About

QED Insight is here to help you make good decisions. We believe that this endeavor at its best is both scientific and artistic, that elements of both analysis and creativity must be included. When they are in balance, the resulting decision can be a thing of beauty.

LaurieBrownPrint.webLaurie Webster has been involved in creating and synthesizing information for more than 30 years. She worked initially in the public and educational sectors, and then moved to the business world in 1995. Her consulting practice began in the Boston area in 1999 and was reincarnated as QED Insight when she returned to Albany in 2008.

Her research, analytical, and computing skills work well to aid decision makers’ goals. She creates action plans that can be implemented in the context of the organization and its financial realities, while aiming to achieve long-term benefits.

Since 2008, Laurie has worked on narrative research projects in areas such as government, marketing, health care, and third-world development. This has included work both with QED’s own clients and as a contractor to Cognitive Edge (CE). She has also served as a teacher, facilitator, and developer in the Cognitive Edge Education program. This has included the two-day workshops on SenseMaker® Foundations and Practitioner Foundations (formerly Accreditation); and the online courses on Signification Design and Introduction to SenseMaker® Environment. She continues to work with clients both independently and through CE

Laurie graduated cum laude from Hartwick College with a B.A. and program honors in Psychology and Sociology. She then earned the credits for a major in Computer Science as well, except that there wasn’t a CS major back in…. Well, never mind when that was. She also has an M.B.A. from the University at Albany, one of the doctoral campuses of the SUNY system (along with Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook).

steve208x300Steve DeLong is a lab scientist by training, experience, and predilection. He spent most of the last four decades at the University at Albany, initially rising through the academic ranks to Professor of Geological Sciences. He and his students focused on the geochemistry of volcanic rocks; on developing methods to analyze ever-smaller samples with ever-higher precision using various charged-particle beam instruments; and on the geological (as opposed to geophysical) consequences of plate tectonics.

If life were a controlled experiment, he would probably be in the lab right now. Instead, he was lured into academic administration and served under three different Presidents as chief academic officer, as chief research officer and dean of graduate studies, and most improbably as chief financial officer (when Steve and Laurie first worked together). Additionally, he served for four years as CIO and ran a not-for-profit ISP with 2,000 dial-up subscribers.

All of this — especially the CIO and ISP phase — was grist for the synthetic and strategic aspects of the QED mill, though that was not obvious at the time. Then Laurie re-surfaced a few years ago and said, so, there’s this narrative thing…. As a result, Steve has completed the Cognitive Edge two-day workshops on Practitioner Foundations (formerly Practitioner Accreditation) and SenseMaker® Foundations.

Steve graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Geology and from The University of Texas at Austin with an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Geology. He then spent a post-doctoral year at the California Institute of Technology before going to Albany.


lynn Lynn Smirensky joined QED in 2015 as an information analyst and works on projects for clients of both QED and CE.

She is responsible for most back-end facilitation, including formatting data for SenseMaker® and Tableau, creating files for the Tableau Reader, and designing basic emergent pattern reports. In addition, she works directly with clients to prepare Tableau data when they have non-standard specifications for presentation formats. She is also skilled in assisting and mentoring clients who want to become more self-reliant in the technology-based aspects of projects.

Lynn has had a wide range of technology experience as a developer, designer, and analyst; with many platforms and languages; and for many types of businesses, including aerospace, construction, financial, insurance, legal, medical, not-for-profit, and retail. Notable examples include Computer Sciences Corporation, McDonnell Douglas, and M+W Group.

Lynn graduated from the College of St. Rose with a major in Spanish and a minor in French; she subsequently took extensive course work at the University at Albany in Math and Computer Science. Word to the wise: never sit down with her at a poker table.

 

ali208x300Allison Saft joined QED in 2012 to provide in-house creative direction and to assist with qualitative analysis of client projects.

Much of her work has focused on content creation for CE screen casts and webinars, including audio editing, and on development of several CE online courses, including Introduction to SenseMaker®. She has worked directly with clients both in facilitating workshops and in evaluating them in follow-up contacts. She is also experienced in preparing reports for story theming.

She has attended the CE course on Practitioner Foundations and the Advanced Practitioner workshop.

Allison attended Hartwick College, majoring in History, which gave her the perfect perspective for noticing our past mistakes and eagerly pointing them out, lest we repeat them in the future. In another life, she would have been a stand-up comedian. Actually even in this life, she still might be.

 

 

A global embrace

(l-r) Laurie Webster (QED), Chris Koch (QED), Zhen Goh (Cognitive Edge, Singapore), Anna Hanchar (Narrate Consulting, UK), Tony Quinlan (Narrate Consulting, UK), Allison Saft (QED) – Saratoga Springs, NY

Like-minded collaborators/partners — past, present, or potential

• Mary Boone (@maryboone), Boone Associates, Essex, CT
• Michael Cheveldave (@mcheveldave), Cognitive Edge, Castlegar, BC
• Zhen Goh, Cognitive Edge, Singapore
• Marcus Guest (@marcusguest), Narrative Insights, Moscow
• Terry Miller, TMiller & Associates, Rossland, BC
• April K. Mills (@engineforchange), Engine for Change, Cornelius, OR
• Tony Quinlan (@tquinlan), Narrate Consulting, Clophill, UK
• Nancy White (@NancyWhite), Full Circle Associates, Seattle, WA

The logo and the name

If you thought, ah ha, that logo looks like a Feynman diagram, so “QED” must be quantum electrodynamics, you would be half-right (and very literate in scientific matters). The three-line element was inspired by such a diagram, but the surrounding box is meant to evoke a black-body radiator from classical physics, with light emerging through a slit (OK, a double-slit of sorts)….

Hmmm. Let’s try metaphor instead.

The wavy line is indeed a stand-in for light, read “illumination” or even more metaphorically “insight.” That insight is emerging from the inside of a “black box,” in this instance representing the complex and perhaps mysterious problems that confront our clients. So the logo says: we seek to provide you with insight, to illuminate your problems and point to a way forward. At the end of the process, we hope you agree that we delivered what we promised and in the broadest sense of the early Greek geometers “proved” that which we said we would show. Q.E.D.