About Our Philosophy

Our firm was founded on the belief that too many solutions presented by consultants and management are short sighted and don't consider systems outside the domain where the solutions are implemented. We created a firm to offer solutions which were positive sum, that is the problem is solved and the system as a whole benefits. This is in contrast to zero-sum solutions; for instance, when sales solves its customer attrition by punting to advertising or when a company increases its margins by squeezing those of suppliers.

A long line of executives in management and engineering have stressed systems thinking for long term solutions. These include Peter Senge, Johannes Ridderstrom, Russell Ackoff, Jay Forrester, Peter Drucker, and Claude Shannon. These revolutionary thinkers have challenged standard tradeoffs to arrive at new solutions that make processes better, transforming business costs into business savings and competitive edge. Most importantly they highlighted the importance of unmeasurables, of creativity, humanity, community, collaboration, and decentralization, and bemoaned the focus on hierarchy, price, and margins in corporations.

For instance, Swedish paper mills, which typically must dispose of large amounts of waste water, can instead recycle the water and dye, purifying the water that was released while reusing the dye. Thus, in many cases, with the right engineering knowledge and creativity, the choice between manufacturing cost and pollution or sustainability is a false dichotomy. Likewise, metrics-based workplaces can be divisive and stressful or provide an excellent work-life balance and employee freedom depending on who is at the table when the system is negotiated.

If your industry is increasingly forced to make tough choices between opposing priorities, or if your attempts to correct bottlenecks in a supply chain backfire within a year or two, or if new business models and web 2.0 are forcing rethinking of your business structure, then a broad look at the systems involved is necessary.

In addition to solving novel organizational systems problems, we also approach engineering problems in the same way. For instance, while current water desalination methods require extensive energy or are low output, we designed a desalination power plant that produces drinkable steam and generates power at the same time producing advantages where previously there were limitations. We have innovated in other areas as well, including human-computer interaction, auto-routing and queueing, embedded architectures, and control system design.

Indeed sometimes the fix to business issues requires both a hard engineering component and a systems management component. Plus Sigma excels in both of these areas and is particularly good at rethinking practices from the fundamentals.