Catalyze Methodology

Overall, Catalyze has developed a novel and positive approach or methodology, that encourages fresh thinking on how public services and capability, as well as corporate decision making and spend allocation, can best be delivered.

Catalyze Approach & Methodology

Overall, Catalyze has developed a novel and positive approach or methodology, that encourages fresh thinking on how public services and capability, as well as corporate decision making and spend allocation, can best be delivered.

This is relevant to governments or departments in any country facing the dual challenge of adapting to the post-2008 world of constrained public spending while continuing to maintain and improve key services.

Of course, this has equal applicability in the private sector, where there are very similar challenges, albeit often using different terminology. Corporations need to consider a portfolio of options when setting their Strategic Plan, and also need to evaluate and decide on a set of options to produce an Operating Plan. Catalyze applies the same principles and tools with a range of global corporations.

This Catalyze Methodology helps create clear stakeholder understanding of a department’s or indeed corporation’s value, helps clear away inefficiencies and focus resources to where they can deliver the most value, and supports rational decisions on trade-offs and priorities across the whole of government or business, respectively.  

The Catalyze Methodology fundamentally follows this path … [Gavin you could make a Graphic up of MCDA + DECISION CONFERENCING]

The power of the partnership of these two approaches is significant

Catalyze leverages the TECHNICAL Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to:

  • Provide real-time modeling
  • Conform to the axioms of decision theory
  • Perform sensitivity and robustness analysis
  • Act as knowledge repository or ‘corporate memory’
  • Support the social process.


While the Decision Conferencing leverages the SOCIAL, Group Process to:

  • Establish a shared understanding of project issues
  • Develop a sense of common purpose
  • Understand different perspectives and objectives
  • Create alignment
  • Critically, gains agreement and commitment to the way forward from those implementing the decisions, ensuring successful execution across teams, following the decision making process.

The power of the two combined cannot be underestimated in positively impacting the quality of decision making, the execution of the decision/s across teams and the Return on Investment of the project/s at hand themselves.

Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis partnered with Decision Conferencing

Regardless of the type of organisation involved, the Catalyze Process supporting the analysis and decision-making, is based on the partnering of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and Decision Conferencing.  

Used together, these techniques provide a rigorous foundation with an established track record, as a strategic approach to setting priorities in many different fields. This has been proven across our own Catalyze experience, depth and breadth of service across Australia & New Zealand and the United Kingdom and, globally in the Decision Science sector itself around the world.

The Catalyze Approach of combining both MCDA with Decision Conferencing builds:  

    Transparency – where the organisation trusts in the process

    Engagement – a requisite level of engagement from all parties key to the decision

    Consistency – across the organisation creating both an equitable outcome and sense of an equitable outcome having been achieved

    Continuity in that it is a step-to-step process, in the decision making analysis and discussions themselves to following through to successful execution

    Challenge and Support – it allows for preconceived ideas to be challenged, while supporting open discussion on alternative concepts

    Process Expertise – the process itself builds the key stakeholders’ knowledge and expertise in the area, making them far greater able to communicate and express why this decision, what it means and how it is to be executed successfully

    Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis – Recommended, Proven Process


    Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis is a theoretically sound approach for assessing preference, while understanding relative importance of the key aspects of the decision.  

    Proven and developed by the London School of Economics & Political Sciences, and major Universities in the USA, with a 30-year history and track record as a methodology; MCDA provides a way of looking at complex problems with mixed monetary and non-monetary objectives (i.e. what we often call, hard and soft objectives, respectively).

    This method of analysis allows a large problem to be broken into manageable pieces while enabling “apples and oranges” to be compared using an established common metric of value and creating an audit trail.

    Fundamentally, it is critical because it helps maximise the value we can achieve from limited resources, aiding in sound decision-making.

    Decision Conferences – Expert Facilitation, Clarity & Support


    Decision Conferencing means a series of facilitated meetings where the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis – and what matters most in that process to produce the best possible decision – are discussed amongst the key parties to the decision, facilitated by objective Catalyze decision-making experts.


    A Decision Conference is a highly structured workshop attended by groups of people concerned about some complex issues facing their organisation.


    Using a model of the decision space and a set of decision criteria they work through the issues to arrive at a shared understanding of the issues, in the process developing a sense of common purpose and a commitment to action


    Decision Conferences are usually supported by a computer-based tool allowing real time capture of the group’s evaluation.


    Thanks to the way Catalyze Decision Conferencing is operated, uniquely, participants do not need to concern themselves with the underlying decision science (unless they want to).  In other words, they don’t have to be technical experts, because the Catalyze team are there to lead the parties through the process.


    Typically a Catalyze Decision Conference is facilitated by two people: an MCDA Facilitator – who works at the front of the room and a Decision Conference Analyst – who supports the Facilitator. Both work to achieve the optimum outcomes for the Conference itself and the overall project.


    These Decision Conferences are done in a sequence, covering context setting, scoring alternatives and then weighting the tradeoffs involved in the decision.  The work achieved through these Decision Conferences and the body of work to support this entire process completed by Catalyze for and with each client, generally moves through the following critical stages each, every time.

    Establishing Critical Criteria & Choices


    Where is the value? Where is the risk?


    One of the first steps is to work with the department, agency or corporate to understand where the value is in what they do, as seen by the person or group receiving the service or gaining the benefit of the capability. Along with this, the risks associated with providing (or not providing) each specific level of service need to be evaluated.


    The criteria to assist with the decision-making are vital. It is preferable for example in Government that Ministers be involved in determining the criteria to be used in the decision process, and sign them off.  In Corporates and respective Departments this is also true of key leaders.


    This is a situation where quality is more important than quantity; experience suggests using around five very clearly defined strategic criteria, structured specifically to support Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, to reflect what is important at the level of government or corporate.


    Also, in this phase we explore: what are our choices? With what we know now, what options do we have?


    Building the Model – Sensitivity Analysis & Testing

    A model is constructed to represent all of the potential effects and outcomes or service levels on a single page.

    [Need more content on sensitivity analysis/options etc here, talk with Edward, check if other graphics from Slides for Website Content more appropriate for this section] 



    Insert Graphic titled: MoP Whitepaper Model



    Evaluation Conference

    In an event called an Evaluation Conference, the model is then used as the basis for discussion.  This Evaluation Conference is where key stakeholders and experts come together and make the required value judgements.  Evaluation of the model is supported by software which enables data to be captured and the results displayed live to the conference.  


    Decision/s Made

    At the end of this process the best outcome and value decision or series of decisions will have been reached cohesively, with alignment, buy-in and the ability to execute well for maximum value, return on investment and successful outcomes.