best counter-arguments to your most important assumptions?
- Is your brand fulfilling its mission? Is its position in the marketplace as clear as you think it is?
- Can you really see your own biases and myopia? Where are your blind spots?
- If Businessweek were to write a cover feature on your sector, how would you be represented? What would truly be said of you?
- Is its position in the marketplace as clear as we think it is?
- What is the perception of outside stakeholders, former employees, partners past and present?
- Field interviews
- Red-team probing
- Mock exit interviews
- Qualitative surveys
- Open-source intelligence
Companies going public must withstand the scrutiny of the S1: an exhaustive appraisal that lays out a business’s viability to investors, brick by rigorous brick.
But why should public companies get to have all the fun? Even if an IPO is far away, undergoing a streamlined version of an S1 gives you a 360-degree picture of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities—insights no business should operate without.
Inspecting every nut and bolt of your business, our S1-inspired report holds you accountable with the best of them.
- Lays out a root-and-branch, or layer-by-layer non-financial audit of your organization
- Creates a coherent and hype-free overall and complete picture of your business, free of marketing constraint
- Identifies addressable risks, gaps and market opportunities
- Identifies the tough questions so you can answer them before anybody asks
- Lays out desirable and less desirable possible futures for your industry and your part in it, identifying strategy to address ramifications
- How can you strengthen your organization and improve governance across the board?
- How do you create a safe space to de-risk the areas of your organization that you believe to be working well?
- How would you sell yourself to investors if you were a startup? What tough questions would they ask of you?
- How much technical and managerial debt have we/are we accumulating?
- How robust are our safety and accountability mechanisms?
- What is the real, pragmatic workbench? What are the true priorities?
- Thesis validation
- Business model articulation
- Risk and gap analysis
- Growth, network effects and flywheels
- Channels and distribution
Between desk research from marketing and one-off interactions from customer service, most businesses understand their consumers too abstractly and anecdotally.
Enter the Customer Book. Through journalistic engagement and ethnographic study, we substitute static personas and vague NPS scores with an in-depth and evidence-based picture of the customer as they actually live: their life, needs, contexts, and pain points.
- Presents a comprehensive and compellingly told story of the lives, needs and aspirations of your customers
- Investigates the service aspects of your business
- Maps habits, behaviours and journeys
- Questions and validates metrics used to measure your customer relationships
- Assesses how your partnership ecosystem (distribution, delivery, service, etc.) factors into your customer relationships
- Do you understand the usage context of your products, or do you only make ‘educated guesses’?
- What’s it really like to deal with you and maintain a relationship with you?
- Do you keep the promises you make to your customers? Is their trust in you changing over time?
- How culturally relevant is your brand given the world we live in?
- Customer interviews
- Customer journey mapping
- Job-to-be-done analysis
- Habits and behaviour mapping
- Customer wants, needs, and expectations analysis
- Service delivery model analysis
Left intangible, your culture is subject to chance. Write it down, and you can secure, refine, and disseminate it strategically.
Part brand book, part employee manual, the Company Book leverages editorial and design expertise to capture your culture right, extrapolating upon your thesis to enshrine your lived principles in the working life of present and future employees.
A guide for recruiting new hires, a handbook given out on day one, and a living resource for everyday best practices, The Company Book lays out the what, how, and why of your business, ensuring everyone is informed, inspired, and in sync.
- Makes your culture tangible without having to resort to vague terminology and values
- Maps decision-making criteria and aligns thesis and mission to everyday work challenges
- Empowers every employee to make better and more strategically aligned decisions on the front line
- Assesses the quality of your governance
- Serves as core material for onboarding, training and recruitment – sets the baseline for what it means to work for you
- How do you empower your people to do their best work?
- What’s the gap between the culture you express and the culture your organization lives?
- What would world-class onboarding look like for your organization?
- What if your culture was codified in a book that every employee could carry in their pocket?
- Living FAQ structured by employee need
- Corporate statements and philosophy
- Mission, culture, vision, and values
- Company beliefs, principles, practices and rituals
- Basic policy guidelines and ethics
- CSR and Ethics
With these core elements in place, leaders can form a crystal clear picture of their business, unlocking better strategic planning and raising the calibre of their decision-making across the board.
Let us help you lay the groundwork for informed thinking and strategic action. Let us help you lead with vision.
What are you?
Strategy firm, innovation consultancy, design thinking studio—call us what you like. We combine journalism-grade research and over 25 years of business expertise to help leaders form a clear picture of their business and set them up for success.
What is “decision intelligence”?
It sounds fancy, but it’s not. Decision intelligence gets to the heart of strategy by informing the decisions you make (and the ideas you generate) in advance. In short: with more solid insight into your business, you think and act more wisely. We also like to use the concept of 'fitness' to describe our approach.
Do I need to do all six solutions? Is it all or nothing?
No. While we believe that every business should cover its basics, we also know that each will have its own pressing concerns. Through early discussions, we can identify which solutions may be right for you.
Are your solutions set in stone?
No. Every business is different, and through initial conversations we may be able to craft new offerings according to our skillset and your needs. Even within our six-part framework, our deliverables are completely bespoke for each client, created from scratch, and able to go as deep, or as lean, as required.
Who is this for?
Our work isn’t just for people who have the word strategy or innovation in their title. It’s for executives of every level, across every department, at businesses of every size. Whether you’re a CHRO who wants to enshrine your culture in a Company Book, a CEO looking for a Situational Assessment to inform their strategic roadmap, or a CMO looking to deepen customer understanding company-wide, our deliverables are designed to improve systems, behaviours, and decisions across the board.