You just can't ask the same old people.

Angle of Vision is a specialist research company working at the intersection of strategy and governance. We focus on what we call decision intelligence, helping organizations improve the quality of their decision making at all levels.

Basing our services on a set of six core tools, we apply a rigorous, unconventional, and interdisciplinary approach to reveal the hidden systems at work inside and outside of organisations.

TEAM

Unconventional thinking, proven leadership

Louis-Jacques Darveau

Partner

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Alex Gervais

Partner

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FAQ

Your questions, our answers

What services do you offer?

Put simply, we are a strategy consultancy, which means we help chart a path forward on issues of significance for a business. Of course, strategy can mean a lot of things, but at its heart, it implies making choices and decisions to solve problems and make progress. We provide bespoke intelligence to guide those decisions using a toolkit of six deliverables we think every business should have on hand.

So you do strategic planning…

We find strategic planning confusing because it mixes two things that are quite different: a strategy and a plan. A plan is fixed and based on prediction, while a strategy evolves and leaves you room for maneuver. We provide what we call decision intelligence which informs the process of strategy, but the outcome is not a necessarily a plan.

What’s the core idea behind the concept of decision intelligence?

This approach is informed by a blend of ethnographic research, open source intelligence, traditional journalistic technique, and a little bit of white hat thinking inspired by the cybersecurity sector, it systematically tests the edges of your assumed reality. In other words, what you think your real position is. The better the intel, the better and easier the process and the more chances of deploying strategies that actually work. Good and logical decisions based on flawed evidence can lead to unproductive outcomes, especially in a changing and turbulent environment.

What type of intel are we talking about?

We think there is a basic toolkit of deliverables which every business should consider developing in order to improve the quality of decision-making and overall performance of the business.

What are they?
  1. The first we call situational assessment, which has to do with understanding your position in the game or a specific topic of interest. It can be very general or more specific.
  1. The second is the thesis, which provides a strong perspective on your world, a foundational story. It’s not a strategy, it’s a guide to help you select your strategies. And it’s the story you’d tell Oprah if she called for an interview (she won’t)
  1. The third busts the biases you can’t help but cultivate about your business by producing genuine and useful external perspective. We show you how you look from the outside. We all have blind spots and most businesses think they are spectacular until it’s too late to act (think Blackberry, Blockbuster etc.).
  1. The fourth one is deceptively simple and yet, for reasons we can’t fathom, rarely done within legacy businesses. We call it the S1 and as the name suggests, it consists of writing the equivalent of an S1 report for your business – the whole enchilada laid out as though you were going to market and had to anticipate every tough question the market would ask.
  1. The fifth asset is all about the customer, in context. We go deep on their lived story and take you beyond personas. We call it Heima — Icelandic for “at home”.
  1. Finally, what we call the company book, which is a guide articulating how you do what you do. It is a recipe book that helps you empower your team to make decisions in a decentralized manner.
Why these six things?

Because each of them can help you make better decisions. It’s important to note that decision intelligence is not only directed at C-suite leaders and strat plans. It’s about helping an entire organization get better collectively at decision making, by providing better information from the start. When everyone is seeing the same picture, front-line employees make better and more empowered decisions.

Are these cast in stone?

Consider these six deliverables as a starting point for a conversation, from which we tailor for the specific needs of your business. For instance, a situational assessment can be more or less complicated depending on the nature of the question and the desired scope of the inquiry.

Do I have to do all six in order?

Not at all. There is no sequence and there is no impetus to do all six either. As mentioned before, these are starting points to make a conversation more productive. We’ve chosen to clarify upfront what we think are essential areas of investigation, reflection and development for most businesses, based on our work helping organizations in the last twenty years. We're not dogmatic about it, but using the language that supports our six assets helps us get on the same page faster.

What is your process like? How much work will we need to do on our end?

The process differs slightly depending on which area we work on but our approach is investigative (which means interested by the facts) and grounded in social sciences: disciplines like economics, anthropology, journalism, sociology, psychology, as well as art, philosophy and literature.

The level of engagement on your side will tend to vary. The S1, for example, is a complete MRI of your business, meaning we need to work extensively with your team for several weeks depending on the level of detail desired. The company book is a representation of your management philosophy, so we obviously need to define what that philosophy is in the first place. This process requires not just time, but focus on your part.

Your tools look interesting, but what do I actually get? What do they look like?

You’ll get a well-designed, clearly articulated, originally reported and compelling briefing delivered on a web platform. On the platform you’ll find the content, charts, references (videos, sources, etc.) as well as a video and transcript of our presentation which accompanies the report itself. Of course we’ll do a live walkthrough with Q&A’s and such, but you’ll get more than a static Powerpoint deck.

The briefing itself is a piece of literature made for humans to read. We optimize for clarity and transparency. Starting from the report and depending on your needs, we can create derivatives — presentations, websites, videos and such. We know the concept of a “report” often has a bad reputation in business, for reasons that have to do with a perception that it can feel static and not “actionable” enough. We want these to be the opposite of that.

Ok but you don’t build a business with ‘reports’, you need to get on with the action. Execution is what matters…

Sure, but do you know where you’re going with what you’re executing? If you are in a dark cave and you need to run, you better have a good flashlight. There’s this saying, allegedly by Woody Allen: confidence is what you have before you understand the problem. As a leader, you need to lead with clarity…

Who are you though? What’s your track record? How many of you are going to show up?

Angle of Vision is led by Louis-Jacques Darveau and Alex Gervais. Our team is distributed in multiple geographies and we assemble the right team for each mission. We’re also personally involved at every step so we don’t just Teflon the work to someone else. We’re transparent about who we work with, meaning you make an informed decision about the quality of the team we present to you and you know what you pay for.

Why the name, Angle of Vision?

Because our work is all about perspective. And because we believe we are in an age of icebergs, where an ever greater amount of complexity is hidden below the surface of things. Complexity is increasingly buried below the interfaces, algorithms, systems and sub-systems businesses come to depend on, which creates opacity and blind spots. We need to look deeper, and investigate further. We need a different angle of vision.

How long has AOV been around?

In its current incarnation, AOV is pretty new (like since 2021). But as with any overnight success, it’s been a few decades in the making.

What motivated you to start this company?

It began with what you could say was a “back to basics” moment, motivated by years being brought in to undertake strategy and transformation work in large organizations. This often began on shaky foundations, inevitably leaving us disappointed at missed opportunities, as the hard work that needed to be done was always destined to fall short. Try to embark on a multi-year transformation effort without first clarifying why you exist. Or develop that new product line based on a superficial understanding of the aspirations of your customers. Or develop that bold strategy which everyone knows your tech or your ops can’t support. See how well it goes…

Businesses tend to hire the same, properly accredited, people (engineers, or MBA-types) who are trained to see business problems in a relatively linear fashion. But the current environment is not linear. You know this if you’re here. It is kinetic, asymmetric, unpredictable and chaotic. In other words — it’s complex. We’ve found that there is a collection of important talents that somehow rarely find their way into business. A philosophy major. A comparative literature graduate. A sociologist. We like to work with the smartest people who have the courage of their unconventional thoughts. They might be misfits and rebels who are not used to big business, but businesses need oblique thinking.

In our engagements and conversations with clients, we sensed there was an appetite for approaches that brought out the best in these unconventional minds, and a real place for a different way of thinking in the kind of important strategic discussions that, by instinct, tend to exclude them. We knew in this that we had a great opportunity to help leaders, and organizations as a whole, be smarter, and think better.

What type of clients do you work with?

We think mid-sized businesses (~100-500M turnover) are the sweet spot, especially those with leaders who show some of the following characteristics:

  1. Open-minded and curious.
  1. Willing to be challenged, and able to put egos aside.
  1. Not interested by fast-food thinking and empty formulas.
  1. Who think equally about long-term and appreciate strategy (where to go) and governance (how to get there).
  1. Have a basic understanding of complex systems and a minimal appreciation for good design.
It seems like every year we burn budget on some new consultant’s report to talk about our future strategy or reword our vision. How are you any different?

Most consultants are honest in their desire to help, but often end up burning time and energy on formulating what leadership already knows or wants to hear. Leadership wants a Nascar strategy, but the capabilities on the ground look more like a Camry. So there’s a mismatch between strategy and reality. Our approach is reality-based and we are clear about our focus areas. That’s an essential point of difference.

Do you specialize in any particular industries?

Over the years we’ve worked with clients in several industries from mining to healthcare on multiple continents and so our approach applies to any sector. We might a have a slight affinity for direct-to-consumer businesses where brand and customer experience are important levers, but that is not an upfront limitation. Our approach fits almost any business structure.

How long does an engagement take to get to tangible results?

We usually require a minimum of 4–6 weeks for most deliverables (which is the baseline standard in consulting) but that depends on the context and the nature of the puzzle we are asked to help solve. We're not afraid of long-term engagements if that is what is needed, but we don't optimize to constantly upsell you with new stuff either.

How do we get started?

That's the easy part, just contact us and we'll go from there...

Philosophy

What we believe every company should live by.

Solutions

Six core deliverables that every company should invest in.