Strategic review for an applied science organisation

For a publicly-funded scientific research organisation, developed a strategy to stem losses through enhanced risk management and operational excellence. ​

Working in a hypothesis-led and rigorously evidenced process, we developed the new strategy and implementation plans in collaboration with staff at all levels, building buy-in as well as a clear new direction.


A division of a publicly-funded organisation for applied research had experienced several years of unexpected losses due to large, often prestigious projects incurring budget overruns. 

They brought us in to review the division’s strategy, with a view to defining where to play and how to significantly step up risk management and operational excellence. 

It was critical that the work be hypothesis-led, supported by rigorous analysis, and developed in collaboration with staff at all levels, creating a shared, new way forward.


Our team of strategists – with engineering backgrounds in the same field as our clients’ – began with an analysis of the past 5 years of projects, including forensic analyses on the biggest ‘bleeders.’

Our audit of internal capabilities identified specific improvements in risk management and operations. And we interviewed industry experts to form a view on the attractiveness of different market segments.

The analysis suggested specific segments of the market to avoid (absent additional government funding), based on risk/return, in light of market intrinsics


Our recommendations were welcomed and adopted by the board and division.

To support implementation, we laid out a concrete ‘from-to’ picture for the operating model and the target project portfolio, and helped structure an implementation programme.

Today the business has shifted its focus to areas with a lower risk profile and implemented step-change improvements to its risk management, contract management and procurement, stabilising the losses.