Decision analysis and facilitation

Sustainable development is all about ensuring that we don’t deny opportunities to those in the future through thoughtless exploitation and degradation of resources and the environment. But looking into the future is fraught with uncertainty. Sustainable development is also about understanding the impacts of our actions on the wider ecosystem. This can also be highly complex and again uncertain. Most policy and strategy development processes and decision making systems in private and public sector are ill equipped to deal with such uncertainty, or capable of assessing the costs, benefits, values, and "sustainability risks" associated with different development activities, plans or strategies. And scientists called on to advise are torn between their concern for thoroughness, impartiality and accuracy, and their awareness that scientific rigour itself will not deliver the answers required to develop practical policy and strategy.

We offer a range of decision support tools, processes and "foresight" methods to facilitate more effective use of existing information and analysis. These allow us to explore the social, economic and environmental implications of alternative strategies and development options; the risks and uncertainties associated with them; and the trade-offs between them. We can do this through simple flexible brainstorming workshops. We can add more structure if required through the use of SWOT analysis, Delphi techniques and scenario building. Or we can offer a highly structured process using multi-criteria decision analysis and the expanding range of proprietary analytical and presentational tools.

We have practical experience of all these approaches, and their development and application in developed and developing countries. We understand both their potential and limitations.

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