What we do.

At Ponder, we believe that to effectively grapple with 21st Century challenges, we need re-think how we go about solving problems and developing strategy.  It’s no longer sufficient to do some research and analysis, identify and evaluate some options, then make and implement a recommendation. The world is too dynamic and uncertain for that now.

But there isn’t much guidance around on what complex problem solving actually entails.  We think its an important gap that needed filling.  So we compiled a practical guide – 20 Questions for Complex Problem Solving & Strategy Design (and practical techniques to help answer them).  You can see an overview of the questions on the 20Q page. We share the practical techniques to help answer then in our workshop and seminar series.  We can also help you to apply the techniques to the specific challenges you are grappling with, through our consulting and facilitation services, and commissioned reports.

Seminars and Workshops

The OECD and WEF think that complex solving skills are the most important skills we need this century. At Ponder, we think they are essential skills for everyone - from the most junior analyst to the most senior decision maker.

Our seminar series 20 Questions for Policy & Strategy Development (and practical techniques to help answer them) builds your skills across 20 important areas of complex problem solving.  The 20 Questions help you to:

  1. build a deeper understanding of problems and why they are occurring, so you are informed about what to do, rather than having to guess
  2. use analytical and creative ways to find clever courses of action to re-design the system to achieve the desired outcomes and avoid unintended consequences
  3. take an evidence-based approach, so you have a strong case for, and confidence that your ideas will work
  4. learn and adapt your strategy so it maintains its relevance in a dynamic and uncertain world, and
  5. engage others to inform, test and build support for your ideas.

The seminars are designed to be inspiring and engaging.  They include many examples, case studies and stories to help make the ideas and techniques tangible and practical.

Embedded in the 20 Questions are essential higher-order thinking skills.  The seminars and workshops also build skills across these areas:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Systems thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Futures thinking
  • Design thinking
  • Structured thinking

All our seminars and workshops are based on our 20 Questions for complex problem solving and strategy development (and practical techniques to help answer them), but the seminars and workshops can vary in depth and duration – there is significant flexibility in how they can be delivered.  The seminars are also highly modular so we can focus on your priorities.  They range from a series of one-hour seminars, or half-day, one day, two-day and three-day workshops.

Visit the 20Q page for an overview of the 20 Questions, or download the flyer (below) for more information.

Consulting and Facilitation

Achieve outcomes for the complex challenge you are grappling with

We can spend time with your team, to prompt different ways of thinking, to help reveal new insights, to bring structure to ‘mess’ and to help develop strategies by:

  • guiding you through the 20 Questions for complex problem solving and strategy development, in the context of your project to help you:
    • build a deeper understanding of the situation you are grappling with
    • find clever courses of action to achieve the outcomes you want
    • rigorously think through ideas
    • engage others to inform, test and build support for your ideas
    • adapt the strategy to things that change to and to what you learn along the way about what works and what doesn’t
  • running a ‘kick-off’ day for your project or task that sets the scene for a strategic, analytical, creative and critical approach for your project;
  • facilitating meetings or workshops with a range of stakeholders;
  • running workshops on any or all of the 20 Questions; 
  • reviewing and making suggestions about strategies or other deliverables at relevant points throughout your project
  • or, whatever is most useful for your team.

Contact us for more information.

Commissioned Reports

Know more about what matters most to you

Commissioning a Ponder report gives you an in-depth, thought-through explanation and exploration of an issue that’s important to you. We undertake thorough research and analysis to:

  • build a deeper understanding of the issue and the dynamics behind why it is occurring
  • use analytical and creative thinking techniques to think about problems and solutions from different angles to identify new ways of achieving outcomes
  • understand the range of stakeholder perspectives and the reasons for them
  • think-through potential changes to identify possible implications and trade-offs
  • design a policy logic and evidence-based policy approach for understanding how and why a course of action might work
  • suggest how to build-in resilience and readiness for uncertain futures

Download the flyer below or contact us for further information.

What our clients say:

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Our clients

Ponder’s approach to complex problem solving can be applied to any complex challenge. Our clients come from all sectors – Commonwealth and State & Territory Government departments, universities, NGOs and private sector organisations.

Ponder’s clients include the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Health, the Department of Employment, the Department of Social Services, the Department of the Chief Minister, NT, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW, The University of Sydney, NGOs and private sector organisations.  Our work has spanned many sectors and disciplines including health, indigenous affairs, energy, employment and the labour market, environment, immigration, regional growth, workforce and skills, disruptive technology, refugees and population.