President and Chief
Dr. Gregg Courand is a founding partner, President, and Chief
Methodologist of Synergia LLC. He has 25 years experience developing concepts,
methods, and technologies to help teams of problem-solvers, decision-makers, and
practitioners better understand their situations and the opportunities for
effective joint action. He develops precise models of client organizations and
the key actors that form the context for their activities (collaborators, threats,
other influential actors). These models are often used for forecasting and
planning. As a basis for organizational change, he produces formal, quantitative
analysis of risks and opportunities embodied in the organization’s capacities and
dispositions for action and inter-action.
He also has an appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor
with the University of Texas Health Sciences Center. He lectures on coordination,
organizational risk, and improved methods for healthcare delivery. He is an expert
on handover in healthcare delivery.
Dr. Courand has (with Dr. Fehling) advised members of Congress,
the FBI, U.S. Embassy staff, and others based on Synergia’s asymmetric threat
forecasts. One result was briefed to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/13/01,
and Vice President Cheney, on 9/14/01. His work also revealed potentially
catastrophic risks for operation of the International Space Station - owing not
to hardware problems, but rather, to gaps and incompatibilities in cognitive and
communication practices of astronauts versus ground controllers.
He has primary responsibility for Synergia’s "Critical Practice
Management" (CPM) methodology for mapping and improving organizational practices.
CPM specifies principles, methods, and representational and technology support for
collecting necessary data (via observation, interview, instruments, intervention);
creating and validating models of the inter-dependent, adaptive capacities of actors;
identifying barriers to change; and helping to design and implement change programs.
Organizational models depict problem solving, decision-making, communication, and
authority as capacities (skills) that are structured by roles. They address both
individual skill and the quality of coordination of those skills among individuals.
CPM includes design and implementation of interventions to bring
about constructive, durable change. Maps of individual and organizational practices
are critiqued for their local risks. Often this is sufficient to determine necessary
change. Alternatively, these critiques can be formalized as risk models. This creates
a formal basis to identify needs for additional mapping, and quantifies benefits of
change. These risk analysis methods, based on Synergia’s extensions to Decision
Analysis, have been successfully applied/tested in quantification of organizational
risk, collaborative planning, anomaly resolution, and real-time control over
computational simulations of complex social activity. For example, Dr. Courand and
colleagues have used CPM to identify and quantify risks in healthcare delivery, such
as those due to the interaction of the depth and quality of problem-solving with the
quality of routine information exchanges associated with end-of-shift, and unit-unit
transfers (i.e., handovers).
He advises Synergia’s technology development programs (ACCORD,
Knowledge Lens, CFA). Technology requirements derive from the mapping, modeling, and
risk analysis elements of CPM, as well as needs of clients using our technology. This
has led to advanced technologies for data collection and management, event-behavior
formalization, actor modeling, choice and organizational risk analysis, argumentation,
forecasting, and sensemaking processes.
Prior Work, Education
From 1992 through 1996 he was a Research Associate and Deputy
Director of the Organizational Dynamics Center at Stanford University. Prior to that,
he spent 14 years at Advanced Decision Systems and Delfin Systems, developing
Artificial Intelligence, optimization, and decision-making technologies for knowledge
management, analysis, and planning.
Dr. Courand earned his Ph.D. in Distributed Artificial
Intelligence at Stanford University. He invented and tested consensus formation
mechanisms, for distributed argument formation and revision among autonomous
computational agents. He received an MS in Systems Economics from Stanford. He
graduated valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Electrical Engineering from
Boston University. Concurrently, he completed the requirements for a BS in Systems
Engineering and virtually all requirements for a BS in Philosophy. He received a
full-tuition Trustee Scholarship and National Merit Scholarship to Boston University,
and a full Fellowship to Stanford University.