Introducing Outcomes Theory

We live in a time when we can no longer rely on 20th century strategies to solve 21st century problems.

Imagine that you could enter any negotiation, meeting or conference knowing exactly how much support existed for each of the propositions being advanced by the various protagonists, activists, lobbyists and negotiators present.

How much more confident would you feel about what you were proposing?

Group Of Business People Having Board Meeting Around Glass Table.

With Outcomes Theory all business, economic, social or political platforms can be quantified and qualified in terms of their level of appeal to stakeholders and the community as well as their likely success before the debate or negotiation has even begun.


It is a mistake to measure success in terms of an all or nothing outcome. Success is the ability to move your program forward as far as possible at each opportunity.

This is not the 20th century and nothing seems to follow the 20th century playbook.

Black Swans are no longer rare and the unpredictable is “business as usual”. But with the help of a tailor-made Outcomes Matrix, Outcomes Theory can provide you with a thorough assessment of the level of risk and cost attached to various strategic moves you are considering. Outcomes Theory gives you the ability to meet your opponents or adversaries head on with facts and figures to support your position or to concede ground where it is necessary or desirable to do so to achieve a positive outcome.


In order to respond effectively to those opposed to your vision or strategic plans, it is critical that you know what you are up against and the relative strength of your starting position viz other interests.

Armed with the likely level of support of each of the possible scenario outcomes your program could deliver, you can proceed knowing that at this point in time you understand where all of the all major stakeholders as well as the community stand in relation to your business strategy, policy position or cause.

Beautiful young woman gestures while asking a mayoral candidate a question during a town hall meeting. She is speaking into a microphone. A diverse group of men, woman and children are also in the audience.

How does Outcomes Theory work?

You can read our paper here on the thinking behind the “humanity friendly” outcomes approach as opposed to the more cynical stratagems of behavioural or “nudge” economics. In brief...

Imagine you take a train journey to somewhere that you are interested in going and the conductor asks you where you would like to get off. You tell him where you most prefer to alight but the train continues past your desired stop. How many stops further along the route do you travel before you demand that the conductor let you off and at what point do you push the emergency stop button (i.e. the Brexit, Trump, Marine Le Pen or Pauline Hanson effect)? Outcomes Theory tests your level of comfort with new ideas.


In contrast, the ‘nudge’ approach might suggest to travellers that they are going somewhere they want to go only to discover in the course of the journey they are heading in the opposite direction to that which they were led to believe. Get ready for the pushback or worse blowback or; worse still… revolution.

Passive acceptance of the voice of authority is no longer a given and deception is working less and less. Little by little stakeholders of all types are recognising that their voice counts more than ever as long as their chorus is clear and loud.

How does Outcomes Theory work in practice?

Outcomes Theory recognises the changes that are taking place in our world and seeks to bring stakeholders along on the journey to better products, better services, a cleaner environment and honest politics. In short, toward a better, safer world. (More)

Testing the Options

To test the potential appeal of a range of outcomes we need to build a set of carefully constructed scenarios, each consisting of a number of key elements which define that scenario. Each scenario will differ in flavour and intensity across the range of possible options available to the stakeholders from far left to far right in the relation to your vision, business goals or social or political aspirations. (More)

Research Process

  • Identify the various stakeholder segments
  • Review existing published material on industry and survey data
  • Undertake qualitative research with various stakeholder groups
  • Construct a quantitative survey questionnaire to reflect the various points of view and expectations with designated stakeholder segments from customers to suppliers and other groups
  • Test the level of appeal of those various scenarios
  • Analyse results and build the Outcomes Matrix
  • Report back

Businesspeople listening to presentation in office building


Here is how you might see the results of outcomes research.