To deliver extraordinary results, we follow five principles. These guide us through the inevitable challenges that emerge when tackling complex problems.
We want to do work that improves people's lives. That means finding good problems, where a solution will genuinely improve someone's life.
Clients are a source of good problems. If we solve a client's problem right, we improve both the client's life and their customer's life.
Sometimes we find our own good problems, and these lead us to create products, services or ideas we can share with the right client.
Good problems come in all shapes and sizes. They can be small and modest, or grand and ambitious. We treat all good problems with respect.
Because of our track record and history, the problems we have been working on have been getting bigger, and more complex.
These are around creating sustained behaviour change in large populations, or transforming businesses to be more competitive in a digital-first landscape.
To solve any problem, you have to understand what the problem actually is. This is especially true of big, complex, system-level problems. To really understand a problem, you have to go deep, you have to be precise.
This means reading documentation, embedding with clients, spending time with the audience, and trying current solutions to see how they succeed and fail. It means mining existing data and studies for additional insights. It means learning the substance of the domain.
But it also means being pragmatic. Research can be a trap. We can't - and don't need to - know everything. We do need to be able to clearly describe what is going on, in simple concrete terms.
Depth of analysis lets us pinpoint an effective solution. It also helps us create rich content that conveys complex messages in engaging ways.
We don't take a brief, disappear, and then come back with brilliance. We go on a journey of exploration and discovery, take our clients with us, and together we come back with something everyone loves.
The key is that clients and users need to come with us. On the quest for new knowledge, insights and the right solution, we need their insight. We need to hear which paths they've been down before, how they interpret what they see along the road, what they make of our ideas.
We don't venture blindly. We follow a process which is thorough, flexible and robust. But it's hard work, and it's often harder work than clients are used to, and sometimes we find ourselves in darkness, having to make leaps of faith.
To make it through, we need to lead the way, but also make sure that we are all in it together.
Complex problems need diverse teams. We create teams with an unusual depth and breadth of expertise, so they can cover all angles on a problem, and find the best way through.
This is why we value diversity in our staff. Designing an elegant solution to a complex challenge requires diverse points of view.
This is why we value good social and emotional skills. Diving deep into the detail and searching for the right answers requires cooperation, communication and persistence.
And this is why we value cognitive flexibility. To move quickly and maintain agility means we must have capable, reliable and likeminded partners across many areas of the business operations - we know having the right team matters!
Part of our job is to keep everyone moving. We get our projects moving. We keep our clients and partners moving. We keep ourselves motivated. The world doesn't stop; neither do we.
When we talk about motion, we're talking at two scales.
First is the project scale. Projects are usually better when the pressure is on. Sometimes we need to choose when to apply that pressure - it's not always the right time - but when it's time, it's time.
Second is the industry scale. The world keeps moving. Technology keeps moving. Competitors keep moving. We keep moving, and we help our clients keep moving too.
We do our best to anticipate what's ahead, but we don't jump too far. We don't stay at the edge of technology; we stay at the edge of audience behaviour.