The Value Pyramid – A new approach to problem solving

15th April 2020

In this one-take episode we share an approach to analytics which is fundamental in every piece of analytical work we undertake. It’s called the Value Pyramid, and it’s something we are intensely loyal to…But it’s also an approach we are in the process of revisiting. Join us to understand more about this approach – what makes it special, and why it can help you structure and solve every single analytical problem relevant to you and your business.


The Value Pyramid is a straightforward approach to breaking down any analytical discussion to help you define the scope of the work you actually need to do. In our many years of combined experience, it has remained fundamental to the way in which we approach any problem which involves data. We have even gone further recently and ‘split’ the bottom half of the pyramid to ensure it can facilitate any decision one might make, in work or otherwise, and both where being data-driven is appropriate and where it is not realistic.

When would you use it?

All too often we find that decision makers, especially when under time pressure, are inclined towards starting with an action. This is subtly different from thinking about your outcome first, and starting by deciding on where it is you actually want to get to.  This discipline will enable decision-makers to guide their actions in a much more effective way.

What is the meaning of the left and right sides?

Undoubtedly, there will be times when key decisions need to be made without all the evidence you would love to have access to. The required data might not exist, or there might not be enough time to take an empirical and data-driven approach, or it might be a situation where a data-driven approach is not appropriate (think during a ‘chess match’). And in these situations, leaders will need to draw upon their experience, use sound judgement and instinct. The split recognises that intuition-based decision making is totally valid and helps decision makers:

  1. Be deliberate about the decision to use intuition or data to inform decisions – are they using intuition in a situation where they can make a more robust decision with easily available data? Is the ‘other’ side of the pyramid more appropriate in a given situation, or indeed a ‘blended’ approach using both sides?
  2. Be effective with or without data – when using intuition, are they thinking about the steps they are taking to reach a conclusion systematically?

If, after reading this, you feel you would benefit from speaking to us about how to structure any business challenges you face, we would welcome you to reach out and contact us.