Simon Everett, Ltd.

Simon Everett is an analytic design firm. We structure and implement analytic engagements to help government agencies, businesses, and non-profits solve problems, large and small. Whether our clients seek to create capabilities, improve processes, or inform decisions, we offer the proven ability to address their needs. Our consultative approach blends analytic agility with interdisciplinary expertise to produce functionally and aesthetically impactful results. We are successful when our clients tell us they can achieve better outcomes.

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Projecting the future can be a thankless task – not because you might get it wrong, but because someone might mistakenly think you’re expecting to get it right. In our business, it’s worth understanding the difference between the art & science of “projection” (for the sake of being prepared for what may come) and the magic 8-ball of “prediction” (for the sake of bragging about your Super Bowl pick).

Happily for the security of America and its allies, many US Department of Defense (DoD) organizations recognize the value of projecting how drivers may advance in the coming years so that they can prepare for a range of potential outcomes and stand ready to meet future challenges. In support of one such defense client, we recently teamed with prime contractor Barbaricum, LLC, to develop a suite of scenarios that explore how certain technologies might be employed by friendly forces, adversaries, civilian populations, and private organizations throughout Latin America over the next fifteen years. Barbaricum’s cadre of experienced military professionals, technology subject matter experts (SMEs), and regional specialists provided the “science” part of the equation. We tended to the “art” of designing structured exercises through which to elicit SME insights, constructing creative settings for the application of specified technologies, and developing compelling narratives to present potential outcomes and implications for DoD planners.

The resulting product may serve as a common framework for consideration of future force structure needs, recruitment strategies, training requirements, and capability gaps in a region that is traditionally underserved in the field of security studies. Each of these long-range planning aspects will undoubtedly be impacted by the rapid advance of technology – and this framework will help DoD better prepare for a complex future.

We’re proud of our projections and are working with Barbaricum to provide further support to our defense client. As for predictions, my season-opening call for Super Bowl LI was Steelers vs. Seahawks; outlook not so good.


Channeling our efforts

We’re often asked what “analytic design” is. Simply put, it’s the combined application of analytic skills, tailored methodologies, and thoughtful design – both in terms of a project’s structure and its outputs. We’re pretty agnostic about the subject matter of our projects, as long as our team — including our network of consultants — has the necessary expertise to address the issue at hand. This allows us to tackle a wide range of challenges that have one aspect in common: they require us to assess, distill, and interpret information, and produce insights to help clients make informed decisions and improve outcomes. That said, it’s always fun when we’re given the chance to go back to our roots – Middle East affairs and the Arabic language – and apply our skills and knowledge in new and creative ways. Case in point: our recently completed 10-month effort supporting the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is an independent U.S. federal agency whose mission is to "inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.” BBG oversees multiple media outlets that combine to attract more than 226 million audience members each week. Even if you haven’t heard of BBG, you know their networks — including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Our effort supported the BBG’s Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). On behalf of MBN, we assessed the online Arabic-language content of nearly 600 news programs across 30 television channels to characterize their approach to topics relevant to BBG’s mission. By analyzing the subject matter, discourse, format, setting, objectivity, and production quality of individual episodes, we identified trends and gaps that informed MBN’s continued efforts to “expand the spectrum of ideas, opinions, and perspectives available in the region’s media.”

This project enabled us to use our foreign language expertise not for translation purposes, but to assess discussion of political, social, religious, and security issues. We created a custom framework for comparing media content and production across a large set of channels, programs, and episodes. And we provided MBN with concise findings and recommendations that can advance its mission. All in all, we enjoyed the opportunity to support a client that truly makes a difference on the global stage.   

From Dakar to Dhaka with Professor Everett

What do West Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia have in common? If you’re a US diplomat heading to any of those regions, you may be training with Simon Everett before you leave town. We were recently awarded a five-year prime contract with the Department of State to design and deliver area studies courses that collectively cover 26 countries in these intriguing and complex parts of the world. This represents a significant expansion of our support to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), for which we coordinated the India course last year.

FSI prepares diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners to advance American interests throughout the world. More than 100,000 students representing the State Department and nearly 50 other government agencies enroll in FSI’s classes every year. While many come to learn a foreign language or a specific professional skill, students enrolled in area studies courses explore the historical and contemporary issues shaping American foreign policy in a particular region.

We have enlisted an accomplished team of leading regional specialists to teach these courses. The West Africa courses will be chaired by two expert Africa watchers, Kamissa Camara and Dr. Alex Thurston. Noted Eurasianists Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff and Claire Kaiser will teach courses on the five Central Asian countries. And last but certainly not least, the esteemed Ambassador E. Ashley Wills – who spent more than a decade as a senior American diplomat in South Asia – will lead the breakout session on Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. Each of our instructors will invite prominent guest speakers to participate, exposing students to diverse perspectives on the political, economic, and social dynamics shaping their respective regions of focus.

This program is impactful and intellectually rewarding for all involved - we're delighted to be part of it.

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