Science and Art

Finding the right answer to complex questions requires both science and art. Complex questions cannot be answered by the rote application of methods, no matter how advanced. If they could, then they would be merely complicated, not complex.

The science of finding the right answer requires an appropriate mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches regardless of the discipline involved. The domains Group W works in require:

  • A sophisticated understanding of the disciplines of operations research, mathematics, statistics, computer science and related fields
  • A sound theoretical foundation in the social sciences including sociology, economics, conflict resolution and related fields
  • An appreciation for practically-based tacit knowledge of organizational challenges and operational environments

The art of finding the right answer requires:

  • Recognizing that human behavior is at the heart of almost all complex questions
  • Appreciating that questions are rarely reducible to simple characterizations
  • Allowing multi-faceted thinkers to harvest and incorporate the best approaches from ostensibly unrelated domains
  • Believing that the integration of wisdom and deep expertise can often achieve the seemingly impossible
  • The ability to communicate and defend insights

Group W's people apply science and art in the overlapping areas of:

  • Analysis—Employing critical thinking, mathematical techniques and social methods in the quest for insights and answers
  • Modeling and Simulation—Developing flexible tools to support analysts and researchers by combining sophisticated computer science and mathematical methods
  • Research—Advancing critical thinking with trans-disciplinary teams of scientists, expert practitioners and technologists