What we do.

We agree with the World Economic Forum and the OECD that complex problem solving is the most important skillset we need this Century.  But, as the OECD acknowledges, 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).  We share the practical techniques to help answer them 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

Capability Development.

We think complex problem solving skills are essential for everyone - from the most junior analyst to the most senior decision maker.

Our seminar series 20 Questions for Policy & Strategy Design (and practical techniques to help answer them) builds your skills across five 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. work with uncertainty so your strategy 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 for more information, download the flyer (below), or, contact us.

Consulting & Facilitation

Achieve outcomes.

Let us help you 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 ‘messy issues’ 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;
  • guiding and structuring your strategy development process;
  • 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;
  • helping you to know more about what matters most to you, through our commissioned reports where we research, analyse and compile useful insights about the issue you are grappling with;
  • or, whatever is most useful for your team.

Contact us for more information.


Be inspired to think differently.

Short (or longer) speeches about complexity and complex problem solving that share thought-provoking ideas which will have audiences thinking differently.

For public policy audiences – “This is not rocket science, it’s harder – this is public policy.”

For all audiences:

  • Complex problem solving – what is it, and why is it the most important skillset we need this Century?
  • Diversity – why diversity is important, not just because of inclusion, but because it is critical for creativity, innovation and problem-solving
  • 21st Century skills – the future of work and the future of jobs
  • Contemporary strategy and decision-making and how it is different from what we used to do

Talks that are jam-packed full of stories, real-world examples and compelling ideas for thinking differently, to make more progress with the most important challenges of our times.

Contact us for more 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, The National Security College, 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.