Me-ri-di-an (mə-rĭd′ē-ən). In navigation, a great circle of the earth passing through the poles and any given place on the earth’s surface. Also, the point of highest attainment or stage of greatest development.
The Decision Company.
Meridian is a research, analytics and advisory services firm focused on helping management teams make better decisions by using data more intelligently and applying best practices from the fields of decision science and organizational behavior.
Big Data Paradox.
Too much data. Not enough data. Old data. Dirty data. The wrong kinds of data. Data with low credibility, missing context or little real meaning. If these challenges sound familiar to you, you’re not alone.
Add to these problems analysts who don’t always understand the needs of decision makers and decision makers who don’t always ask the right questions or trust the right answers, and it’s easy to see why the relationship between organizations and their data can be complicated. For most organizations, the potential of data-driven decision making may be real, but it’s also largely unrealized.
That’s the paradox. While the typical organization has more potentially useful information–internal and external–at its disposal today than at any other time in history, management teams often struggle to use it effectively in decision making. Sometimes the information is difficult to access or combine in the ways that would be most helpful. Other times it’s challenging to analyze or interpret. And still other times it’s controversial or unwelcome. The reasons can range from purely technical or organizational to psychological and political. But whatever the underlying reasons, our role is to help clients make better use of data to navigate the world around them.
The nature of our deliverables and the techniques we use to produce them have evolved, but our fundamental approach remains anchored in seven guiding principles.
Begin with the end in mind. Whatever program, project or engagement we undertake, our first principle is always to understand–very specifically–the client’s objectives and priorities as well as the motivations behind them. This precise understanding is the key to scoping and sequencing our work so that the client knows exactly what to expect throughout the process and benefits from it as quickly as possible.
Present the world as it really is, not as we wish it to be. Our second principle is to bring an unbiased, data-centric view of the world to our work. Having access to a well-informed outside perspective improves the quality of the client’s own fact base, encourages more productive conversations among the client’s team members and enables the client to act with greater confidence.
Acknowledge uncertainty. Our third principle is to know what we don’t know–to recognize the limits of our own research and analysis–so that clients can exercise better judgment in the face of imperfect information.
Simplify wherever it’s helpful, clarify wherever it’s not. The world can be a complicated place, and poorly presented data can hide or confuse the big picture instead of making it clearer. Our fourth principle is to eliminate unnecessary complexity while helping clients understand and manage the complexity that matters.
Build tools, not just reports. Our fifth principle is to deliver our research, analytics and advisory services in ways that are immediately accessible–and useful–to the client’s team so that they can be absorbed into the client’s workflow and applied more easily.
Teach, don’t just do. While we often serve our clients on an ongoing basis in a variety of ways, our sixth principle is to help clients help themselves by working with them to develop new capabilities and upgrade their own management practices so that they can be better at what they do.
Evolve. Learning new things better and faster is an important part of our firm’s DNA. Our seventh principle is to learn from experience–our own and that of others–so that our understanding of what works, what doesn’t and why is continuously evolving.