Dr. Gregg Courand


President and Chief Methodologist                    courand@synergia.com


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.


Synergia Responsibilities


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.



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