About Primitive

Founded by coach and evaluator Dean Williamson in 2010, primitive is a neo-generalist consultancy working across human and SYSTEMS change and dynamics.

If you haven't heard the term "neo-generalist" before, it was written about by Kenneth Kikkelsen and Richard Martin in The Neo-Generalist, and describes a skill-set which transcends any one specialty.

"Neo-generalists bring unique perspectives, blended knowledge and experience from diverse disciplines to the specialisms they perform."

The benefits of bringing in a neo-generalist to your workplace or project are many. We bring a range of valuable "meta-skills" to bear on everything that we do. These boundary-crossing capabilities include:

  • Systems thinking;

  • Research and evidence-based practice/recommendations;

  • Visioning, goal-setting and measurement approaches;

  • Understanding complexity;

  • Understanding the complexity and dymanics of people in groups, including the interrelationships between leadership, culture and community;

  • Understanding change (in its truly organic and ecological fashions) across many environments;

  • Understanding both micro- and macro- approaches to change initiatives, and how these are interlinked;

  • Understanding human motivation, resistance to change, and personal change theories.

So when you engage Primitive, you don't bring us on because of our single specialty. We get brought on by an increasing range of happy clients to apply a range of flexible capabilities to complex projects and environments. Our flexible, neo-generalist approaches allow us to traverse project planning, stakeholder engagement and consultation, analysis, implementation and embedding. We will always look at the big picture with you, we will always help you look at your challenges from different angles, and we will always do what works for your context.


One of the challenges of our neo-generalism is that we don't believe in "one size fits all". It's not possible (and we don't think it's actually desirable) for us to come equipped with a ready-made tool that will "solve" your problem when we don't yet know what it is, or when your context is different to our last client down the hall. We see companies "productising" many tools which enable them to charge premiums, but which may only apply to a narrow window of problems or contexts. Our service to our clients always starts with where they are, and we make recommendations based on their best interests and likelihood of success, rather than on what we we already have drawn up that we can sell you. You can see that each of the images above takes into account the unique topic area(s) and contexts of our clients.

For example, in 2019 we were approached to evaluate a respectful Relationships program. Once we discussed it, we thought it was more useful if our client could evaluate ANY program they may choose to run, rather than a once-off evaluation on the program they were currently running. As a result, we went to evidence and synthesised an evaluation framework for them, and also turned up a lot of different ways for them to think about how they approach Respectful Relationships education.

Primitive's virtual team approach

While our many specialisations make us an asset in almost any circumstance/environment, often a project will require a true specialist to enhance the project's outcomes. To enable this, Primitive maintains a network of specialists in a range of areas who will form virtual teams around clients and projects, as required. These are most commonly in areas around business analysis and analytics, accounting and financial forecasting, statistics and quantitative methods, and knowledge around particular sectors or client groups.

We're also ethically committed to our clients to the extent that, if we're not well-placed to help you, we'll recommend you someone much better.

Think our approach is just what you need? Email us to discuss the first steps.