Our Philosophy

A system can be shown as a table with elements as legs. Short legs tilt the table.There are a few core beliefs that drive the way we work. We don't claim any of them as original, but of course our own experiences inevitably shape the way we implement those philosophies on a day to day basis. To begin with, we believe in systems, and by that we mean that every organization, program or structure is an integrated whole that is made of a set of interacting or interdependent elements that operate in concert as a system. If one element fails, the entire system becomes unstable, and, conversely, a sound system depends on each and every element being sound. We don't believe you can analyze, improve or optimize a single element without taking into consideration the impact on the entire system.

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The Organization as a System

Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer in Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the book "The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization," is widely credited with developing the idea of organizations as dynamic systems that continuously adapt and improve.

The "fifth discipline" is systems thinking, the idea that the component parts of a system cannot be fully understood in isolation, but only in relation to the whole. It's a holistic way of viewing things that holds that the way to understand a system is to study the linkages and interactions between the elements that compose the entirety of the system.

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We're also committed to usability. Albert Einstein said that “Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors.” We take that to heart when we say that every design or engineering project must begin and end with the user. It’s a more expansive definition of usability than some, but we consider it very practical. If a system, or an element of a system, is not designed so it's easy to use, it likely won't be used — and that makes it useless. Whether the project is a bridge or a school website, a hospital or a program for customer relationship management, it is the designer’s or engineer’s task to ensure that the end result “shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind.”

quality assurance logoQuality assurance is a way of life at IDEAS. We define quality assurance as a systematic, process-driven approach to ensuring products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Plan - Do - Check - Act is just the way we do things; it’s standard operating procedure around here. You'll frequently hear our lead QA auditor tell people “listen to the process” — because we believe the key to delivering outcomes that exceed customer expectations is in designing, following and continuously improving robust processes.

Finally, we believe in process-driven adaptive technology solutions, not in adjusting processes to accommodate technology. We're well-versed in 21st century technologies like cloud computing and mashup dashboards, but sometimes the technology of pencil, paper and post-it note is the right one. Choosing the right technology solution starts with understanding the process, not the technology. Only when you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish can you gain a clear understanding of what technology you need to get there. There is no intrinsic value in technology, no matter how sophisticated. The only value of technology is in how it improves the quality of your life or work.