About Primitive

Primitive's founder and Managing Director, Dean Williamson

Primitive's founder and Managing Director, Dean Williamson

Founded by coach and evaluator Dean Williamson in 2010, primitive is a neo-generalist consultancy working across human and group 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:

One example of assessing the complexity of context and relationships during strategic planning

One example of assessing the complexity of context and relationships during strategic planning

  • 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.

An example of the unique context, mission, goals, measurements and logic of a client in human services, encapsulated in a simple, visual strategic plan.

An example of the unique context, mission, goals, measurements and logic of a client in human services, encapsulated in a simple, visual strategic plan.

CUSTOMISED AND BESPOKE SOLUTIONS

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.

For example, in our life coaching practice, there's no point in us having developed a "healthy eating" plan to sell to clients. Few of our clients will have the same health goals, and almost none of our clients will find a generic "healthy eating" plan valuable. What if you have a starch intolerance? Automatically a proportion of the plan is rendered unusable.

The same goals as the above plan, but arranged as an implementation schedule. Primitive also supported the implementation of the plan by deploying a number of critical specialisations across the organisation.

The same goals as the above plan, but arranged as an implementation schedule. Primitive also supported the implementation of the plan by deploying a number of critical specialisations across the organisation.

The same applies in organisations. There are many systems which promise to improve culture and team dynamics. Underpinning many of them are unspoken assumptions - "communication is the problem", "the ability to manage projects is the problem", "self-awareness and personality type is the problem", "leadership style is the problem". We believe that context should dictate the best path forward, and we work with our clients to develop their own plans based on their  unique goals and contexts. It means that we don't have pretty, standardised, expensive sheets to sell, but generally we think our clients (many of whom have had us bolted on for a long time) are better for it.   

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.